All Articles Tagged "adulthood"
When I was 17, I received a package in the mail from a young lady I’d spent a month with at a summer journalism program in Chicago.
She lived across the country, but we were at the exact same point in our lives. Between scrambling to apply to colleges, studying for the looming ACT exam, and juggling our daily AP classes and extracurriculars, it was difficult to hide our jitters about adult life, as well as our overwhelming excitement.
Adulthood was finally about to begin.
I opened the package, painted with the most beautiful Sharpie portrait I’d ever seen, and a CD tumbled out onto my bedroom floor. Scribbled on the front was a question.
“How did we get here?”
Many years later, as I sit here listening to the playlist from that CD I received so long ago, I can’t help but ask myself that same question.
Now that I’m fully grown, I realize that despite my anticipation to enter the magical world of adulthood, it really isn’t all it was pumped up to be. And if I could go back and give my younger self a few words of advice, I would tell myself that I shouldn’t spend so much time counting down until the day I turn 18.
For one, the sudden onset of bills is something my younger self was never prepared for. Of course, I’d watched my mother pay bills my entire life.
But why didn’t anyone tell me that everything was so expensive?
When I was a kid, I used to love getting mail. It was a rarity, but when it came it was an invitation, a letter or a birthday card. Now when I check my mailbox, I want to throw myself out of an open window because I know someone is asking me to fork over some more funds that I can’t afford to give away.
And don’t get me started on groceries. I remember going to the store and grabbing all the Lunchables and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos I desired, because I wasn’t paying for any of it. Now I stick to my grocery list and sometimes find myself putting a few things back at checkout. Even milk is almost $4 a gallon.
I wasn’t ready.
There was a point in life where my mother wouldn’t let me get a job. As soon as I was old enough to get a work permit, I was breaking my neck to get a part-time gig. I figured if I had a job, I could do my own thing without having to always ask my mom for cash. I remember her telling me, “Jasmine, once you start working, you’ll never stop for the rest of your life.”
At the time, I thought she was just trying to stop me from living my life; another way for her to stunt my fun, growth and cash flow. But she was right. And I have had to work almost every day, ever since.
With a job came financial responsibility. And sadly, the “Don’t-Mess-Up-Your-Credit” chapter of the personal finance handbook in high school had to have been torn out. I didn’t understand the importance of saving or investing my money. I spent freely and carelessly, living check to check before I’d even graduated from high school or made any real money.
With college came surmounting medical bills from hasty ER visits, student loan debt, maxed out credit cards and repossessed cars. And before I realized it, I was flooded with debt and unable to establish any viable credit for myself and my future.
To my younger self, I’d explain that sometimes it’s more important to set yourself up for future success than to focus on having fun right now. Having money and spending feels good, but long-term financial freedom is so much more valuable. I didn’t realize that then. But now, I know.
And although I wouldn’t steer my younger self away from love, I would encourage myself to get to know people better before investing so much love and trust in them.
And not just men, but people in general. Young Jasmine, not everyone is your friend.
As a child I had an issue with acceptance. I felt like I encountered rejection and bullying around every corner and I longed for a true friend. And when friendship presented itself, in whatever form or fashion, I was desperate for it.
That desperation for acceptance carried over into my adult life in both friendships and relationships. For a long time, I found myself staying in bad situations, trying to maintain relationships with people who didn’t care about me at all but saw my desperation and preyed on it.
After years of watching all these connections derail, if I could tell my younger self to guard her heart a little more tightly, I would. I would’ve saved myself a lot of heartache and emotional turmoil.
And one of the most important lessons I wish I could share with my younger self is to listen to your mother.
I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t know what I’d do without my mom. I feed on her words and crave her comfort. But it wasn’t always the case.
For years, I spent my life trying to escape the tyrant I’d painted my mother out to be. I’d counted down the years until I’d be free from her. Free to be myself and roam as I pleased. Free from her house rules and strict demeanor.
She prevented me from having “fun.” And while everyone else was attending parties and concerts in high school, I was at church youth conferences and bible study. I longed to do the things other teens were doing. So-in-so’s mother let them do whatever they wanted, I would tell myself.
College would be the ultimate playground, free from my mom’s reign. But rehashing the memories and pain from my college years now makes me shutter. I spent so much time trying to escape from my mother’s house that I didn’t realize her strict rules were out of pure concern and fear for me. No parent wants to see their children hurt or suffer. Yet because of my utter disobedience, I found myself in dyer situations, from abusive relationships to having tragic miscarriages; all things my mother too encountered in her youth.
