Discoveries of a twenty-something on what adulting is about

My early 20’s have been interesting. As a young adult, I have had the romanticized notions of what I believe adulthood was about as a teenager discredited. I have discovered that adulting is slightly overrated yet still amazing. 

Here are 5 things I’ve discovered so far about adulthood: 

1. Growing up doesn’t automatically mean being  “put together”

First things first, growing up doesn’t automatically mean being a “put together”, rational and wise human being.

In all honesty, adults tend to keep up appearances of a picture-perfect life while they are, as said by Ijeoma Umebinyuo, “broken children living in grown bodies mimicking adult lives”. That’s a scary truth.

The truth is just as we had issues and problems when we were younger, we still have issues and problems when we are adults, sometimes even more issues and problems.

Getting older does not automatically fix our past pain or mean that our future lives will automatically go well. 

Read more: Has the rainbow nation forgotten about us?

2. Following one’s dreams isn’t easy

There is a constant battle between choosing a career that is in line with one’s passion or choosing to forsake one’s dreams for a “realistic” job. The worst part about choosing one over the other is the fear that the choice made now could be the choice that one regrets in the future.

It’s hard to follow one’s dreams when seeing people return home after not obtaining their desired job, and then having to find any job so that they are not unemployed.

It is also hard to give up on one’s desires based on other people’s experiences because although it’s good to learn from other people’s disappointments or mistakes, life isn’t about making choices based on other people’s experience.

3. Showers are very therapeutic

Actually showers have the uncanny ability to change one’s life. In times of sadness, singing one’s lungs out in the shower makes one feel better. Showers enable a one to think critically about where one is in life and where one would like to be in life.

It is actually in the shower where some of my “life-changing decisions” have been made.  

Read more: So what if I don’t have that “New Year, New Me“ feeling?

4. Relationships in their different forms require intention, time and effort

Gone are the days when one could see one’s friends every day. Life after High school means that friends are not always with us or near us. In order to obtain and maintain friendships, it is a prerequisite that one keeps in contact with friends as often as possible.

This means going beyond WhatsApp texts, it includes maximising on your cellphone providers calling benefits  and even having to set up lunch dates weeks in advance.

Without putting any work into a friendship or any other form of a relationship, that relationship cannot blossom and one can end up involuntarily alone. 

5. Life is not just black and white 

Growing up is a contradiction, life becomes more complex and life stops being black and white, it becomes grey. Although I still insist on looking at life as black and white, it’s harder now because I have seen that life isn’t as straightforward as I thought it was.

I have realised that different people have different stories and this discovery has made me more understanding.

I still remain firm on what I believe is right and wrong, but I am less critical and more considerate when looking at people and the situations they find themselves. 

My presumptions on what I believed being a grown up entails have been rebutted. Although growing up is slightly overrated, growing isn’t as terrible.

If I could give a definition of what growing up means, I would say that growing up is about basking in the pleasures of life and it means transcending through the pain. 

Read more:

Are we our own oppressors?

A letter to yourself from the future

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