Something happened over the past few years. It happened when I wasn’t looking. I was no longer a child, I was no longer bound by the rules of my parents, with nobody to answer to. I didn’t have to tell anyone where I was going, what I was doing or what time I would be back. I became an adult.
What age does this even truly happen? Growing up, we seem to believe we’re “adults” by the time we’re 16, 18, 21. It’s a subjective theory in all honesty, something that is relative to life experience. I definitely remember feeling fairly adult at the age of 12, battling with what I saw to be “grown-up” depressive moods and thoughts, protecting myself from my aggressive step father and dealing with my ongoing internal monologue. That felt fairly adult to me. But in reality, it was a young girl, a very lost one at that, dealing with a world of adults who showcased very negative thoughts, emotions and relayed them onto my vulnerable brain.
Now, at 23 years of age, I live in my own house with my partner, I’m studying for my degree, I’m learning to be my own person as I expect to do for the entirety of my life. I’m an enthusiast for the world, for travel, for work, for learning and for growth. I love to write. I love to walk. I am an adult. So why do I still feel as if those strings have not been cut from my childhood. I still feel like I need guidance, I still feel as if I need to answer to someone. And I still feel as if I need to cling to my childhood in order to be carefree.
What I do that counteracts the fact that I’m an adult?
- Everything I do I seek gratification from someone, somewhere
- If I have a sick day from work, I validate the fact that it is ok with a parent, my partner, or family and friends
- I explain every decision I make
- I justify myself constantly
- I live to please others
- I still feel unfulfilled, as if being a child allowed me to do more (that ironically I never seemed to take advantage of) and that adulthood results in not being able to really “live”
- Living in a messy house – expecting someone else to clean it for me
Why do I do this?
- Being an adult was always a negative thing in my younger life – adults were harsh and scary and violent and unpredictable
- I care what people think far too much
- I seek validation as I am still unsure in my own ability to decision make
- I have convinced myself that adult hood means working, paying bills and being unfulfilled
- I have a warped view of what being an independent truly means
How could I step into my adulthood like I mean it?
- I need to consistently remind myself that adulthood is just a theory – it’s a concept that simply means I’m older.
- Remind myself that adulthood is not scary and it doesn’t mean that I have become a reflection of the adults I knew in my childhood
- Remember that it doesn’t change who I am – I’m still a big kid
- Don’t allow the concept of being grown up take away my dreams – it doesn’t mean the time frame has gone, it simply means I can choose when, where and why
- To learn that whilst pleasing people is ok, it shouldn’t be at the detriment of pleasing myself
- Remember that I don’t owe anybody anything. I’m my own person
- Believing in any decision that I make
- Keeping a tidy house in order to keep a tidy mind.
- Helping myself to help myself
- Staying in touch with my inner child and allowing myself to play and have fun
- Laugh more – laughing and being silly isn’t confined to being a child
- Working on my thoughts on what an adult is – not seeing adulthood as boring bill paying, as realistically, it changes nothing.
I’ve got some great things to work on this summer!
How do you live authentically in the concept of being an adult?