So many things she attempted to protect me from I ran into head first. Obedience is always better than sacrifice. And I’ve sacrificed so much of myself in my adult life. Sacrifice that could’ve been avoided had I just listened to my mother’s words of wisdom.
But curiosity always kills cats.
I spent a great deal of my childhood anticipating growing up. In my mind, adulthood was the light at the end of the tunnel; the pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. I drank the Kool-Aid and believed the hype.
As most people would confess, it isn’t what I thought it would be.
Instead, I’ve been met by the harsh real world. Where few people are your friend and no one is to be trusted because, in all actuality, you are all you have.
I’ve found myself trumped by emotions I’d never experienced as a child, bombarded by responsibility and cornered by choices that could make or break my entire life. Adulthood has a way of shattering dreams and evaporating hopes, if one is not careful. With becoming an adult, you lose your imagination, your innocence, and it’s replaced with the realization that everything is changing and nothing will ever be the same.
If I could go back, I’d tell my younger self to hold on to childhood as long as she could. Embrace your innocence and your lack of freedom; let it ground you.
I’d tell myself not to feel embarrassed for playing with dolls and not to cave into the pressures of sex and peer pressure. Enjoy being a kid. Hold onto your morals. Guard your heart.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And lately, I’ve been drinking a lot of lemonade. But if I could go back in time for one day, I’d be running through the grass, playing freeze tag with my cousins on a warm spring day. I’d race to the ice cream truck as it cruised down the street and hurdle myself over fences as we ran from stray dogs in the neighborhood. I’d swing myself so high on the swing set that I’d teleport to another dimension. I’d give anything for just 15 minutes of extra recess.
But most of all, I’d whisper in the wind and tell myself to slow down. Enjoy the ride that is being a kid. Eat a few more Bomb Pops and pop a few more wheelies riding that bike down the street. Spend a couple more hours watching Saturday morning cartoons and trading Pokemon cards on the bus after school. I’d cherish such moments. Because once they’re gone, there really is no going back.
My mother’s favorite quote is: “Your age only tells how long you’ve been on the earth. Nothing else.” I never thought too much of it until I got older and saw that some of the things that I thought wouldn’t be a factor, during old age, still are.
Age can indicate a lot of things, but apparently maturity isn’t one of them. Read along and let me know in the comment section if you agree, and what you think I should have included.
No one told you being a grown-up sucks because you would not listen even if they did tell you! Point blank ….period.
I remember hearing from my mother and aunts, “Enjoy your youth. Enjoy being young. Enjoy being a child with no responsibilities,” and I would quickly scoff at this wisdom. I would speak softly under my breath about elders, bosses, married women and my parents not understanding my plight, trials and tribulations as a teenager, young adult, college student, law student, single woman…..you name it!
However, my very own life experiences and tests have actually taught me throughout my matriculation as an adult that being a grown up actually does not have to suck.
Let’s run down a laundry list of grown up experiences that MAY suck:
1) Having to work full time just to have no money after paying bills.
2) Working at a job, or for a boss that you actually do not like.
3) Paying taxes.
4) Not being in a meaningful relationship.
5) Not being able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight.
6) Not having children yet.
7) Being passed up for a well-deserved promotion and/or raise.
8) Dealing with sickness.
9) Not getting into the graduate school of your choice.
I have dealt with each and every instance listed above. Believe me when I tell you that those life experiences hurt, some more than others, however, they were all a part of my growing on so many levels. Throughout those sucky experiences, I have grown in my faith, patience, expectations, love and relationships.
Read more on HelloBeautiful.com.
I never had any hesitation that Andy was the one for me or that we would spend the rest of our lives together. After six years in a monogamous relationship — including two cross-country moves, economic upheaval and layoffs, career changes, and a six-month stint living with his parents (no easy feat) — it felt like we’d already made our relationship official.
But, like most women who are single well into their 20s, I felt pressured by girlfriends who insisted, “Everyone wants to get married” and, “You’re just saying you don’t care because you haven’t been proposed to yet.” As most of my friends plotted their way to the altar, Andy and I enjoyed years of blissful cohabitation without ever worrying about if and when we’d tie the knot.
