There is something strangely uncertain about entering adulthood.
If you are anything like me, you have experienced a sheltered existence up until this point, where money is always plentiful, opportunities do not run scarce and support from friends and family is unrelenting.
Entering the world in your early 20’s is an inherently personal experience. To put it bluntly, it’s a game changer.
As a young woman in my very, very early 20’s, I offer my knowledge and experience to any young man or woman on the cusp of adulthood. I hope my cathartic writing can be of some assistance.
1. Extravagant purchases are okay.
You do not have to justify spending money to anyone.
For me, it was a pair of Tiffany & Co earrings. Something that I wanted for so long, but could never justify the price tag. After purchasing the iconic pair of 925 love-hearts during a particularly difficult stage in my life, they represented so much more. The earings that I ‘um and ahhhhed’ about for so long, became a symbol of strength, resilience and reinforced an attitude of…
“You are an adult. You work for your money. Purchase whatever you want and can afford whilst you’re young. At this point in time, you don’t have a mortgage, kids or larger financial responsibilities. Go for it.“
What someone chooses to spend their hard-worked money for is no ones business. What may seem vain to one, could signify something completely different to another.
2. It is not what you know, it is who you know.
I grew up with my mother preaching this. I on the other hand would roll my eyes in defence of my idealistic world and its values. She was right (please don’t tell her that). Networking is fundamental part of the formula to success in the professional realm. Selling yourself, your values and pursuading someone to invest in your potential will usually get you further than your raw talent and skills.
3. Travel the world whilst you still can.
There is no better time in life. You can claim student fairs and generally speaking, there
isn’t much holding you back. Travelling can have this profound effect on who you are and how you see yourself, especially in your 20’s.
One of the best experiences I have had is unplanned travelling interstate with my best friend to celebrate my impending 20th birthday. This trip has been a catalyst for us booking a #yoloeurotrip2k16.
4. You are responsible for your wellbeing.
No longer can you classify those extra kilograms as baby fat. Nope. That is real, adult fat. Health and general wellbeing means so much more than your weight. Striving to be a better person internally and externally is something one should take pride in.
5. No one, really, truly has their shit together. No-one.
It is all an illusion. The way people quantify themselves on the internet is but a curation of images to represent an ideal world. We all want to be our own brand, be successful and known. In truth, we are all battling our own demons. We are all scarred and have our own individual stories that rarely make it into the public realm.
6. Rearing a child is not glamorous.
What you realise as an adult is that raising a child puts you in a fiduciary relationship. The needs of the child always come first. Children will cry, poop, vomit and everything else in between. Child rearing is so much more than just cute mini-people outfits, snapping up images for social media, gloating about how genetically blessed your creation is and trying to make yourself seem like a glamorous soccer mum.
Disclaimer: I do not have a child; I purely learn through observation.
7. Insecurity breeds hate.
Confident women do not hate. I can’t really speak for confident men, never been one.
8. The mark of a true adult is never seeing another as an inferior.
Maturity is being able to look at another human irrespective of their social status or assets and acknowledging them fundamentally as fellow human beings. You come to learn that money comes and goes and what you are left with is a value system that has accumulated through life experience. If you are still unable to see a homeless person, a refugee or struggling human being as a mother, father, brother, lover or child – keep growing my friend.
9. People can be excruciatingly vain.
You start to realise this when your appearance has changed significantly. When makeup and a few extra kilograms is the difference between you having to stand on the bus or repetitively offering you a seat, there is a problem. After experiencing a few similar events, you become hyper aware of the difference external beauty can have on your day to day life.
10. Unconscious bias is a thing.
If conscious bias is prevalent and on the national and international agenda, then unconscious bias is an immeasurable and inherent problem in our world. It is shameful that we live in an age where the gender pay gap puts women at a significant disadvantage during their working life and retirement. The fact that within Australian politics there is still robust debate about this state of affairs is concerning. Not because we have not reformed the current situation, but because there are still people who believe that this reform should not occur. We unconsciously discriminate against fellow men or women on the basis of gender, race, religious belief, political persuasion, sexuality and/or identity in the professional and social sphere. This is an unfortunate reality that the adulthood teaches.
11. Clinging onto what could have been is a waste of time, effort and potential.
Relationships, professional life, lost experiences.