Let me preface this by acknowledging the fact that I am only 21 and that I've barely started my adult life. I anticipate making many more mistakes in the future that will serve as valuable life lessons later on. If you're older than me and have ever listened to/read about me talking about things I'm dealing with, you may or may not have thought to yourself "honey, you've got a big storm coming" and that is a valid thought.

With that being said, please don't assume that I'm totally helpless.

It's incredibly normal to look at a person who is younger than you and feel like a wizened advisor due to the fact that you have more life experience than them. Perhaps they are in the midst of a mistake they made that you also once made and reminisce on how stressful it was. I will admit that I think about this quite often when it comes to people who are younger than me.

However, it is never fair to undermine what someone else is dealing with. Just because you have "been there, done that" doesn't mean you can chime in with "oh, you'll get over it" or "you think THAT'S bad?" Younger adults are navigating the world of bills, taxes, rental contracts, careers, and more for the very first time. When the responsibilities start piling up and they have yet to develop a way to manage everything, it is extremely unhelpful to chide them on every little move they make that you deem illogical.

We're only two weeks into fall term, but I'm already starting to feel swamped between school, work, extracurriculars, maintaining some semblance of a social life, etc. I'm up for the challenge, but I can't say I appreciate hearing myself being patronized in this way when I'm running on four hours of sleep for an 18 hour day. Even if I was really productive and didn't procrastinate that day, sometimes 24 hours just isn't enough.

Growing up, I was told that I was very mature for my age and I think I subconsciously hold myself up to this standard from an outside perspective. I pride myself on trying to be a responsible adult and tend to feel a lot of self-pressure if I'm falling behind. When I have the opportunity to relax and act my actual age, it's like this huge weight is taken off my shoulders even if it's just for a few hours.

In short, all I really want to emphasize is that you were once that younger age too. Don't force others to grow up fast; there's more to life than working and we all deserve a chance to let loose once in a while. No matter how old you are, embrace that age and don't be ashamed of it because you only get to experience it once.