Do you remember that moment at the end of high school, when you knew that you were all grown up? You were ready to take on the world. You were ready for whatever life threw at you because you felt like “you’d been through it all.” High school was your transition into adulthood. Your parents underestimated you and your experiences, and your friends didn’t have it as hard as you did. You were definitely as mature as you’d ever be. You were fully an adult, right?
Absolutely and completely wrong. In fact, you couldn’t have been more wrong about anything in your life. Let’s recap. The summer after high school, your life was the dullest it had ever been because you didn’t know what you were doing. Your friends all went away on trips, and maybe you did, as well. Still, there was no solid direction. You got accepted into college—either your dream university or just any other—and you were on your way.
Once your first semester in college began, you felt like your life was taking direction—definitely into adulthood. Classes were harder and everyone acted so mature. You felt like a kid in front of some people. You couldn’t use your phone all hours of the night and day because adults engaged in real interaction. Buying food out all the time added up and you sure didn’t have enough of your own money to continue doing it. Your first real job happened because your parents finally accepted your adulthood (great). Things in your life suddenly took on full swing. Relationships started and ended, marriages and children happened, people moved away or passed away, and life began to show you its true colors. You realized, then and there, it was time to grow up—again.
This phase of life was nothing like high school. It was harder and rougher around the edges. It was gloomier and had many more trials and tribulations in its cracks. It wasn’t about figuring out your favorite music genre and being unique; it was about figuring out how to face stress, fear, anxiety, loss, and much more, with a positive attitude. In reality, this was the actual growing up that you had to do. This is when you truly realize who you are—based on how you deal with life.
Some of us do grow up early, but for most of us, the growing up is after high school—whether we acknowledged it when we were younger or not. Maintaining a positive attitude and learning to depend on those around us are key factors in surviving anything. A big mistake that a lot of us made in high school was that we thought we could do anything on our own. That is actually a childish thing to believe. One of the great things about being an adult is that we understand we can’t handle everything by ourselves. Depending on others isn’t a bad thing. It’s a mature thing.
Who you are as an adult, comes down to how you deal with what life throws at you, rather than focusing on what it throws. Growing up is a lot harder this time around, but always remember: keep your head up and your eyes open, be brave, and know that you’re not alone.