A few weeks ago, articles were popping up online discussing the fact that many psychologists were now acknowledging that adolescence actually occurs between the ages of 10-24. Well my 23 year old self definitely rejoiced at the prospect that in the eyes of these professionals, I would not be regarded as an adult until I turned 25. This milestone may just be a little over a year away, but it still buys me some time to blame my limited capabilities in some areas of life on the fact that I’m not “fully” mature yet. But why am I clinging onto adolescence for longer, you may ask? Isn’t being an adolescent just filled with loads of awkward moments, acne and a general rage of teenage hormones? Well adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either!
As millennials we’re constantly being criticised by older generations that we’re lazy and making excuses for our behaviour, but times have changed and what’s expected of us is different. Education definitely did not fully prepare me for adulthood at all. Despite this realisation that I didn’t really leave University 100% equipped with all the tools to begin the process of adulting, the past year and a half has provided me with plenty of lessons of which a few I will share.
Lessons learnt on my quest to adulthood:
Networking doesn’t stop once you’ve graduated and secured your first job
Since graduation, I’ve been to a bunch of different events ranging from blogging and writing specific, to personal development and growth. There is a truth in the fact that your network is your net worth. So continue to meet new people and nurture new relationships.
Money management is important from the beginning
Me being slightly naive thought that once I graduated and was earning a salary rather than an hourly wage, that I would be rolling in it. But, for most of us, we have responsibilities: rent, bills, transport costs…..Netflix subscription (OK maybe that’s not a necessity, but it sure does make me happy!). If there’s anything I’ve learnt the significance of over the past year and a half, it’s saving and sticking to a budget.
Life is not a race
Just the other day I was on Facebook and an old classmate of mine announced her and her husband of two years were expecting a baby this Summer. For a split second, I heard my Nigerian Aunty’s voice in my head, telling me to look at my age mates and how they seem to have their life together. It’s easy when everyone’s posting their achievements and successes on social media, to compare yourself and to question where you’re at. But remember comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone reaches different stages in their own time and at their own pace.
Know your worth
My own personal realisation has come in the workplace, navigating my first graduate role and realising that I had more to give but wasn’t being given the opportunity to do so. Sometimes these realisations come with tough decisions, like deciding to quit your job, but I’ve concluded that having that confidence to take action is a sign of maturity.
Everybody’s winging it
This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learnt in my quest to adulthood. Although in most countries you’re legally an adult at the age of 18, let’s be honest, how many of us knew what we were going to do with our lives at that age? Being considered an adult comes with the assumption that you’ve got it all figured it out and have some idea of where your life is headed. But is that really the case in reality? It’s very easy to think that you’re the only one stuck in limbo and everyone around you has got it together. But in fact we’re all just making it up as we go along. I don’t know if there’s a cut off point, or if there’s an “aha” moment where we’ll feel like we’ve got the whole adulting thing down, but in the meantime, I revel in the slight comfort having realised that I’m not the only one in this situation.
Ultimately, it is important for all of us young people to remember that our twenties are formative years and adulting is hard and can feel really suffocating at times. But, like all awkward moments in life this is temporary and shall subside eventually.
Written by Aisha Rimi