Congrats, you did it!
You put four years into earning your degree, and after graduation, you landed yourself a job! Now you’re an adult. Fast forward a bit, and you’ve gotten yourself a new, higher paying job, still in your field, with more responsibility. You were able to get some money together and moved out. Now you’re REALLY an adult. A few years pass. You have your name and fancy title on business cards; you do grownup things like putting part of your paycheck into a savings account for emergencies, contributing to your IRA account and you got married! You’re at the age where it’s totally acceptable to have a baby human of your own, a terrifying thought and one maybe you’ve even had. Seriously, you’re a bonafide adult human.
But if you’re anything like me, you also may wake up in the morning and ask yourself “where is this adult the world sees?”
I’m now eight years into working full-time in the field in which I majored. I’ve moved up to a top position and make *decent* money. I was lucky to have landed a job out of college and even luckier to have found something that allowed me some financial freedom. I’m lucky. Yet I can’t shake the feeling I fell into this luck, without knowing who I was and what I wanted. Maybe it’s because of luck that almost nine years after the first time I thought I was an adult, I’m just now asking myself “Is this really what I want to be doing?”
I thought there would be an “a-ha!” moment when I actually became an adult. Or at least when I felt like one.
I didn’t get that moment, not for years. Not when I bought my first car, or when I signed the contract for my first full-time job. Not even when I got married. I thought I was doing everything right, by the book. Go to school, find a major, get a job in said major, move up in the world. Your job is important, defining. You spend the majority of your life there, better make it count. Right?
My “a-ha” moment came just recently while talking to a friend over drinks. We were discussing how I’ve become burnt out at my job and didn’t know what my next step was. I just knew I didn’t have the passion for my field that I once did over ten years ago when I decided on a major in college. But what now? I’ve spent my whole “adult” life doing this, how can I just change now? She simply asked me “What did you want to be when you were a kid?” It was something so simple and a thought I’ve never had before.
I’ve never once considered my silly 12-year-old self would have any greater insight to my own self-actualization than my fully grown, adult self would. I wanted to write. And I still do. The minute the words came out, it was like a light turned on. I had direction, a goal. Maybe I’ve been an adult all along, just wasn’t doing what I wanted to be doing with my adult life. Maybe not quite knowing who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do is what kept me from claiming that elusive title of “adult.”
The less risk, the better. Right?
Since realizing what my childhood self always knew, and I forgot, I’ve got a whole new direction I can take my adult life. I’ve always tried to make the most sensible and secure choices when it came to my career. The less risk, the better. That way of living, lead me to become complacent and too comfortable in my position (and not in that cozy warm blanket kind of way), even if it wasn’t right for me. Changing the path you’ve worked your whole adult life on, is a huge risk. I’m ready to take those risks, make mistakes and be the “adult” I want to be.
I’m beyond excited!
By no means do I have it all figured out (maybe I never fully will), but I feel that taking this chance on my 12-year-old self is more rewarding than staying in a job that no longer makes me feel like I’m on the right path. I may not know what being adult really means (besides just because you CAN have dessert for breakfast, doesn’t mean you SHOULD) and that’s ok. I may find out I’m crappy at this and have to figure myself out all over again, but I’m okay with that too. Maybe there isn’t just one “a-ha!” moment for being “all grown up,” maybe I get a series of “a-ha!” moments and being an adult is just evolving and changing around those moments. Whatever the case may be, I can’t wait to get to it.