So, I don’t really know who I’m addressing with this letter, because who out there actually thinks of themselves as a “real adult”? I think I’m talking to the people who have their shit together, the people who know what direction their life is heading in, and who, even if they aren’t quite there yet, know what they want their life to look like. The people with career paths, the people buying houses and starting families, the people who understand and actually have those adult things like mortgages and credit scores and investments and whatnot. Not people like me, who are making up each day as they go, who are officially adults, but definitely don’t feel like it yet.
So, if you fit some of that criteria, then I’m writing to you. I’m writing to say how? How do you get your shit together? How do you become a “real adult”, because I sure as hell have no idea what I’m doing? How do you find the right career path for you? How do you go about getting all those adult things I mentioned above? And not just in the literal sense, but also how do you make yourself learn about and do all these things? Sure, I could research it all and start making steps towards it, but I have no drive to, nor am I convinced that I need to yet.
Because that’s the other side of this letter. Yes, I’m asking how to get one’s shit together, but I’m also asking do we really need to, and if so, why? Sure, I understand the importance of planning for one’s future, of course I get that part, and I realise that it is something I should be thinking about. But is it so wrong to enjoy one’s youth, and live in the moment for a bit longer? Does it matter if I wait a few more years to become a “real adult”? Because in all honesty, it doesn’t sound all that much fun. I’m good with where I am in life right now. I have a job I enjoy, which provides me with enough income, I rent a flat with a group of flatmates, and I am self-sufficient enough that I can provide for myself, and have enough time and money to do the things I enjoy outside of work as well. I’m not struggling to get by, and I’m not dependent on anyone else to look after me.
So at what stage do I count as a “real adult”? When I own a home? When I reach a certain level of income? When I have various credit scores and insurances and whatever other things I don’t really understand yet? I think our definitions of adulthood and career paths and stability have changed over the years. It’s more acceptable to take longer to reach that stage of life – previous generations would have one job their whole lives, and be settled down and married, in their own home, by the time they were my age. But nowadays, not only is it harder to secure good jobs and get on the property ladder and such, but more people in my generation want to do other things before reaching that stage. We went to travel and learn and have adventures and be spontaneous, before tying ourselves down to those sorts of things. And some people never will, some will be perpetual nomads, switching careers and locations many times throughout their lives.
And that’s ok, right? I think I’m in two minds about all of it. In some ways, I don’t want to be a “real adult” yet, but in other ways, maybe I do, to feel more secure and settled, and not be so stressed about the future. Living in the moment has its perks, but preparing for the rainy days isn’t a bad idea either. So is it possible to have both? Can I continue to be free and flexible, and keep changing jobs and locations, and just see where life takes me, while still planning for the future? I think so, and I certainly hope so, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that just yet.
So if anyone has advice, please share it. Tell me how you got your shit together. Tell me how you figured out what your path is – even if it’s just your path for right now, not necessarily for your whole life. Tell me your stories, share your thoughts and goals and plans. And if you don’t feel like a “real adult” either, share where you are in life right now, and maybe we can figure out this whole “growing up” thing together.