I’ve been an “adult” for 6 months, as of a few weeks ago and WOW has it been an adventure. When I graduated from college and got my first job, I realized that my life, suddenly, had no boundaries. Before, I had always been working towards the next endpoint: middle school, high school, college, graduation, employment, and then…that was it. For once, I wasn’t bound by a deadline or the next destination, and the thought was both thrilling and terrifying. A little more than two months after I graduated, I had a job, I had moved halfway across the country, and was living on my own in a brand new city. I was adulting.
When I started on this adulting adventure, I remember feeling overwhelmed by the amount of freedom I suddenly had…and the amount of responsibility that came with it. All of a sudden, I had rent to pay, I had to go to work every day and navigate a new job and office politics for the first time, I had to grocery shop and cook for myself, keep myself healthy, make friends in a new city, and do it on my own. The smallest setback would send me into a panic — I went $10 0ver my grocery budget and I convinced myself I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent, my friends from college all got together for Homecoming Weekend and I couldn’t go and I thought I would never be able to make friends, my open floor-plan office had me overstimulated and exhausted at the end of the day and I sometimes dreaded having to wake up in the morning and go to work.
I missed my parents and my brother, I missed my friends, I missed all of the city adventures I would go on in college. All I wanted to do sometimes was go home and sleep in my bed in my childhood room and have my mom take care of me. I wanted to lay on the quad in the sun and drink iced coffees with my friends without really caring how much my coffee habit cost me. I wanted a goal to work towards, like graduating or doing the next big thing in my life. Because “adulting” is this strange boundary-less stage in our lives in which we can do anything — take any job, live anywhere we want, essentially spend our time as we please — but no one is telling us exactly what to do with this freedom. That’s a little scary, isn’t it?
As I look back on the past six months, a phrase comes to mind: Rise Up. Coincidentally, this is also our power word for the month of February, and I think it coincides perfectly with my 6-month “adult” anniversary. It can be so easy to get caught up in the little challenges of a new adventure of being on our own and being in complete charge of our lives for the first time — what with the bills to pay, and the jobs to do, and friends and family and childhood homes to miss — that we lose sight of the adventure itself, the fact that we’re doing it. We’re moving, we’re growing, we’re changing and experiencing. Maybe we do go over our grocery budget or spend too much at Starbucks this week, but what about the time your boss recognized how hard you worked on a particularly thorny project and praised for how it turned out, and you felt so accomplished? Or what about how it feels when you’ve cleaned your entire apartment, done your laundry, and gone grocery shopping in an afternoon? Or when you catch a great community yoga class with a new friend from work and you walk out feeling emotionally and physically exhilarated?
With all of the challenges and the successes that we face on the road of adulting, we are becoming smarter and stronger and savvier. We are taking the steps as they come and in doing that, we are rising up. The past six months have been about rising up and continuing to climb along this journey. Yes, my life is strangely free of boundaries and I still have those days when all I want to do is go home and not be an adult for just a day, and the open-office thing still isn’t my favorite, but it’s been an incredible six months. I have had successes and pitfalls, I have walked out of work feeling both accomplished and frustrated, and I have felt both content and lonely in my apartment, but from all of those moments, I am stronger and I have kept moving.
I’ve risen up.