“Growing up is never easy. We think it happens when you reach a certain age, accomplish a goal, acquire a house, or reach a milestone, but it doesn’t stop.”Ranjani Rao
Being a grown-up isn’t easy. There’s always something that you need to do or think about. You have to face challenges, overcome them, manage daily responsibilities, and practice some form of self-care.
Learning a new skill might involve enrolling in a course, watching an online tutorial, reading a self-help book, or seeking guidance from a mentor, but when it comes to learning how to be an adult, where do you turn?
In this blog post, we’ll define adulthood, explore the common struggles adults face, and offer practical tips for embracing adulthood and accepting adult responsibilities.
Understanding Adulthood: What Does it Mean to be a Grown-up?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an adult as “one that has arrived at full development or maturity, especially in size, strength, or intellectual capacity” or “a person who has reached an age specified by law“. These definitions are limited and do not capture the nuances of being an adult, therefore it’s best to refer to the definition of “adulting”.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines adulting as “The action or process of becoming, being, or behaving as an adult…the carrying out of the mundane or everyday tasks that are a necessary part of adult life.” This definition is better suited because it reflects the responsibilities that come with being a grown-up. These everyday tasks include managing your finances, making good career choices, maintaining personal relationships, and practising self-care. While these obligations may seem onerous, each one is crucial for your personal growth and fulfilment.
The Common Struggles Faced in Adulthood
Adulthood comes with its fair share of challenges. Let’s reflect on some of these struggles and how to navigate them.
As adults, we often experience the overwhelming feeling of having too many responsibilities to handle. It can be challenging to know where to begin and how to lighten the load. This feeling of being overwhelmed is common and often many adults don’t know how to overcome it.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” Dealing with uncertainty and making life-altering decisions is tough. When we have to deal with too much change and make too many decisions, we may feel lost, exhausted, and suffer from decision fatigue.
Our lives are more on display than ever thanks to social media. We have to cope with the pressure to meet societal expectations on many levels.
As humans, we need social connections, regardless of our age. It’s often more difficult to make new friends and build meaningful relationships as an adult. That’s because we have access to fewer social circles than we did in childhood and adolescence.
These struggles are a normal part of being a grown-up and are all a part of the growth process. As you face each challenge, you’ll get valuable experience on how to navigate life and grow as a person.
Practical Tips on Embracing Adulthood and Accepting Adult Responsibilities
If you feel nervous about embracing adulthood and tackling adult responsibilities, here are five practical tips to help you build an adult life that you enjoy.
1. Know yourself
A significant part of being a successful adult is knowing yourself. You need to understand who you are and what makes you tick. Take the time to develop your self-awareness and understand your personal values and goals. As Lao Tzu said, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.”
2. Manage yourself
Two of the best life skills that you can build are time management and organisational skills. When you learn to manage yourself and your commitments, you’re able to enjoy adulthood more. You’ll be able to manage different areas of your life without feeling overwhelmed and make time for the things that matter to you.
3. Build a support network
As adults, we all need a support system. You need a few genuine people who you can depend on and who can depend on you in good and bad times. Focus on building a support network with mentors, friends, family, or therapists that you trust.
4. Embrace growth
We experience many failures during adulthood. You can either dwell on these losses or you can use them as stepping stones for self-improvement. When you do the latter, you’ve adopted a growth mindset. With this mindset, you learn important lessons from your experiences and actively look for opportunities for growth in your personal and professional lives.
5. Prioritise self-care
As adults, we spend a lot of time rushing around spending our energy on everyone else. To build a balanced life, it’s essential to slow down and take care of yourself as a grown-up. Take time to build a self-care routine that you love and remember to include a healthy work-life balance.
Embracing adulthood isn’t always easy. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in facing these challenges. Make a conscious effort to be kind to yourself and others when these struggles come along. By understanding what it means to be an adult, acknowledging the struggles and emotions that come with it, and using practical tips, you can navigate this journey with resilience.