The other day I was picking up some glasses from Vision Express, and after bringing up my profile, the lady serving me told me I looked “really good for my age!” She guessed “17 or 18?”, and when I scoffed, she asked me if that was something I got often. While I do often get mistaken for younger (especially at work, people are often surprised to learn I have 6 years of experience), I scoffed not due to the guess of my age, but actually due to the “for my age” comment. Like damn, is 27 enough to cause shock these days?!
For a little while, and especially when I turned 25, I found it hard to accept my age. I remembered the days of being the youngest in the room with the least expectations, and envied those stepping into that new spot. However, as time passed, it’s stopped having as much of an effect on me. I learned to appreciate all that these accumulating years have taught and brought me, and actually look forward to exciting times upcoming as I get even older – from building a family, to building a “forever” home, to continuing to work to excel at the things I am focussed on.
Another thing I have come to welcome with partly open arms is the idea of “adulting”. In fact, I think I am “adult” enough now to officially drop the outdated term. Again, for a very long time, I struggled to accept that I was indeed an adult, under no responsibility to my parents. Since I graduated at 21, I have funded my entire life myself, have lived by myself, and done everything that falls under the guise of being an “adult”. Whilst that felt hard to come to terms with at 21, 22, 23, by the time I was reaching my mid 20s onwards, the concept of so called “adulting”, growing up and having responsibilities, started to feel less daunting and more like a reality, even if it had been a reality for many years already.
As time goes on, whilst I appreciate where life has brought me so far, I can never help but moan at times about how… life is hard. At the crux of it, life is hard for everyone right now – the cost of living is through the roof, markets have gone to shit in 2022, in many countries the political system is crumbling, and as advanced and free thinking that we view the modern world, wars and invasions are happening in 2022.
But actually, being a so called adult, and life moving on further from the days of school, is also tough. In school, each year has a defined goal, and more often than not it’s grades related. Once work first starts, we also all tend to track along a similar path if we go in grad/entry level roles in corporate spaces. But things change, and they change fast. Some people decide to spend months and years away from the work, and travel the world. Some strike gold with business ideas or investments, and dive down a different path. Some move industries, and have to step back in seniority or in pay. Or some thrive from the jump, and are heading up their own teams before they even reach 30. It’s certainly not linear.
Friendship groups change. From primary school, through to secondary school and up to university, it sometimes feels as though you are constantly accumulating friends. Those that do drop off along the way, are often quickly replaced with those you have met in the next stages of your life. Once you leave these defined stages, whilst you never stop meeting people and forming connections, it’s easy that some friendships ending naturally, are never covered on the other end. It’s not a bad thing per se – friendship group/friends become closer knit, and those that you have in your life are often truly important.
There is no “right choice”, no right answer in the battle between – “stay at home and save for a home because rent is paying off some rich person’s mortgage”, vs. “move out and rent and live your best life as early as you can”. There really is no clear answer between – “stay in the corporate world and rise up to be the boss”, or… “make the leap and quit your job to go full steam ahead with your own business, maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t”. There’s 2 sides to every coin, but who’s to say what the right way to live your life is?
And perhaps that is where the beauty of it all comes in. Indeed, life is tough. But there is also so much empowerment in getting older and growing into making your own choices and deciding your own destiny. There is something in choosing your own path, believing in yourself, and if all goes to plan – reaping those rewards. There is no set path as we had in school, but there’s also nothing like the freedom in “adulthood” compared to when you are going through your school years. And with that – personal choices, life experiences, meeting new people and making new memories – comes growth and confidence. I don’t think I have ever grown as much in any stage of my life than I have since my 20s, from 25 onwards in particular!
So I do sigh often and exclaim that life IS tough. And indeed, it’s all relative, but any way you look at it – this shit is tough. Mostly mentally. However, the concept of growing older and into adulthood is not all bad. Actually… life is often pretty good.
Have a good week people (what’s left of it, anyway!)