Recently my church hosted a women’s ministry kick-off event where I was one of 3 speakers, sharing a testimony of how I’ve seen God work in my life. I looked out on the crowd of women mostly in their mid-30s-40s, and several older women and joked that since I was 26 my friends thought I was a ‘real adult now’. They laughed, I laughed. But actually sometimes it’s hard.
As if the transition out of university wasn’t scary enough, the first few steps of real independence are wobbly. If I didn’t have a community of people around me who have been there to help support me I think I would live a much more stressed life.
Getting my own apartment this year was a huge step up, and an exciting move. Independence feels refreshing.
But let’s be honest, being a ‘grown up’ sometimes sucks.
Like that time my internet got hacked. Yeah. There’s NO WAY I downloaded 50GB of data on a day I went apple picking and went to the gym. Sorry – not buying it, but being charged for it… I’m technically challenged – I can DO technical things but it’s painful. So trying to figure out how to login to the router website and change my password…. so annoying. Thankfully it’s done and hopefully there will be no more stealing of said internet data. Please God please.
Or that time I forgot my keys and had to break into my bedroom window (which doesn’t lock), but then later heard that there’s been break-ins all over the city and I’m like, “Great some crazy person is going to crawl in my window right beside my bed!” So there I am getting a piece of wood and bracing the window so some thief/rapist can’t break in. Being an adult forces you to be resourceful. Also I’m way too trusting of the general public until after something goes wrong then I usually need to make changes. I’m growing in being pre-emptive.
Being gritty for my friends
A bunch of my friends are going through this right now too. Even still as I have a few years on them, and I watch them learn the lessons that Booster Juice really isn’t dinner, and yes you actually need 8hrs of sleep to be functional at work, I’m kinda glad. Growing up feels hard – and I know the older generations want to scream “cry my a river” at all of us Millennials (except they probably wouldn’t know that JT reference).
Change is hard. It requires us to step out of our comfort zones and realize that the world isn’t as peachy keen as we thought it was as kids (and deluded ourselves that it was in university when we forgo responsibilities). Growing up requires us to problem solve, and accept consequences for behavior. It requires us to pay out hard earned money even if we barely have any in our bank account. And it sometimes involves us wasting said money foolishly because we really needed to learn the lesson to not hit other people’s cars or give strangers money thinking they would pay us back. I think those are mistakes we won’t make again…
Being courageous and gritty for my friends who are following in my ‘adulting’ footsteps is an honor. To say, “I’ve been there – you’re not alone” is a privilege. To encourage them, “It’ll get better, just keep making those smalls steps at a time.” To even ‘grow up’ in our mid-twenties is actually a gift, given and fought for by millions of other people that had a vision for the way that our lives and society could be.
My grandpa grew up at 14 in the war
These ‘life lessons’ of adulting are a deep privilege I have at experiencing in my mid-twenties. I get frustrated when people my age get flack for dealing with change like growing up and judged because of their age in experiencing it. My grandpa experienced what I’m going through now much earlier in his early teens when he lived in London during the war. His older brothers and father fought in the army and his younger siblings and mom had to flee the city for northern England because the city was getting attacked with bombs. He had to drop out of school (which is a shame because he actually was really smart), and stay at home to protect it from robbers. (Ok, if I had to stay at home alone at 14 and protect the house from thieves and sleep with a baseball bat beside my bed, I would have had a panic attack every time the floor squeaked.)
He worked in a grocery store and even saw his boss get killed one day when the air raids went off and a bomb hit their building. I can’t imagine experiencing that level of trauma and responsibility as a teenager. And I deeply value the sacrifice that he and my family, and millions of other people made to protect our nation so that I could live a life filled with education, and safety.
My grandpa fought in a war so that I could live a thriving life and ‘adult’ in my mid-twenties.
He fought so that I wouldn’t have to be forced grow up as a child living in wartime. I feel humbled when I read stories and hear experiences of people who live in other war-torn places around the world, who are forced to grow up too young in this generation. It breaks my heart and it honestly makes me want to cry, thanking God that I was blessed to have things like swimming lessons, that I was forced to practice for spelling tests, and watched The Magic School Bus after school.
So the pains of ‘adulting’ are a gift. They are a joy. Getting scammed and having my internet hacked makes me want to go boo-hoo. But if that’s the worst that I experience in the transition period of living in the real world – I’ll take it.