The moment you first realize you’ve reached adulthood is full of mixed emotions. Excitement: for the future ahead and you’re newfound freedom. Fear: for what is unknown, what you will have to learn on your own, all the possibilities, both good and bad, in life. Sadness: for the childhood that went by too quickly and left you with more responsibilities than you ever imagined. And often, it seems like this new reality can hit you like a ton of bricks and when you least expect it. Sure, it may be when you head off to your first year of college. It may be when you have to deal with something that no one this young should. Or it may be having to fly on an airplane for the first time by yourself. You have so many lasts as you leave behind the teenage years you had come to known so well. Then you have a million firsts that come with entering your twenties. And when it finally hits you, you just can’t help but to wonder where all the time went. You may even think that nothing will compare to the fun times of your childhood. And yet the most rewarding part of becoming an adult is the growth you can achieve, the things you will learn, and the person you will become.
Leaving behind childhood and entering adulthood is a major step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is terrifying, there’s no other better way to put it. And yet it is beyond rewarding. It is how you can grow and become a better person. Life is all about growth and without it, we would feel unaccomplished, unhappy, and always wanting more in life. Whether stepping out of your comfort zone means being more confident, being more adventurous, meeting new people, or even something as simple as trying a new food, it can be the best life lessons to learn. It can lead to gaining qualities you never before had. You can become more cultured. You can gain perspectives you never had, which in turn can lead to the ability to connect with others. I can honestly say that the times I have felt the most uncomfortable, have been the times I have learned the most and gained the most confidence in myself.
For a long time, I tended to be a follower. I was afraid of finding my own path, going out on my own, and learning who I was as an individual. But as I have explored new experiences and great opportunities, I have discovered my own individualism, my values, and what I want to do with my life. I have built great friendships and met inspirational people who have showed me what I am capable of. Meeting those people who have already accomplished the same goals I have set for myself show me that I’m not dreaming too big or setting standards too high.
All of these awesome learning experiences have come with stepping into adulthood for me. As a teenager I thought I was well-rounded, smart, and ready to take on the world, and yet I lacked so many crucial life lessons. I had plenty of negative life lessons before I ever thought I would by 18 and they did teach me a lot but they also taught me that there is so much more in my life that I want. I hadn’t really seen first hand the positive life lessons that could truly lead to my growth. I just can’t get over how much I have grown as a person, even in the last year. I can now tell someone what matters to me and what goals I have for my life with confidence. I know I will be as great as my mentors and role models if I continue to work hard.
Going into adulthood is scary but becoming the person you want to be, and a person who you are happy with, is what makes it so rewarding and way less scary. Realizing you are an adult, and you are capable of making your own life decisions is so liberating. The things you learn will stick with you for the rest of your life. You learn independence. You learn strength. You learn compassion. You learn perseverance. You learn hard work. You learn modesty. You learn how to make mistakes and then use them to be better next time. You learn how to be you.