Whoever claims to be an expert in adulthood and the real world is a liar.
Every moment you feel like you have everything together is often met with a moment of doubt, confusion, and what feels like utter chaos.
This doesn’t mean we should feel isolated in our struggles. In fact, it’s the ideal time to seek others’ insight and recognize the collective stumbling journey life truly is.
That’s why I’m beyond stoked and grateful for today’s guest post about adulthood and the real world. These words come from the lovely Kia Tucker, a new friend who reached out to me about guest writing today. And BOY am I glad she did! She’s such a genuinely beautiful person, but I’ll let her introduce herself and get this party rolling.
welcome to adulthood.
When I was in college my least favorite thing to hear from people was any phrase that contained “the real world.” I’m sure a very good percentage of college-aged kids can say that they, too, have heard this.
Typically I would hear this phrase in a way that sounded like, “Hey, whatever you’re experiencing now isn’t real life. Actually, it doesn’t mean anything at all. Oh, but when you do experience the ‘real world,’ you will die. Because you don’t know anything. End of discussion.”
Honestly, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! I’m a little dramatic, I’ll admit. My point is that most “advice” on adulthood and the real world is very discouraging. If anything, talk like this often pushes kids further away from understanding what it means to be an adult.
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging here. I’m writing this for one reason: to share with people the secret to adulthood and the real world. Yes, that’s right. There’s a secret and I have it. In the year and a half that I have distanced myself from college, I have gathered a bit of wisdom that’s condensed into a few pointers.
avoid critical outside influences.
It’s easier said than done to stop listening to people who make you feel like there’s something wrong with you and your future aspirations.
Even now, I catch myself thinking about something someone said to me when I was nineteen and my little heart cringes. I wonder if it’s true. Is there something I should be doing differently? Is there something I should change about myself? The answer to all of these questions is NO.
Let’s not get crazy here. We should take into account constructive criticism that’s tossed our way. Sound confusing? Don’t let it! The key word is constructive. All too often, I take on what people say and think that who I am isn’t okay. That isn’t cool.
Criticism isn’t about changing who we are or the path that we are on if we are truly walking in a direction that points to a desirable destination. If you’re walking a path that leads toward a destination you believe in and are passionate about, don’t let anyone change that for you. If someone calls you out, and you can’t stop thinking about what they’re saying because that destination you’re walking toward isn’t appealing, CHANGE DIRECTIONS.
allow yourself to learn on your own.
As we decide which path we would like to be on, it’s totally cool to do some soul searching on your own. In fact, I encourage it. This does not mean cutting everyone out of your life and not taking into account that constructive criticism, about which we were just chatting. What this does mean is learning how to draw healthy boundaries.
Doesn’t that sound swell? It is, let me tell you. A great way to thrive in this life is by creating healthy boundaries and living within them. That way, you have a safe space to learn and make your own mistakes.
When people come along that push those boundaries or test them, CUT THEM OUT. It sounds negative but really, we are like plants, and those people need to be pruned from our life to encourage beautiful growth in other areas within those awesome boundaries we have drawn. These boundaries can look however we decide we want our life to look.
find your anchor.
Those boundaries that I was talking up before, they need something to stand on. A foundation. Really, what I would like to know is, do you know who you are? If you are confident enough to say yes, great. If not, that’s great as well. Why? Well, because we are ALWAYS LEARNING.
Please don’t think that you know who you are and never change. Give me a break! Did you not change as you navigated college or even shortly thereafter as you pursued post-student life? That’s what I thought. A part of knowing who you are is accepting the fact that you are always growing. Be open to that growth but also be aware that we can lose a big chance to grow when we don’t know what it is we believe in or what we stand for.
Personally, I have to say that I am a big fan of Jesus. My faith is my foundation and that determines a lot of the boundaries I have set in my life and I am still learning. Another big part of my foundation are the super cool people I surround myself with. Yes, I’m adding in a bit of a contradiction. Cut people out but also include people in your life.
support each other and grant each other space.
A part of knowing who you are is knowing how to treat people well. This point is an instruction, but it should also apply it to the people in your life.
Support is huge. When you get to know someone, don’t question what it is they are trying to do in life, unless their whole goal is destructive and hurtful to others (ie robbing banks, punching people in the nose, etc.). Just like you wouldn’t want people asking you all the questions in the world about your goals, because you probably don’t have the answer, don’t do it to other people.
Be supportive. Listen to what people are doing and if you want to get to know them better, inquire about their passion and what they like about what they’re doing. I don’t want to give a lesson on how to be a decent human, so I won’t go on. When you don’t have an answer, or someone you’re getting to know doesn’t have one, space is necessary to figure it out. Nobody needs anyone breathing down their neck about having answers and knowing it all.
Chill out. As I said, these need to be a few requirements for the people you have in your life. Find people that understand your passion, celebrate it with you, and give you space you may need to find answers you’re still looking for.
rely upon spiritual wisdom.
Spiritual wisdom isn’t about being able to tell the future but rather knowing what it is you want to do next.
Whoa. What a piece of true wisdom. Don’t worry, I’m not a genius; I read this somewhere, I don’t remember where, but how true of a statement!
As hard as we may try, we will never be able to predict the future and we will never have all the answers about our future either. All we can do is focus on what we are doing now and plan for what we want to do next.
Something I have become way more skilled at (I’m still a novice, let’s be real) is planning. This is something I used to despise, but have gotten so much better. My mom would surely pass out if she ever heard me say this out loud, but it’s a valuable and necessary skill. It’s a big part of being an adult. What we should always remember is that we can plan what’s next but we shouldn’t try to plan the future. It just can’t be predicted. So, my friends, let’s get spiritually wise, shall we?
As I wrap this up, I’ll leave you with the secret to adulthood in one sentence: THERE IS NO SECRET. Don’t let anyone tell you there is. There are only pointers that people can give you, but most of all, there is only the space that you allow yourself to navigate.
My theory is that, as you get older, fewer people will question what it is you are doing with your life and that creates the illusion of adulthood. The coolest thing, however, is that you get to give your own pointers and come up with your own theory.
So, with that, let me formally welcome you to adulthood.
What advice would you give to someone entering adulthood and the “real world”? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie