How to Adult
Even the term ‘adulting’ screams irresponsible, insecure and lost. The latest invention added to the Gen Z dictionary is irony loaded with satire as nobody, who can ‘actually adult’, uses the continuous present form of “adulting” to define what they are doing. “Adults adults” just appear to live their lives, pay off their mortgages, hold down stable and happy families whilst still having time to go to pilates on Saturday mornings.
However, in my 22nd year of life, and solidly over the 18-years-of-turning-legally-adult-age hump, do I feel that I am an adult? Absolutely not. Yet as a young teen, I wholeheartedly believed that by now I would be engaged and living my multi-million-pound lifestyle in some penthouse suite in New York City (yes, I used to love Gossip Girl). I didn’t question where my beliefs had come from, how they had been moulded by societal norms and pressures which had had such a large and demanding impact on my young, malleable brain. The people I saw on screen, in magazines and in books were not just fragments of some sanguine director’s imagination – they were real people who I aspired to be.
Reality check! I’m 22 years old and when I return back to my childhood home, my mother still does my washing and collects used mugs from my bedroom. It feels like security. It feels like home. It feels like the comfort zone where I know that any mistake can be undone, and any fear will be disbanded. This cocoon has held me for the past two decades, and it has enabled me to become who I am today. It’s given me the right resources in order to develop as a person, and give me the support needed in order to tread delicately out into the world.
However, comfort zones don’t necessarily bring the growth one requires. Sure, I’ve had the support and love of my two parents, yet I haven’t been challenged in the same way as fear, worry and stress push me to go beyond myself. This being said, I have recently moved to Manchester for a new job in education. I can no longer lean back into the maternal embrace that has cradled me for years. I am at the front of a classroom, where I’m giving out homework to students and telling them off for doing things that I was doing what only seems like a couple of years ago. It’s as if I lead two lives; one as a teen who just wants to laze and watch Netflix and the other who is a young adult with responsibilities and bills to pay. I have one foot in the nest and one wing flapping frantically on the other side. However, half-way is not the full way, and I would consider myself miles off of beautiful Blair Waldorf with her life together.
Yet I am happy. Despite being confused, bewildered and yes, maybe a little bit lost, these are times of growth. It’s what I’ve wanted, yet above all what I need, in order to fully fly the nest. I feel that this entire year has been challenging, with multiple hurdles having to be clambered over in the dark. Personally, I’ve graduated whilst sat on my sofa at home, I’ve lost several family members, and I’ve started a new job under the weirdest of conditions, in a pandemic like no other. But God has not given me anything that I am unable to handle. I have grown from this, I can say that with certainty. I have grown in ways I didn’t know how to grow. Growth is not linear after all, it is a process that can only be scaled in one’s mind’s eye, or in one’s heart – however you may put it.
Therefore it is in times of self-reflection that I wonder how I define ‘adulting’. I still wouldn’t conclude this blog by making the outrageous supposition that I am anywhere near what I would consider an ‘adult adult’ to be like, but I do believe that my definition of the word has changed. It may be different for everyone (for some, even, a word that doesn’t deserve recognition!). However, I do think that my Fifth Ave. high life may not be as far away as it had once seemed.
You know you love me, xoxo