When I was younger, I remember that I always wanted to grow up, get a job and I could decide if I wanted to work from home or not. I could afford all the sweets I wanted and watch all the cartoons I wanted. Ah… I miss that naive life.
I have been a legal adult for all of 9 years now and I have picked up a few pointers along the way. I am almost waving goodbye to my young adulthood and honestly, I’m a little sad to see it go (who isn’t?).
Recently, I have realised that becoming an adult is an intentional thing. You have to genuinely want to be what it is you have decided to be.
And when you’re done getting the big picture together, you go out and do it.
I am also aware that most of my blog posts have gone along the same lines, saying the same thing over and over: Don’t be afraid, put your best foot forward, be what you want to become, life is hard, get over it… basically.
This year, I wanted to do something big, bold and audacious. Two such things have now come up as opportunities for me and as big and scary as they are, I have to do them. Scratch that, I am going to do them and see where they take me.
The first is moving out.
It’s a natural part of adult life and of course it comes with its own pitfalls and traps and issues. For the longest time, my biggest concern was that if I moved out, I wouldn’t be able to save up like I have been. Now, with my new promotion (yay!) I don’t have to worry about it. I have no more excuses. I have to do this. And I will.
And it scares me to death.
Far from being like boarding school, moving out is on a whole new level. At least in Boarding School, you can rely on someone else to deal with little things here and there like a broken bulb or a leaky sink. I will have to be the CEO of my own life and that thought scares me a little – then it scares me even more that at this stage in my life, I haven’t really been the CEO for the majority of my adult life.
So far from being about freedom or independence or whatever other cliché reason people have for moving out, I’m doing this for myself. I have to learn to live with myself and make all these adult decisions for myself. The first is moving out and everything that entails. This is one big, bold and audacious thing I feel will have a big impact on my life and who I become so really, I have to do it.
The second thing is starting a business.
I’ve been doing a lot of research on it lately and have come up with something of a budget ( which honestly is pretty big, even as a starting venture (>_<)). I’m still hashing out the details which is good but I feel the need to get started. It’s time.
What set me on this journey were a couple of things: my need to do something epic with my life and the right encouragement.
Quarter-life is hard enough without worrying about the future. With many different voices in your ear telling you what to wear, how to eat, where to go, what to do, who to meet, who to date, when to marry, what career to choose, when you should be successful, how many kids you should want, what your ideal life looks like… it’s pretty easy to get lost and to blame it on all the voices.
I have learned, instead, to listen to myself and what I want. I have learned to be brave and move forward. There are many positive voices that surround me too and I am very grateful for them.
These positive voices are what pushed me to make my first ever vision board. Now, I know vision boards are usually cardboard and magazine cutouts and things like that but I don’t have the space for a physical vision board and I don’t have magazines to pick cutouts from. I did have the internet and I did have the Paint application on my laptop, so I sat down and got to work. Half an hour later, this is what I came up with:
It’s pretty simple, right? But it works. And because it’s virtual, I have saved it as my screen saver on my laptop at work and on the one at home and I have a copy on my phone so I can pull it up whenever I want. I saved it to my email too because technology has bitten me before and I am not going to take any chances.
So, there is my vision for my life. It looks like a mess of random pictures but I see everything I still need to do and everything I want to have. I see my dream car, my dream apartment, my dream relationship, my fitness goals, my social goals, my family goals, my Christian goals, my writing goals and my environmental activism. And when I achieve most of what’s here, I will sit down and make a new set of goals.
I can’t tell you how absolutely wonderful it felt to finally have a road map. For most of my twenties I felt lost. I had random pictures of what I wanted and where I wanted to be but I had no large solid picture, no road map, as it were. And this is what this vision board is for me. I encourage everyone to make one and put it where you can see it and interact with it so you can be reminded of the things you really want. If you don’t like it, change it. If you’ve finished with one, make another. It can be as long term or as short term as you like but it has to come from you.
Finally, surround yourself with people who will push you to be more. I have my mum who is very supportive of my decision to move out. She’s even helped me with a few things I’ll need. I have my friends who are cheering me on as I make my dreams come true one by one. I have my religion to give me inner strength and make peace with my decisions. I have my dad who, even though he seems to be a little reluctant to see me leave, loves me and has been my strength all this time.
I feel a bit like a child taking their first steps. My parents have helped me up onto my unsteady feet and now it’s time to take my first steps into the big strange world. It’s new and scary and exciting. I can move on my own and because my legs are so unsteady, I may stumble and I may fall but I will get back up again.
The adult journey is just that, a journey. You don’t arrive at adult magically and automatically knowing what you want to do and being the person you were meant to be. That’s what your twenties are for. That’s what this stage of floundering is for. It’s for flip-flopping and finding your legs and learning to “walk” all over again. This time, after you learn to walk, there will be less support.
As we age, there will be even less and then a little more are we reach old age. But because we learn to walk, we can teach others to walk. Because we learn what adulthood looks like, we can show others, those that will come after, what it looks like.
Adulting is hard and every journey and every experience is different. Whether you mire yourself in “lostness” or refuse to let it overwhelm you, whether you face down those things that scare you or choose to cower in fear of them, whether you choose to fall in love now or later, whatever you decide for your life is on you. Nobody can “adult” for you.
You have to do it all by yourself. That’s probably the scariest part. But after you get the hang of it, I think, you can truly appreciate what being an adult really means.