I know adulting is often represented in a funny meme or GIF but transitioning to adulthood, learning/redefining what makes me happy, how I like to spend my time, what I want in life, etc. has been a really dynamic and often challenging experience — which is probably why we all need a GIF to laugh at.
Sometimes it’s awesome, like paying my first month’s rent AND a down-payment without shuddering at the sight of my bank account, other times it’s awkward and difficult like standing up for myself/my life with my parents. At first I felt very anxious about the changes and expectations but I’ve given it a lot of thought recently and am feeling on the better side of it now.
So here’s what I got.
- Wanting/deserving respect: I know I’ll always be their kid, but I’m also an adult. I have a savings plan, I pay my bills, I have a good job. They should be happy because they did it — I am not a drain on the economy! So why do they think I need advice at every corner? I can determine how much money I want to put into my 401K without someone’s input. It’s time they let me make my own decisions — which brings me to my next point.
- I might live a different life than they (OR I) expected, and that’s okay: Just because they decided to live their life a certain way doesn’t mean that’s what’s right for me. Maybe my parents thought I’d be some high-powered executive, and maybe I thought the same thing, too once upon a time, but people change and I’m allowed to change my mind. Here’s another win — they managed to raise me to be confident enough to follow my dreams/desires – to tackle challenges — to tackle life. Isn’t that worth celebrating?
- I have my own life: I have a job that is probably more demanding than they realize. I think it’s easy for parents to forget how hard the hustle was in their twenties. I have a lot on my plate between working long hours, taking on new projects, and still finding time to have a social life. Believe it or not, being able to come over on a whim isn’t something I can do anymore. Sundays I meal prep and do laundry. They have worked hard to earn more free time and luxuries like buying lunch every day. I’m not there yet.
- My free time is precious and often designated: As mentioned, I have a lot on my plate. It’s miraculous that I find the time/energy to paint my nails. I spend Monday – Friday working, biting my tongue, taking a lot of work direction and when it all ends on Friday, I want that time for myself. Sometimes that means a frozen pizza and reruns of The Office, or going out to the bars, or a face mask and going to bed early — bottom line is that my parents shouldn’t be offended by it. I’m sorry to say it, but sometimes being around family can feel like more work, on top of work. Wanting some “me time” shouldn’t be taken as an offense.
- I have a partner: I’m lucky enough to have a partner in crime, a shoulder to lean on, a live-in best friend. Things that I once sought from mom or dad, whether it was advice or an open ear, I have at all times. Be happy for me that I have such a great support system at home.
- It’s strange, looking at your parents as adults, AS an adult, not a child. It’s weird. One day I was feeling very frustrated and I realized it was because I felt disappointed in my parents as adults — they somehow lost some of their “magic” of being parents. Before they were the gatekeepers to my freedom; they achieved what seemed really difficult, career success, stability. They had and did the things I couldn’t fathom yet at 17. But now? Now all of the things I want out of life is totally up to me, and I have also achieved moderate “success” and stability (thanks to them). I realize I couldn’t have done any of it without them, but it’s weird how parents become more normalized as you get older.
- Bottom line, things are a bit different now that I’m an adult. Recognize that I’m still in the process of growing up, determining what I want out of life. Sometimes I sit at home, trying to figure it all out. I get antisocial. I get really social. More now than ever I am really being faced with the challenge of trying to determine what I see for myself and that requires a little bit of space.
I don’t want it to seem like I don’t appreciate my parents, because I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without them. I have the luxury of options, of being able to ask myself, where do I see myself 5 years from now? and not being beholden to a path driven by poverty or a lack of education. I owe that all to them.
I’m just trying to breakdown some of the dynamics at play in the middle of a shifting relationship that’s not necessarily easy. I think at the end of the day change is hard but we’ll eventually come to a new normal.