As a 23 year old, I am finding half of my friends are getting married and having babies and the other half are getting drunk on Tuesdays to the point where they can’t find their shoes…. Even the pair that’s on their feet. This is a very strange lifestage that I can’t quite seem to figure out. Everyone is on such different paths and there doesn’t seem to be a “right” answer to just about anything. As I navigate through the beginning of adulthood, I have concluded that there must be this middle of the road stage where you are labelled as an adult by society, but you aren’t quite at the stage where you have anything figured out, your career path, bigger life plans, or even what you are having for dinner tomorrow. I call this weird stage “Adulting”. I can be used as a verb and a noun. The act of trying to be “adult like”, or the weird stage of not really knowing what you are doing with your life, but you are still expected to pay your rent on time.
There are a few key attributes to Adulting that make it complicated. First off, there is no correct answer to anything. What makes that so difficult, is that it’s OK for there not to be any answers. How often are you supposed to work out? Is it bad to go to multiple happy hours a week? Will you really get sick if you eat raw cookie dough from the roll that you got at the grocery store? All difficult questions with answers that are different for everyone. And that is A-Oh-Kay. Not knowing the answers is part of this “figuring it out” stage that we need to go through to get to the point where we fake knowing what we are doing a little better.
Secondly, now is the best time to take care of yourself and ONLY yourself. For (most of) us, this is the one time in our lives where we are only responsible for one person, ourselves. That is a bit of a blessing and a curse. On one hand, we can make ourselves a complete and total priority. We can spend a little too much money on travel and the bougie gym membership and go at life full throttle. But on the other hand, no one will know if you go home and pizza and netflix binge every night for a week straight. Is one really better than the other? I guess it really just depends on how your week is going. If you need a pizza and netflix session, now is the best time to do it. No one will be disappointed in you for it. No one will get hurt by it. You just do what you have to do. Life is hard, sometimes taking care of yourself means cutting yourself some slack.
Lastly, this is a transition period, and change is hard. Like really hard. And the transition period doesn’t start and end with the end of college and the start of your first job. This transition is YEARS LONG. Dude, I know. That’s a long time. But this is a time of such exponential personal growth, that you need all of that time to work out your kinks and knots. Transitions are hard in all types of ways. Moving is hard, starting new jobs is hard, and figuring out who your post-college friends are is insanely difficult. Acknowledging that this transition period is difficult is half the battle. You have to try and be kind to yourself while all of this craziness is going on. It’s hard on all of us, which is more of a reason to be kind to others too.
In summary, being 23 is weird, awkward, and at points can be all together uncomfortable. But we all gotta do it. And we will all get through this, too. It may not be graceful or cute, but this “Adulting” stage is just another level of life that we can accomplish. We got this.