Give Yourself Time to Grow

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Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash

Dear whoever needs to hear this:

My cousin is at the time of her life where she is being bombarded with messages regarding college and majors and her plans for her future. Being pressured into knowing what you’re going to do for the rest of your life while you still need to raise your hand for permission to use the bathroom throws a lot of stress — to put it lightly — onto a young person’s shoulders.

Hey, this is how you travel the path into adulthood, right? Once you figure out this part in life, you’ll be an adult who knows what to do.

But here’s a secret. No adult truly knows what they are doing.

Remember being a child and your parents always had the answers? Perhaps you rebelled a bit as a teen, believing you knew better, but even after a couple of years you realized that there was no better feeling than being able to turn to an adult you trusted to know what to do. Maybe you even believed that you would magically know the answers after high school, that there would be a switch in your brain that flipped at a certain age to become a certified adult.

Unfortunately, that does not happen. It would be great if it did, but since it does not, know that the other adults around you that seem like they have their shit together do not. Not all the time, anyway.

That includes the teachers and counselors grilling you about college and universities. Keep in mind that these supposed adults do have your best interests in mind. They want you to succeed, they wish to help you with well-meaning advice. At this point in their lives, having a plan makes sense to them because they have already had the time to explore who they are.

You need to take time to explore who you are, too. True, figuring out who you are is a never-ending journey. The adults you are talking to may forget what a fragile time it is for you. They may have forgotten what it was like to try out different skills and hobbies before finding the one that makes your soul sing. Or they may remember feeling as lost as you may be now and want to help push you towards a goal, even if you don’t know what your goals are just yet.

Despite all of the pressure to figure out your future right now, please remember to take a deep breath and realize that you have time. You will always have time to cultivate your interests, what path you ultimately want to tread.

Being an adult is the result of experiences, not age. Go to college and pick a major that sounds interesting to you. If you find it’s not what you want to do, switch majors. Learn that a failing grade on a test is not the end of the world. Take a new language. Meet people from backgrounds different from yours. Learn that the world is made up of people with so many differences that it’s beautiful rather than overwhelming. Don’t go to college and take a year working odd jobs and developing skills.

You do not need to figure out everything for your life right after high school. The majority of people don’t even have everything figured out in their 20s. Kudos to those who do have a life plan and are actively following it, but it’s okay for everyone else who is still trying to see where they are going.

Adulting will come naturally in time as you learn to experience the world around you.

Sincerely,

Someone who is still learning how to adult

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