Being an Adult is hard.
I’m at the point where I’m just tiptoeing over the border into Adulthood — close enough to the time when I finished (or started) my day noon, but late enough in the game that I know exactly how to make it inside of Trader Joes on a Sunday.
Yes, I’m in the Sophomore Year of Adulthood. The awkward phase when you’re not a cute freshman bounding with innocence, or a cool senior gushing with freedom. It’s when friends start to move away, and work feels doable — but not to the point where you’re hitting you’re stride. Yet.
Us Sophomores are still figuring It out.
We’re the lonely middle child. We have people we look up to, but we also have people who look up to us. We have friends that planning their marriage (woah), and friends that are barely planning on making it home from the bar (also woah).
How do you make sense of it?
6. Don’t be scared of Being Scared
Fear: You get quiet, or your hands start to sweat, or a pit in your stomach begins to take shape.
We most readily think of fear when someone asks you to do something crazy like go sky-diving, or maybe even open Excel. But, what about when no one wants to get a drink with you on Friday — would you go alone? Or no one cares to go on a quick trip to Tulum — would you book the flight? Or would you end up sitting at home watching Netflix?
Well, I’m telling you: Ignore the fear.
Being scared of anything is the only thing that holds us back. So, start replacing No with Yes!— whether you’re just thinking it or the words are already hanging in the air (too emphatic? Try “Okay, sure…I’ll try it”).
Just think of how many opportunities you’ve turned down because you were Scared. And maybe, you didn’t even realize you were scared at the time.
7. People can teach you something
As we get older, we think we need to do everything by ourselves. It’s easy to think that once you’re kicked off of your mom’s laundry cycle — it’s Me, Myself and I.
But, it’s okay to be Here to make friends (even if you’re on the Real World).
These will be the people who will have your back whether you’re short on cash at the bar, or need to vent about your boss’ hundredth email before nine AM. They share your joys, and your downfalls. Friends make everything worthwhile in a weird, enjoyable, and important kind of way.
So, don’t feel weird asking them for help…even if you have to repay them in pizza.
And for relationships that are definitely not ideal on the surface (i.e. your lame manager, messy roommate, etc) — remember that both sides always have something to give.
Although you can only think, “This sucks that I got assigned on a project with Marty again,” every single interaction that you have with another human being teaches you about yourself — and who you ultimately want to be.
And if it doesn’t, tell your real friends about Marty and get over it. ‘Cause you’re an Adult now.
8. Remember to say Thank You
Didn’t think I’d be reminding you about rules of the playground, huh?
Guess again. Saying Thank You is the ultimate reminder of how lucky you truly are. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, and forget how far you’ve come. But, gratefulness is the key to happiness (even the Dalai Lama says so).
I realized this quite quickly when I entered the Adult world, but found it hard to follow through with thanking others, and myself. Who says it’s easy to feel “thankful” when you get assigned on another project with Marty, or you look at your credit card charges on a Saturday afternoon?
But, you have to make time for thinking about your grateful moments. I don’t think that this feeling of gratefulness comes natural to us humans (or New Yorkers, for that matter). So, stop when the small moments happen and acknowledge them.
My way of doing this is writing down 3 things I’m thankful for in a Gratitude Journal each day. Nerdy, I know. But, my gratitude journal helped keep everything in perspective. Whenever my day was so shitty I just couldn’t fathom setting another morning alarm for 5:45AM, I remembered certain small moments that made it all okay.
And sometimes, that’s really all that matters.
9. Stay focused on your superpowers
What makes you awesome?
Seriously — think about it for a second. For most of us, it’s a hard question to answer. We can easily identify all the things we don’t like about ourselves: I snort when I laugh, I’m a germophobe, I’m addicted to my cell phone.
What about the good things, the great things in fact, that make you You? I know I’m getting a little crunchy here, but stick with me. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and think about think characteristics that make us unique to start feeling really powerful.
And it starts with self-reflection.
Scary term. Self-reflection has this weight to it, like a priest’s questions at confession. It seems overwhelming. Yet, in order to really appreciate yourself, you must first understand what you love.
Through exercising self-reflection, you will then be able to understand what are your superpowers, and what is your kryptonite. It will act as your roadmap to Honoring Yourself. Whenever you get a little off track, you could return to your reflections to guide you.
10. And, eat that damn piece of chocolate
Sometimes, you just need to give in. Do the damn thing. Eat chocolate. Buy a solo ticket to an exotic new place. Take a train to Brooklyn. You know — be adventurous.
Most importantly, you need to Live for You.
I think at this age, we forget who we truly are — maybe because we don’t even know yet. But, don’t let others define you. Or suppress things you actually enjoy because it’s not “cool”.
Who cares if you enjoy listening to podcasts more than watching Scandal? If you don’t like dogs (or cats, or kids for that matter)? Start getting comfortable in your own skin.
I saved this one for last because it’s the hardest — kind of the epitome of being an Adult. You have to get to all those things aligned: spend time alone, figure out your super powers, get over your fears, in order to feel comfortable eating that damn piece of chocolate.
It’s a long, loooong road ahead, but hey, keep your eye on the prize. If the Mast Brothers could create a chocolate factory in the 21st century, you can too.
What are tricks that you use to be a Really Good Adult? I want to know!