Just because you can hold a fork and tie your shoes doesn't mean you a grown-up.
You are an adult, right? You can dress and feed yourself.
You can hold a fork and tie your shoes. You have a job, you can buy alcohol, you don't have to ask permission to go out at night.
So, in theory, you should be good to go.
But for many, it's not that easy.
Growing up is hard and scary and not just for children.
Many young adults find themselves facing the world feeling ill-equipped and confused.
The days turn to years, years to decades, and one day they realize they've spent their lives adrift in a world they don't really understand.
Putting yourself out into the world is scary, especially when we're not equipped to deal with it.
I was no different.
My 20's and early 30's were brutal.
I was an out-of-control mess who couldn't say no to a drink as I stumbled through life, trying desperately to get a handle on what it meant to be grown up.
But over the years, as I struggled, I began to form better habits.
As I did, I learned to embrace maturity.
Eventually, I realized I wasn't just surviving but actually thriving as a fully functioning adult.
I taught myself how to "Adult" by making one small change at a time.
So the good news is the things that make some people more "adult" than others are no secret.
They're behaviors you can learn and practice.
As you practice these behaviors, they'll become habits.
Then, one day, you will suddenly realize that you're all grown up!
And don't worry, you don't have to become boring or lose your edge. You can still be you, just a more advanced version.
It might not be easy if you're not adulting at an advanced level yet. That mean's nobody's taught you how to, so you're probably teaching yourself. In that case, don't be too hard on yourself if you mess up now and again. When that happens, just pick yourself up and soldier on.
Here are some ways to wade into the adult pool until you can swim.
Be on time
If you say you're going to meet someone at 7:00, show up at 7:00, maybe 6:55, but not 7:01, 7:02, or anything after that.
Making people wait is selfish and childish.
Children think the world revolves around them.
They see themselves as the center of everything. If this is how you operate, you're sending the message that you're immature.
If you are continually late, people may subconsciously see you as a child and not give you the respect you deserve.
Grown-ups know what time something starts and show up on time.
If you want to adult, you must follow through.
Think about how you feel if that friend who says they're going to help you move doesn't show up. Think about how it felt when your parents did this.
If this is how you respond to obligations, people won't respect you.
If you let someone down, they won't believe you the next time you say you'll do something. If you're totally self-centered, it might not occur to you that your actions have an effect on others, but they do.
If someone knows you're unreliable, you might be missing out on:
- job opportunities - nobody wants to vouch for someone irresponsible at their workplace
- relationship possibilities - who wants to set up someone like that with someone they care about?
- even friendships - reliable people value their time
So this might be holding you back more than you know.
If you don't follow through, eventually, even people who like you might start blowing you off.
If you're wondering if being reliable is really that big a deal - it is.
Here are some ways becoming more reliable can affect your life:
- Better karma: if you stop screwing people over, you'll probably get screwed over less
- People will be nicer to you: The people around you might stop being passive-aggressive because they won't be feeling disrespected constantly
- Better, longer-lasting relationships: Decent people might want to invest in you if they feel like you're doing the same
- Workplace props: If you're reliable at work, your boss will see that as added value, and you'll probably be rewarded
- You could raise your credit score: Staying on top of your bills has automatic benefits
- People will trust you: Did you ever wonder why you're never the guy holding the keys or doing any of the important stuff? It could be because they don't trust you. Reliability will change their preception
- Better self-esteem: You might not even be conscious of it, but if you're not reliable, you're going to feel like a loser and a f***-up most of the time. Following through on what you say can go a long way to reversing that inner programming
And all it takes is for you to just do what you say you're going to do when you say you'll do it.
Seriously, that's all.
Keep your cool
This is something I struggled with in my 20's.
I had anger issues, and these issues caused power struggles with my bosses.
I thought I was outspoken and strong, but I was actually just a loose cannon.
I was passed up for promotions and never made it into the inner circle anywhere I worked because people didn't feel safe around me.
It took a long time and a lot of hard work to get my anger under control and tame the beast, but it was worth it.
Developing impulse control in that area opened the door to taming some of my other more destructive impulses as well.
Part of becoming an adult is learning to tame those childish, out-of-control impulses and get a handle on your anger.
This is a tricky one. When you're young, you like to go out. Some people have jobs where socializing is a part of what they do.
Even if you "party" every night, that doesn't mean you have to get ripped every time.
I used to bartend, an occupation that's half-job half-party, so I understand the temptation all too well.
Keeping yourself under control in the age of digital immortality is critical.
If you post your exploits on social media, this might show that you don't have the foresight to think about your future. But caring about the future is an adult thing to do.
So be a grown-up, don't party so much, and absolutely don't post the crazy stuff on Social Media.
Overcome your social fears, even a little
This is a tough one.
I understand just how tough.
I hate socializing, and small talk exhausts me. I'm an introvert, empath, loner. I always have been.
But try to learn to work a room in your own way.
Being a grown-up means learning to advocate for yourself.
Doing this is essential because you are your own best spokesperson. Someday, if you have a child, you will need to advocate for them regularly.
Being the adult in the room means reaching out and making social connections, communicating, and overcoming shyness.
Communication isn't just about communicating your own needs though, it's also about hearing what others are saying.
Active listening is a great technique to try if you're not sure how to start.
Also, don't compare yourself to that sales guy shaking hands and making finger guns.
He's not adulting. He's overcompensating.
All you need to do is talk a little and listen a little more than you talk.
Adulting is difficult for most people.
Growing up is hard and scary.
We all have that holy crap moment when we realize we're not in Kansas anymore, and it's time to fend for ourselves.
By creating good habits, you can ease yourself into adulthood to become a mature, responsible person at any age.