7 Tips for Starting to be an Adult (and not Freaking out about it)
Today I am going to talk about what I have learned in the last couple months about growing up. I am nowhere near done growing — and honestly, we never should be. But right when you finish school, regardless of whether it’s college, high school, or grad school, things change. And that is nerve-wracking — to put it mildly.
There are so many things about being an adult that school doesn't prepare you for. And by so many things, I mean everything in life outside of the workforce. Did you know you have to clean dishwasher filters? I didn’t.
21 years of my life in school and I have no idea how to do my taxes this year. (UGH)
So here are seven pieces of advice I was given about being an adult, and not freaking out about it.
Very few things are actually emergencies. If your partner asks you to do the dishes, it does not have to happen right that second. And it doesn’t have to happen that day either. Things that are actually emergencies have immediate consequences. I’m talking stuff like “I left the oven on when I left for work” or “I have a very deep gash in my forehead.” Those things, yeah, you should probably drop whatever you are doing and figure them out. Fast. But those everyday things that pop up, you just need to take a breath and realize that it really won’t matter in 3 hours, days or years.
People do not really expect you to have everything together. You should have a general idea of what to do — or at least who to ask — but no one knows everything. Our parents are just more confident and experienced than us. And they should be! A lot of our parents are 23+ years older than we are. That’s a lot of time to figure out what to do, and I guarantee that no parent knows everything either way.
Get real with yourself about who you truly are. I have spent a lot of time trying to make everyone else happy. The thing is, not every person is going to get you. Not every person is going to like you. And not every person is going to support what you do. If you aren’t real with yourself, that is truly going to hurt because you are relying on their validation instead of your internal analysis of yourself.
Say no to things. If you don’t have time, just say no. If it’s your boss who’s asking, be really polite about it. But no one can do everything — and those that can are unicorns. I am not a unicorn, I am a person, and I have to be okay with that. If you are not a unicorn, you have to be okay with it too. If you are, please send me an email. I would love to know what it’s like to have a horn on my forehead.
Create small actionable goals to help you realize how much you are already accomplishing. Today, I ate salsa that I made! It sounds silly, but the reality is that I accomplished something there. I didn’t eat fast food, and I hand prepared something that actually tasted good.
Take time for you. My grandmother gave me this piece of advise today. I’ve heard it 100 times, but today it really resonated. If you don’t do something for yourself, if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot do anything else well. That something may be training for a race, sitting quietly with a cup of coffee, or drawing a picture. No matter what it is, it is not that you want to do it. You have to. As I said first, few things are actually emergencies. The world can wait while you take care of you.
Perfect is an unachievable goal. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. We are perfectly imperfect, just as we should be. When you make a mistake, own up to it. When you forget something, fix it. Don’t worry about how “imperfect” you may seem to the people around you because only you will be thinking about your error in a day, week, or month.
Even when you get your ass kicked by the world when you’re just starting out, you will be okay. I mean, people make it. You and I can too.