One day, you are 17. You are planning for someday. And then quietly, without you even noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday, and you’re all grown up.
Maybe you are a recent or future graduate.
Maybe you are out in the real world working a job and paying rent.
Maybe you are a nervous for college.
Maybe you had a fight with a significant other in which they told you to grow up, so you ended up here.
Or maybe, you are like me. A college sophomore realizing that I’m growing up, that the world isn’t stopping for me to figure that out, and that things are REALLY real now.
And if you are anything like me, it’s just like, geez. What do I do now? How do I know if I’m grown up? Each person is different, but I’m here to let you know that it’ll be okay.
So this letter is for you.
When you start to grow up, you’ll feel scared. It will hit you at a moments notice and then it’ll never leave your side. It’ll be triggered by something in your life that you didn’t realize would be a significant event in you growing up. But it will be. It hits everyone at different ages. Some of you may be feeling it as you are leaving high school, or college, or even just a random moment at home.
Want to know what made me realize I’m growing up? Here I am, sitting at home, working on a design for a website, two logos, a blog post, and I’m going through my calendar to try and figure out my schedule. If that doesn’t sound like something a grown up does, I don’t know what would.
And the thing is, we spend our whole lives talking about what we want to be when we grow up. We focus on the future instead of the moment. And then poof, the moments here, and we realize that maybe we aren’t ready yet. If we had a few more weeks, days, hours even, before we ended up here.
But here’s the thing about growing up-you’ve been doing it all along. In realizing you are growing up, you’ve reached the point in your life where you are looking at the world differently than you were before. And that there-that’s you changing, most likely for the better.
There are a lot of things that you will be confronted with when you grow up.
1. You are freaking out.
Something that seemed so simple suddenly seems a lot harder than you could’ve imagined. When did you have to start paying taxes? When could you no longer stay up all night? Why is it not okay for you to play in the PlayPlace at McDonald’s anymore?
2. When you grow up, you leave some of your friends and family.
Whether this is when you head off to college or follow your dream job across the country-the people who make up your home won’t be by your side. In spirit, yes, but their journey doesn’t take them with you anymore and that is okay. Growing up means you have to do things by yourself sometimes.
3. You’ll remove people from your life who are toxic.
Whether consciously or sub-consciously, you’ll slowly drift apart. Even people who have been a part of your life for so long, you can’t quite imagine life without them, if things just aren’t working anymore, human nature will take it’s course.
4. Friends will move, and this time they won’t come back.
If you don’t leave, people will start leaving you. Luckily, technology helps us mend the gap from California to New York. Thank goodness it doesn’t take a person traveling on a horse cross country to communicate. If that were the case, nothing I would want to say would be worth it.
5. You’ll realize that “I love you”, “I’m sorry”, and “Goodbye” all have an expiration date.
There’s a moment for them. Sometimes it’s just too late. It doesn’t work like elementary school anymore-giving someone a cookie after you fight on the playground won’t fix it.
6. The age you always though was a “grown-up age” will no longer be the age of a grown up.
Because let’s face it-you aren’t one yet.
7. When you grow up, you’ll realize how right your parents were.
You’ll realize that they are your best friends, your biggest supporters, and the shoulder that you always needed to cry on. They are there through the good, bad, and ugly, and you’ll realize how you can’t do any of this without them.
When you start to grow up, things will feel different. You’ll have responsibilities. You’ll be stressed. And so tired.
But even better, you’ll find your place. The spot in the world where you are needed. The people who need you to function each day, the place you decide to call home.
You’ll find your life. Growing up isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s actually pretty beautiful. It’s just the stepping stone to finding you.