In this day and age, what does the image of an ideal adult look like? An economically and emotionally stable being, living independently while being both successful and happy.
There’s no real way to live your life, no book to provide detailed step-by-step instructions on how to live your best life. What does the image of a best life even look like? Those filtered Instagram goal worthy photos of someone in an overly priced hotel with a scenic view of a European country? Not going to lie, it does sound tempting but is it actually possible? When do we grow? How do we become adults? Can we successfully transition from adolescence to adulthood?
As a recent college graduate, I found myself faced with an indescribable unease. I fell in a slump, an uncertainty. I had questions and, no matter what I did, there were no answers.
With so much going on in the world and everything that is to come, it isn’t easy to find your footing when the world is moving at the speed of light. It becomes overwhelming when happiness is measured by the amount of likes and views and success is calculated by zip codes and bank accounts. We were implemented from a young age to aspire to compete, in order to grow and improve. But the game soon becomes a rivalry, losing ourselves in the field. What is there to win when we don’t know what we want to gain and what happens when we obtain security but end up feeling empty?
We aren’t taught how to obtain happiness but instead success. Think about it, we are taught to focus on minuscule facts that are worthless in the real world as opposed to learning important skills, such as tax filing or building credit. Instead they drill into our head that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell or how to use the Pythagorean theorem. I decided I needed to rewire in order to restart so I could become a productive adult in society. So I began my research, as any millennial would, through YouTube and books.
I found the YouTuber, Kalyn Nicholson, that forced me to confront the negative baggage that I was carrying around:
I found the author Jen Sincero, that made me acknowledge the possibilities instead of constraining myself to practicality through her novels, You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money:
They taught me that to be an adult, you have to focus on yourself. You have to help yourself and you have to love yourself because there’s no one else out there that can complete your growth. Here are a few things to remember as you practice adulting:
Money does not buy happiness but it does make things easier. As we begin to hit our mid-twenties we have to think smart in regards to our money and how we spend it. In our youth, we recklessly spent money but now that we are older we gain independence by assuming our responsibility. Try this simple but very useful tool: budgeting. It is important to start by focusing on monthly expenses, adding up all the necessities and seeing how much money is going toward paying that. Once that is covered, it is easier to visualize the money that is left over and how it will be split between savings and recreational use. The future is unclear and it is better to be prepared by setting up a savings account for any emergency. But we are still young so go ahead and set aside some money to have fun and splurge on yourself every now and then.
Remember when I was talking about competition? Well it is meant to be a good thing because it pushes us to try harder. However, sometimes it can also cause self-doubt and pressure. We all strive to be perfect but perfection is unattainable and unrealistic. We have to learn to care for ourselves because we are each distinct individuals and there is no one else like us in this large world that is revolving around a massive star within a limitless universe. Self love is about finding balance and prioritizing your life as opposed to someone else’s vision of success. You need to be open to correcting yourself; the only way that is possible is by finding excitement in learning. We should look at new experiences as chances to learn. In Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass, in order to grow and improve we have to change our self sabotaging ways. Don’t ask why did I do this, instead ask what did I learn from this.
You just graduated college, what are you going to do now? Most likely not visit Disneyland so what is a millennial to do in this day and age? Finding your dream job may seem difficult with various fields becoming competitive. We do have any advantage, we have everything at our disposal, just underneath our fingers. However, there is one impediment: procrastination. We cannot accomplish anything if we continuously delay our plans. In order to obtain your dream job or any other goals, you have to stop procrastinating. Something as simple as making a to do list or breaking tasks down, creates both visuals and smaller tasks that are achievable. All it really comes down to is doing it, whether it be sending resumes or looking up airlines for that trip to Thailand; just start, don’t think.