This month, I will be turning 19. I am no longer an adult novice nor yet an expert to adulthood. It is a time where I get to enjoy the last few drops of childhood and say "Hello world, it's Pareena Sharma".
You will always be able to find me watching Disney princess movies, singing "Let It Go", and studying to the soundtrack of every Pixar movie. But, there is no hiding it; I have my own credit card, a job, a car and I no longer have to put Mister or Miss before the name of every adult I encounter.
I have inevitably transitioned a lot this year. So during this time of reflection, I would like to share what I have learned about adulthood during my first year of being an official 'adult'.
1. You gotta toughen up and start calling the shots
When you were a kid, most likely other people were making decisions for you: what to eat, when to sleep, maybe even what to wear. It is easy to forget that you are the one calling the shots now and just follow along with others. But when you are an adult you gotta make decisions for yourself. You have to remember that your opinions are of value and that you and your health come before all else.
2. Take initiative, but be mindful of other ideas
As much as you should learn to take initiative for yourself, you should also learn how to mindfully consider other ideas. Being a young adult can be empowering and sometimes this empowerment can turn into stubbornness. One great part of becoming an adult is that people are willing to listen to you, and with that comes the responsibility of listening to others. If you come across a disagreement, rather than being determined to prove the other side wrong, open your mind to all the possibilities.
3. Respect is earned by how you carry yourself
After reaching adulthood you may find that people respect and notice you more. It feels fantastic when other adults consider your input and presence for a change. But do not give all the credit to your age. As you get older, it is not just the number you have been assigned that deems you this new street cred. It is the experiences you have gained and the actions you present that convey that you have reached true adulthood. People respond to how you carry yourself. So, be confident but not conceited. Be humble but not dismissive.
4. Mistakes are a-okay
This is a lesson I keep learning again and again. Mistakes, as cringe-worthy as they are, are not the end of the world even as an adult. Growing up is a messy process and there is no final grade or evaluation to worry about failing. So, go out and don't be afraid to make mistakes, they are a part of life. In the words of John Green, "The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised of the millions of decisions, that when taken together, make your life yours. And everything- EVERYTHING - will be on it"
5. There is no end to adulthood
Unlike your childhood, adulthood is seemingly endless. There are millions of types of adults at different places in life with different responsibilities. You may or may not feel like a true adult right now but as you get older your duties and role in life will change and expand. So, don't try to grow up too fast unless you really have to. Being a child is a luxury and you have your whole life to perfect the whole 'adulting' thing.
6. Everyone is a child at heart
Truthfully nobody asks to become an adult, it is just something that happens. Adulthood is liberating and exciting but is also a lot more complicated than being 'just a kid'. You will find that it is hard to outgrow things like being silly for no good reason and irresponsibly eating pounds of sugar. So do not be worried if you find yourself indulging in the simple pleasures of your childhood.