Adulthood: A Work in Progress

I believe I promised you an honest answer as to how I feel about my trip. Well, I don’t have it. All I know is that it’s happening. The plans are slowly being built, the date is set and what seemed mere words is now a future action. My feelings, at the moment, are too jumbled up for me to disentangle them and give you a concise answer; but in its due time it will come.

Now, I’d like to talk about how ridiculously absurd and difficult life as an adult is. One talks about being an adult. One talks about feeling like an adult, but no one talks about all the things you really do to get to have an independent adult life. An example of this was yesterday’s freak out brought to me by the student loans and whether or not I should take one. It seems simple; you borrow money, you use it and when you graduate you pay it off. However, no one tells you that student loans can ruin the startup of your life as an adult if you don’t get the appropriate job when you graduate. No one tells you that it’s necessary to make out an economic plan for your life so you don’t run out of money and starve. These are things that we learn either when we screw up or when someone wiser talks to you about it; which brings me to two points:

My first point: What is being an adult? Some think it’s about getting a job and having money. This does not take any type of skill or thought, because once you obtain a job they will tell you what to do. Thus, you become a mindless robot that cashes a check and spends it on whatever. This is wrong. Being an adult is being conscious of what you are doing and where you are going. It requires soul-searching and having an identity. Yes, there are people who can carry out an adult life without knowing who they are or where they are going, but let’s be honest: they are not adults. Their worth, thought and action is guided by the next survival step, by the next pay check, by the next duty the boss has given. A real adult knows what she/he wants of life. They will set steps and goals to achieve it. Being an adult is being rational, practical and efficient at what you do. Being able to step back, recognize a problem and work on it instead of running to mom and dad to do it; or worst, letting luck decide your fate. Being an adult takes a lot of effort if you really want to make it. I’m not saying life is hard, but it ain’t no walk in the park.

My second point: How does one become an adult? Some think it just magically happens when you turn 18, or when you get your first job, beard, or whatever it is that you believe in. This is also wrong. One does not wake up and magically become something. To become an adult you must be willing to learn. There are a million things we don’t know and we go to school to learn some; this, however, is just one step, one side to the adult you will become. The other knowledge you will gain comes from personal experiences. Think back to how you learned to drive, to write a check, to take out a loan and so on. This empirical process also entails becoming your own person, separate from your parents or caretaker’s beliefs. This is how you form your own religious beliefs or disbeliefs, how you decide what kind of life you would like to lead, what you really want to do with your life and your moral and ethical values. One becomes an adult through the recognition of self; through learning and practicing what is valuable to us. What we learn and what we value is what will shape us and bring us to the future.

Nevertheless, the most important thing to take from all of this is that you should never feel afraid to ask for help or admit you can’t do something by yourself. Being an adult is not about always being right and having the most knowledge or power. Being an adult is about recognizing you strengths and your weaknesses. By knowing where you lack you can empower yourself and catch yourself before you fall. In my case I knew nothing about student loans or how much money to take out. Luckily I have the Gringa Bestie to catch me when I fall. GB, is an Atlanta-raised, kick ass feminist with a grammar nazi streak and a love for cat, cheeseburgers, pizza and chocolates. She is two years older than me but in those two years she has leaped a world and a half and knows more about moving out-of-state than most graduate students I know. More than that, she knows what it feels like to be left alone in the swimming pool of life, pushed into the deep end and told to swim. That is why I have the total confidence of bringing her all my monetary, graduate life, and cat problems; cause I know she will have a fart joke and some good advice for me.

Reader, being an adult sucks! Take it from a growing adult who is flying away from the nest for the first time. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If life were easy it would have no meaning; it wouldn’t matter if you made it or not. The struggle is real and if you want to make it you have to put up a fight, but you have to arm yourself well. Learn from your school and learn from yourself. There can never be doubt when you know where you’re going and what you’re doing. Never be afraid to ask for help; you’re not perfect and you’re not a machine. Remember, it’s your goal and if you don’t wake up every morning to fight for it, no one will.

Signing off,

TWS

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