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Adulting 101

Hey - you're an adult now! Congratulations! You moved out on your own, out from under mom and dad's tyrannical rule, and now you can stay up all night, sleep all day, eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, leave the dishes in the sink, and throw your clothes all over the place without reprisal. Woohoo!! Party on!

After about a month of that, about the same time the ants and cockroaches start crawling all over your counters, your feet are sticking to the floor, and you have no clean clothes to wear, you may start to wonder if this Adulting thing is all it's cracked up to be. Maybe Mom and Dad aren't quite as dumb as they look for forcing you to do all those lousy chores all the time... hmmm...

I recently interviewed some of my adult children who have moved out about their adventures in Adulting. I asked them each four questions:

1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be?

2. What do you like and dislike about it?

3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting?

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Here's what they had to say about it:

Michael (age 28)


Being an Adult is way more fun than being a kid, but this is only because I refuse to live any other way. The biggest difference between being a kid and an adult is the delegation of responsibilities. We can choose to look at these responsibilities however we want, be it positive or negative. I look at them with a sense of opportunity: now I can call the shots. This gives me a sense of empowerment and I thoroughly enjoy calling my own shots.

My advice to young people is to be diligent in filling their heads with positive information. It is important to avoid the news, cut way back on social media politics and educate themselves on things that matter: math, science, history, English and any areas of internal interest. It is extremely important to listen to our inner voice and challenge ourselves to follow it. We all have paths we can choose to follow or ignore and this is where I believe the root of happiness and sorrow comes from.

Christina (age 27)

Headshot - Christina

1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be? It's so much harder than I thought it would be. I'm not sure why.... Maybe because I didn't have more of a natural progression like most of my friends where they moved out in college and then moved out for real on their own after college. For me, I moved out and was instantly the head of a household essentially. It was never about just worrying about myself. And unfortunately, a lot of new things happened all at once. I bought a car for the first time, moved to an apartment, bought a house, shopped and cooked entirely for myself for the first time, tried to figure out finances, moved across the country, became basically entirely in charge of my entire career and the income for 6 people, and had to attempt to make friends in a new place all within less than one year. It's not normal to have to do all those things in such a short amount of time so it really hit me hard. 2. What do you like and dislike about it? I love the freedom and many many opportunities to grow in ways that weren't possible otherwise. I dislike the insane amount of stress I sometimes experience that just didn't happen before having all these responsibilities. 3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting? Don't beat yourself up if you're having a really hard time. I did too. Don't lie to yourself and tell yourself everyone is doing this right and you're the only one struggling. Reach out to your friends and family for support. Don't worry if it feels traumatic, even. Making so many huge life changes at once can shock you so give yourself a break. 4. Anything else you’d like to add? While being an adult is very challenging, it's filled with so many incredible opportunities to grow and serve others that I'm very grateful for. I am learning to enjoy the challenges and look for the growth in everything. I also like to always give myself 100% of a pass the first time I do any new thing and not expect myself to nail it on the first try.

Katherine (age 25)


1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be?

Being an adult is both harder and easier than I thought it would be. I remember one of the first moments I felt the true weight of adulthood - I had moved out of my parents house and into my own apartment a few months prior, and one July night it hit me, “I am the breadwinner. No one is going to take care of me - I have to do it myself.” I probably cried for 2 hours, just overcome by fear of the unknown and doubting my own abilities.

Since that moment over 2 years ago, I have come a long way. I’ve learned how to grocery shop, budget, stay on top of my bills, save my money, meal plan, create and stick to a schedule, develop routines for personal growth, pursue a healthy lifestyle, and take care of myself. Being an adult brings me SO much joy. It’s the little moments of accomplishment that just make me feel so fulfilled and proud of myself! 2. What do you like and dislike about it?

What I love about being an adult: independence, freedom, making my own schedule, living life however I want to. Cooking my own food however I want, buying my own groceries and knowing they will still be there when I get home (unlike when I lived at home and all the “good” stuff would be gone quickly! Lol). Going to as many social gatherings and making plans with friends as much as I want without having to consult with parents!

What I don’t like about being an adult: The stress of paying bills and unexpected expenses that pop up that were NOT in the budget. The drudgery of maintaining a home, such as scheduling maintenance tasks and cleaning. The anxiety that comes with being faced with the fact that the future is NOW - I can’t blame anyone else for my circumstances. My life is in my hands, and if it isn’t a good one, that’s my fault. 3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting?

