Growing up is a scary thing. When leaving adolescence and entering adulthood, you may feel anxious, scared, alone, and confused. These are all very common emotions people may feel when faced with the challenge of growing up. Gone are the days where your only responsibilities included getting on the bus and going to school. In this next phase of life, you are met with bills, making your own doctors appointments, taking care of yourself, and managing your finances.
For me, my real step into adulthood began in my early years of high school when I began working my first job at the local bagel store. Suddenly, I was not only responsible for going to high school and going to field hockey practices, I also had to dedicate my weekends to working. Working in high school taught me a lot about various key adult skills: time management, job commitment, and the beginnings of personal finances. I was forced to get better with my tendency to procrastinate, and finish my homework before the weekend. I also was forced to face my terrible shopping addiction and stop carelessly spending so much on clothes and accessories, as I now was in charge of building up my own savings fund for college. While it was not a huge step, for me, working had allowed me to become a more responsible person.
The proper initiation I had into adulthood did not occur until I got to college. Now, I was truly on my own. Though the commute back home was only about an hour (perks of going to college in NYC and being from NJ), I no longer had my biggest support system- my mom- around me and accessible at all times. Gone were the days of having mom take care of me while I was sick and not having to worry about what I was going to have for dinner. Now I had to make my doctor appointments and make soup for myself on sick days. I could no longer walk down to my kitchen and fix myself a plate to eat, now I had to go to my dining hall or cook my own meals. Having to move into a dorm room with two strangers taught me quite a lot. I understood the importance of communication and teamwork. My first few semesters at college taught me a lot on the importance of self-care and maintaining personal wellbeing, as now I was responsible for taking care of myself. It was definitely a time of learning and trying out various things and seeing what worked and what didn’t.
Adulthood comes with freedom, except the very freedom can feel like a double edged sword. You can literally do whatever you want, but you are also responsible for the consequences of your actions. Yes, you could now eat pancakes three times a day if you wanted to, but you also have to deal with the fact that eating pancakes three times a day is not a sustainable food plan for yourself. Your body needs fruits, vegetables, proteins, and nutrients- and it is up to you to provide them.
All the choices you are faced with in adulthood can be overwhelming. Many of us also struggle to make good choices for ourselves, as we mostly had the choices made for us growing up. Career goals, relationships, anxiety, and depression are just a few of the things we as adults must grapple with. But, it does not have to be a lonely and fearful time; having a therapist could drastically help alleviate some of the stresses and help build up confidence in yourself and the decisions you make.
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An experienced counselor specializing in Adult Counseling can help.