I’m pretty new to this whole adulting thing, but I still feel like it’s largely a trap. We go from spending years in school, with a daily routine, to suddenly being shoved out the nest with the hope that somewhere along the way, we gleaned the knowledge of how to fly. Nowhere in my four year education in college was I taught how to pay taxes, how to negotiate a salary, or how to choose a good credit card. (But that required course on statistics was necessary…)
During my college career, I did the requisite internships. I moved to Washington, DC for a summer, I traveled to Italy. None of that prepared me for adulthood. Not really. (Except the unpaid internship, which taught me that companies will always take advantage of you as long as you allow them.)
When I moved out to this new city for my job, I wasn’t remotely ready. My first day, I was presented with a host of papers. Forms I needed to fill out to choose my 401k, my health insurance policy; I had no idea. Nobody tells you what exactly adulthood entails. I had to call my dad to walk me through everything.
I lived alone in college, but that didn’t prepare me for doing the same in a city where I didn’t know anyone. When I was a college student, I was mere minutes from my friends. One text and we were drinking wine and watching movies together.
No one tells you that there is a solid chance that you will spend your first day in your new apartment sitting on the floor crying (you have to sit on the floor because you don’t have any furniture yet. And you can’t even turn to ice cream because you haven’t gotten any groceries.). When you’re done crying, you’ll have plenty of free time (because you have no friends) for exciting activities like staring at the ceiling, wondering what the previous tenants were like, or even guessing how many tiles are on your kitchen floor.
Adulting is something everyone has to go through, but nobody wants to tell you how awful it is. Maybe saying “is” is a little harsh… nobody wants to tell you how awful it can be.
It’s been a week since I pulled the plug on the job I hated. In that time, I’ve searched like a fiend for something new, and have done a lot of waiting to hear back about interviews and potential jobs. Nobody tells you that either--adulthood is a lot of waiting. I’ve done the scary stuff of finding an apartment (in two weeks I sign the lease!) and telling my parents that I was changing jobs and just winging it.
There are highs and lows. Moments of realizing that you don’t have to clear it with anyone that you’re staying out late. Your decisions are your own, which means you have to take responsibility for them. If you make a mistake, you can only blame yourself. But it makes celebrations sweeter, too.
There's a lot of things no one tells you, but at the end of the day, it's worth it to have the freedom to make your own choices. It's worth a mistake every once in a while to know that in the long run, what you're doing is what's best for you.