I recently visited a local elementary school as part of a speaking engagement. In my introduction, they mentioned that I was 22 years old and a recent college graduate…cue audible gasps in the crowd. While this gave me a chuckle at first, such a reaction soon settled uncomfortably into my very being. Sure, when I was in second or third grade I thought all 22 year olds were put together, professional, and were probably already fighting the effects of aging. Without being able to put in into words, I assumed those of this ripe age were mature, sure of themselves, and just plain loving life. And then…there’s my current reality. As a working woman battling confusion and angst, I am the living definition of a hot mess — unsure of my future and working hard to adjust to the life of a big kid. Where has my wonder of and excitement for adulthood gone?
What I thought would amount to saving money, wearing heels, and drinking fancy cocktails turns out to be more like applying for credit cards, decoding “business casual,” and finding my favorite $4.99 wine at Trader Joe’s. While I truly am trying my best at this adulthood thing, I often feel like a failure. It’s easy to feel alone in the day-to-day struggles of an uneasy transition. But the thing is…I’m not alone. And neither are you. Whether you just moved out of the house or are moving back home. Whether you just graduated college or are deciding to go back to school. Whether all you can afford is Cup O’ Noodles or you’re dining on caviar. We are in this together.
The lie that us adulthood newbies hear all too often is that it’s better to figure it out all on our own. Sometimes it seems more admirable to be Miss Independent, but in reality that’s a miserable pathway with no GPS to help a sister out. Of course your path will look different than others, but we all experience loneliness, angst, frustration, confusion, and bursts of unexpected joy. Especially as we navigate the valleys, mountaintops, and unexpected roadblocks of adulthood.
Moving forward, be encouraged. Build up your #girlgang — those who understand you better than anyone else. Follow likeminded women on social media. Read some blogs about transition, start with this mag for inspiration. Try your very hardest to avoid comparison. Train your brain not to think of what divides us, but what unites us. Get yourself a hobby. Find something you love to do, whether it’s reading for fun or running (for fun?). You do you, girl. Most of all, look for ways to bring that wonder back into adulthood.
Author: Ellen Wildman
Author Bio: Ellen is passionate about homelessness awareness, gluten free baked goods, snuggling cats, and dancing like everybody’s watching.
Link to social media or website: https://www.instagram.com/ellen_wildman/