Written By Aspen S., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series
Adulting. It’s one of life’s necessary evils that many millennials like myself were hoping to hold out for as long as possible. But now that I am in my first salary-paying job and I have real bills, I think it is safe to say that adulthood has found me for real this time. While I often joke that this adult situation is really for the birds, I’ve recently taken some time to think about the other and significantly less expensive aspects of adulthood.
- Making friends is kind of hard. I am blessed to be living in an area where I already have a well-connected social network but I have quickly learned that this is somewhat unusual. Since I am one of the newer people to join my work environment, I spend a lot of time with the other new people and they often tell me that making new friends is very difficult, especially ones outside of the work environment. At first I was like “just talk to people!” but that’s much easier said than done and as an introvert, I of all people should have understood that. So clearly, I really dropped the ball on validating their experience as a friend but it got me thinking about how I have formed friendships in the past. As I ran through my mental contact list one thing became clear, I became friends with people through school — classes, leadership opportunities, and on-campus employment. So, my peers were definitely right. Making friends is indeed quite hard and as someone who is from the DMV, my new mission is to try my best to be a better connector amongst people. Adulting is hard enough so nobody should have to go through it alone.
- But maybe some alone time is great. The idea of expanding social networks actually brings me to the second realization that I had about my own personal journey through adulthood. As I mentioned, I have quite a bit of friends in this area who I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with. I also grew up in a household of seven. I then went off to college and then to graduate school where I always had roommates. Now, I primarily live alone (my best friend stays over some times to avoid work traffic) in a two bedroom apartment. At first I was very afraid that the sheer silence would make me feel lonely and drive me to a bad place mentally. However, I really enjoy being alone. As I’m sure many of you can tell by now I am a very reflective person and although I can turn my extrovert on I am truly an introvert at heart. So, I always enjoy when I am visited by friends and family, especially those traveling far and wide to visit me (shoutout my Florida friends!) but I also love being able to close my door at the end of the day and sink into my bed without a care in the world. I like being able to store 100 beets in my refrigerator without anyone judging me and make smoothies at 9 am OR 9 pm without feeling like I will disturb anyone. I can return as late as I want without telling anyone where I’m going or with whom. Overall, I feel a sense of liberation that I have yet to feel in almost 25 years and so that is what I associate with adulthood more than anything else.
- Adults can have fun too. And the last thing that I’ve learned so far about this whole adulting endeavor is that adults deserve to have a good time too. Although I work a lot and never have money because I’m still paying emergency surgery bills and credit card bills that accumulated throughout grad school, I still need to make time for fun. I don’t have to rush to pay bills if it means that I will have no spending money to go out to dinner or the movies every so often with friends. I am grateful for my friends, especially those approaching or in their thirties who constantly encourage me to take time for myself and pursue opportunities to travel or do things that will bring joy into my life.
If I’ve learned anything about this whole adulthood situation so far, it’s that it requires balance. Things that were once so easily or accessible or never a concern are at the forefront of our experiences now. We make memes that describe adulthood like it is a bogey man that you should keep running from without looking back. But like most things, I’m learning that it is yet another venue for personal growth and just another new set of challenges that I know I can navigate if I just give it my best energy, take it one step at a time, and lend myself a little grace when I inevitably mess something up.
– Aspen S., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series