How To Adult: A Twenty-Something Survival Guide


I'd call myself a wanderer, a weirdo, a writer, a wino - but when it comes to calling myself a woman, I still stumble over the syllables - the word tastes foreign on my tongue.

From childhood, a fascinating picture is painted of what it means to be an adult. Bill paying, most often married, working a 9-5. In plain, you’ve got it all together - not just on the outside but the inside, too. Most are simple checkbox criteria. God forbid you're a poor, single, freelancer. (Spoiler alert: in reality, you'll probably know more adults who fall under the latter description.)

Let's go back to the most damaging element of this picture. Our young minds are molded to believe that once you're an adult, you'll have it all figured out.

We're never told that no matter how old you grow, you'll never be one hundred percent sure of yourself. Brittany Spears was trying to warn of us of this confusion since the Crossroads hit, 'I'm not a Girl Not Yet a Woman' - sorry, it took me so long to get on board with the quarter-life crisis, B.

Hitting the Hurdles

By definition, once you hit 18, you've made it to adulthood. But as a fresh and free twentysomething, our brains are battling between our need for spontaneity and stability all the same. For freedom and for faithfulness. We're searching for the one and hoping to find ourselves along the way, too.

So now we've got twenty-somethings all over the world trying to navigate early adulthood feeling alone and lost. We’re wandering and wondering where to go next without realizing that we’re surrounded by a like-minded herd. Each waking hour is a shift of mentality, a new plan, a future fear. To be sure of yourself would be settling for sameness.

Each day is poised with confusion for me and the millions of other millennials fighting this flood. A constant state of questioning. Is this the best guy out there for me? Will this job lead me to a career dead end? And sometimes even worse, is this gluten-free?

Embracing the Unknown

There's a kind of beauty in this flood; a current pushing just strong enough to remind you you're alive. The frigid waters that can leave you feeling numb, but wash you clean each morning, ready to tread in whichever direction the current so chooses.

So maybe becoming an adult should be about the small victories. Like realizing that washing your hands after going to the bathroom isn't an optional activity or running a 5K BEFORE drinking fourteen mimosas at brunch, or maybe keeping your heels on all night instead of hobbling around the streets like Dobby and waking up with grime-covered feet in bed.

Being a twenty-something is about balance, a balance that's different for everyone. No one knows what they're doing, let that invigorate rather than isolate.

Stop comparing yourself to the imaginary person you thought you'd be when you were little. You were just a kid - what did you know anyway? Rest assured, you'll be saying that to yourself every day for the rest of your life.