Adulting: Three Things No One Tells You

Navigating the adult world is harder than I expected. How do I adapt to this new pace of life? Where do I start with my budget? What do people expect of me?

I became an adult at 22

Making the change from a young adult, aka still reliant on your parents, to a grown-up adult living on your own happens pretty quickly. This may come at different ages and stages of life for other people, but for me, I became an adult at 22 – three months after graduating college.

I will say I have been preparing slightly for this next step of my life. I knew I would have to pay my rent, figure out taxes, and be more responsible for myself, but I did no real preparation. I have quickly come to learn a few things no one told me about being an adult, but I am only going to hit my top three in this article. 

1. A Change of Pace

The first surprise that came up was the change of pace in my life. Before I was an adult, I was moving through my days very nonchalantly. For example –

  • If I woke up late for class I would consider using an excused absence and taking my time that morning instead of rushing to class.
  • If I had a slightly busier week I could ask for an extension on an upcoming deadline.
  • Even missing a shift at my on-campus job usually wasn’t a big deal and I could find a coworker to switch with me.  

I often only had 2-3 hours of class a day and then could spend the remainder however I’d like. I always had a dining hall I could stroll through for a quick lunch or snack and never had to think about what to eat. Little did I know that was not how my days would unfold moving forward.

No room for excuses in a real job

As an adult, the experience has been a little different… I know each day I have a responsibility to wake up and show up to work. There is no more room for excuses or delays in a real job.

Each morning, I have to make sure I wake up and get ready for the 8-hour workday ahead of me. Starting this routine was a shock to my body. I leave work at 5 and am completely exhausted with no motivation to do anything with my evening. This has started to dissolve, and I am feeling more energized when I get off, but it took my body about a month to adjust.

After work, I have a few hours to prepare dinner, work out, and relax before getting ready for the next day. Things started rocky, but now that I am accustomed to my new schedule it is nice having some routine and order. 

2. What is a Budget?

I need someone to send me a very detailed budget plan for a 22-year-old living in Nashville that has never paid rent or gone grocery shopping weekly

My next discovery was the idea of staying within a budget. People had told me about this one, but I was never given a solution. So when I started paying attention to my budget it was difficult to know where to start.

How do I begin to even come up with a budget? I tried googling this one, but the answers weren’t clear enough for me. I need someone to send me a very detailed budget plan for a 22-year-old living in Nashville that has never paid rent or gone grocery shopping weekly, I have tried downloading apps that are budget focused, but there are weird mistakes on the app’s end that confuse me even more.

I have attempted a few times to create my budget to stick to but once I close that excel sheet I seem to forget about the whole thing. I am putting more time and energy this month into staying dedicated to my budget and being mindful of my spending. We will see how well it goes. 

3. Others’ Expectations

The last shock that came with making the transition into being a young adult was the expectations people have for you in your life. Upon graduating, the most asked questions were:

  • “So what’re you doing now?”
  • “Do you have a job lined up?”
  • “Do you plan on attending graduate school?”

I dreaded the thought of answering these questions so I constantly thought about what answers would satisfy the person asking. If the answer seemed to come up short, I felt compelled to defend myself more and explain why what I am doing is good enough.

For this experience, I have not found a solution, but the closest I have come is ending every response or explanation with “So we will see what happens” This often does not have the intended reaction, but it ends the conversation….which I have come to find was really the intention after all.

We Will See What Happens

If you find yourself making the transition into an adult and you happen across this article…I apologize for my lack of answers, but I can reassure you, you will most likely be fine.

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