My first piece of advice is to learn about money. This is SO incredibly important and I can’t stress that enough. I didn’t start budgeting (at least in a disciplined way) until this year and that was a huge mistake. I spent years being stressed about money simply because I didn’t know how to handle it. I recommend checking out Dave Ramsey’s books because that’s what helped me get my start and they were easy to understand. I also like to watch YouTube videos on budgeting, meal planning and ways to save money. It’s cool to see people who are already doing it and see them excited about it - it inspires you!

My next piece of advice is to start learning self-care as soon as you can. This is also a life skill I didn’t really take seriously until this year. Self-care basically means giving yourself the space to rest and take care of yourself. That could mean a million things based on your personality and temperament but for me, self-care looks like taking the time to read and write, go on long walks, eat healthy, exercise, maintain relationships with positive people and have quiet time to be by myself, process my emotions and think.

4. Anything else you’d like to add? It’s easy as an adult to be like a kid in a candy store; you get so excited that you want to blow all your money and say yes to everything, stay up late every night and go out all the time. But soon enough, that lifestyle will catch up to you and all you’ll have is an empty wallet and dark circles under your eyes.

Lisa (age 24)


1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be? Definitely easier. The first few months were tricky when i was still learning everything but once i got a grip on how to pay bills, budget my money and improvise solutions when problems arise instead of leaning on someone else to handle it, it became pretty simple. It’s difficult at times but actually not as complicated as I like to make it, haha. 2. What do you like and dislike about it? I like the independence. I like having my own space and my own things. I like being in charge of myself and calling all the shots. I don’t like not seeing the rest of the family as often ‘cause we don’t live together anymore. I don’t like the stress that comes from being in charge and I don’t always enjoy being responsible for everything in my life but those are the prices you pay for freedom. But I still wanna see the rest of my family more often! 3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting? Decide you’re going to learn it and just commit to finding a solution to whatever issues may arise. Try to monitor yourself and see how many things you’re turning into stressful issues that actually don’t need to freak you out at all. Also don’t feel like you need to do anything the way other people are doing it. It’s easy to look to others for guidance when you’re overwhelmed or unsure and sometimes that turns out fine, but other times there are way better ways of doing things. Especially when it comes to spending your money, most people blow so much on food and entertainment that they could be saving, and they could come out way ahead just by ignoring the peer pressure to spend money the way the people around them are spending. 4. Anything else you’d like to add? Don’t let the “real world” intimidate you! You can learn anything on YouTube, you’re not the only one going through this (everyone grows up at some point) and it really doesn’t have to be as stressful as people let it become. Don’t let society take your childlike energy away just because they all lost theirs.

Amy (age 22)


1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be? I wouldn't say it's harder, but it's a lot more complicated. You have a lot of planning and a lot more responsibilities!!

2. What do you like and dislike about it?

I'd say the freedom and responsibility are a double edged sword; you are responsible for yourself legally so you don't have anyone telling you what to do, but you are responsible for yourself and have to actually learn how to take care of yourself and function on your own!

3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting? PREPARE. Take it seriously. The choices you make now can affect you for years and years to come, so do not take it lightly. Set yourself up to do well later in life.

4. Anything else you’d like to add? I'd say don't be afraid of being an adult. Sometime we have to wake up and say, "Wow, I have a lot to take care of!" and we have to confront our responsibilities and fears head on. YOU LEARN SO MUCH IF YOU OPEN YOUR MIND TO THE GROWTH.

Alex (age 21)

Headshot - Alex

1. Is being an adult harder or easier than you thought it would be?

EASIER. Watching Pops going through hell (from the aftermath of the crash of 2008) as a teen, made me think life would be mostly really hard. There are a lot of easy moments... probably because I don’t have dependents.

2. What do you like and dislike about it?

I like traveling. I like doing what i want and not having to ask permission. I like pushing myself and growing. I like doing better. I like managing my psyche better. I like stimulating conversation.

I dislike conversation with people who don’t put their heart in their life much at all. I dislike red tape. I dislike convention for its own sake.

3. What advice do you have for others who are new to adulting?

Connection is far and away the most meaningful thing I’ve experienced... look into it.

Figure out what three to five things you value most - what strikes true in your core - and build your life around those things. It’s okay if they change over time. For me, that means freedom, peace, engagement, and connection.

Feelings are the most volatile thing in the world. Most of them are meaningless and can be safely ignored. The key ones are meaningful - you feel angry because someone wronged you? Make your peace in whatever way you need to so that it doesn’t undermine you. You feel angry because of traffic? Let it go.

Think less about spending, more about saving, and mostly about earnings growth. Incredible wealth and value creation is in equity growth - the wealthiest people don’t usually have comparatively high incomes.

Are you adulting? How would you answer these questions? Leave a comment below, and let's compare notes. Happy Adulting!

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