I think I'm finally an adult, and that terrifies me.
It's funny, because up until now, I've always wanted to be an adult. It's pretty much what we all strive for through our adolescent years, longing for the freedom and strength that come with being in charge of your own person. What we don't realize while yelling at our parents "I can't wait to grow up and be my own boss" is the amount of responsibility that comes along with it.
According to Urban Dictionary, adulting is the act of doing "grown up things and holding responsibilities such as a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups." It seems that there is one correct way to be an adult, and all of us recent college graduates are expected to conform to it.
When I was younger, my view of an adult was a little different. Adults had cars. Adults had money. Adults knew right from wrong and made important decisions; they made the best decisions. Adults had jobs. Adults could wear what they like, sleep when they like, and do what they like without asking their moms. They could reach things on the high shelves in the kitchen. Adults had knowledge, and you could trust them.
As I started to grow up, my views on what an adult was changed. I learned that everyone makes mistakes, regardless of what age you are. Each adult's view on what is right and wrong varies. I learned that adults still call their moms, too, because moms are a special kind of adult that can make you feel better when nothing else can. The older I grew, the older the age of true "adulthood" became. Most importantly, I learned that there is not a guidebook that tells you how to successfully adult; that decisions are not black and white, but very multifaceted and difficult to make, and not all adults have your best interests at heart.
During my time in college, I began to think of adults differently. Adults were predictable. Their lives were efficient; their personalities practical. They sat at a desk and worked 9-5 jobs, got married and had kids. They paid mortgages and constantly complained about taxes. Adults frowned, a lot, and adults didn't have time for fun.
I'm not the 9-5 type of person. Working at a desk day in and day out makes me feel claustrophobic and staying in the same environment around the same people too long makes me feel trapped. I love to travel and my personality is spontaneous and unpredictable.
I'm about as far from the above definition of adult as can be.
I'm also 21 years old and have a college degree from a highly accredited University. Before I graduated, I received three full-time job offers; in July, I will move to Asheville to begin my first job in the "real world." I have an apartment, a car, and I pay my own phone bill. I know what I want from life, and I have a plan laid out on how to achieve it. I'm proud of the person I am today, and incredibly lucky to have people look up to me.
I'm pretty sure I'm an adult.
I'm living a life that I've chosen. No one is dictating where I go from here or how to proceed in the future. I make my choices, and I learn from each situation life places me in.
Adulting doesn't mean working a 9-5 and being serious all the time. The essence of adulting lies in embracing the freedom of making your own decisions and pursuing a path in life that allows you to achieve your goals. It is the freedom to be who you are and to love the life you live.
If that means taking a few months off and traveling the world, so be it. Start your own business, volunteer at a nonprofit, live at home with your parents, or don't. If 9-5 is what you want, then go for it. Adulting is anything and everything that you want it to mean, as long as you recognize these are your decisions. Adulting means taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions, and humbly taking pride in your achievements.
Adulting is realizing that these are all your choices to make.
Being an adult means that in this game of life, it's finally your turn to play, and from now on, it always will be.
It means you have the power to be who you want, how you want, when you want. Your life is in your control.
I guess being an adult isn't so bad after all.