Over the years, we attended weddings by the dozen. Eventually he and I were one of the last unmarried pairs standing. Still, I wasn’t compelled to demand a ring. We were content. Certainly, people in our lives thought there had to be something wrong with our relationship, but we didn’t care what anyone thought.
Even during my years as an editor at a major wedding magazine, my bridal instincts failed to kick in. Sure, I felt the twinge of “something missing” every time a new coworker announced her engagement and was met with loads of fanfare, but that didn’t change how I felt deep inside: Andy and I didn’t need a piece of paper to affirm our commitment.
I wasn’t until my 30th birthday approached that I began to feel the first real impulse to get hitched. My career was thriving, but still, I sensed a barrier. It soon became apparent that my unmarried status was preventing me from being taken seriously as an adult and a professional. I was trapped in relationship purgatory.
Read more on YourTango.com.
I should probably start by telling you that I’m guilty. I’m guilty of entertaining “friendships” with questionable women who display suspect behavior. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but I believe that part of it is due to my constant efforts to see the best in people. So much so that I tend to overlook behaviors that clearly indicate a person probably doesn’t have my best interest at heart.
I met my first frenemy in elementary school and it took her burning me several times in middle school before I finally woke up and realized that I’d better cut this girl off before she does the unimaginable, and of course, I’d have no one to blame but myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fool. I was always fully aware of her shady behavior, but I was in my early teens and I frequently second guessed myself. I believe that’s the tricky thing about frenemies. They are not fans of the obvious, but instead, they’re crafty masters of subtlety and doctors of deception. A frenemy will almost never do something so blatantly obvious that they leave you walking away determined to never speak to them again. Oh no, that would be too easy. A frenemy would rather strike you soft enough to come across as playful, but hard enough to cause you to want to strike back. They commit shady deeds that are so illusive, they’re almost unidentifiable and often leave you asking yourself, “Did that just happen?” which eventually leads to “Maybe they didn’t mean it that way,” and somehow becomes, in many cases for me, “I’m probably overreacting.” And of course, the cycle continues. As subtle as they may be though, you can almost always count on a frenemy to eventually go overboard and hurt you in an irreversible way. It may come now, it may come later, but I’d bet my last dollar that it will come eventually.
It took me encountering people like this throughout high school and college before it dawned on me that entertaining frenemies was like playing Russian roulette. Dealing with sly and underhanded people may seem harmless while in your teens, but as I got older, I quickly learned that the stakes are higher once you enter adulthood because you have so much more to lose, which brings me to my latest revelation. Several years ago, I formed somewhat of a friendship with a woman who eventually began displaying frenemy-like behavior. It was like a full-time job to show myself as someone welcoming enough to carry on a friendship, but keeping enough distance between us so that she couldn’t burn me. Letting her know enough about me for us to get to know each other, but not enough that she could use any of the information she knows about me to hurt me. I would literally attempt to stay five steps ahead of her just to protect myself from the wrath of the frenemy that I knew would eventually come. Then one day I slowed down and asked myself, “Who the heck has time for this?” Who has time carry on a not-so-sincere friendship with a person you can’t even let your guard down around because you have apprehensions about their loyalty? Either you’re with me or you’re not, right? I mean really, what grown woman has time to play the frenemy game? It’s silly, time consuming and in the end, a snake will always be a snake. In that moment, I made up my mind that my genuine friendship is gift, my time is precious, and neither will be wasted on insincere people.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned since entering my twenties, it’s that real women don’t entertain frenemies. There are much better ways to spend your time, and with much better people.
Follow Jazmine on Twitter @jazminedenise.
If you’re lucky enough to be one of those “kids” who has a great relationship with his/her parents, lives at home and is stacking money to save for that dream home, then you definitely have the life! However, for most of us, being an adult and living at home doesn’t always make for an ideal living situation. Sure, there are situations were living at home with mom and dad is beneficial, even necessary. But if you’re over 25 years old and still sleeping in a twin size bed wondering what you’re doing with your life, here are some signs it’s time to raise up out of your parents’ house and find your own spot.
- You’re There For THEM
Some people stay at home longer than they want to because their parents expect them to stay there – either to keep them company or until they get married. Maybe this is something parents expect more from their daughters than their sons, but if you find that you’re there to help your parents deal with the “empty nest syndrome” rather than living on your own, it’s time to sit them down and have a talk. Explain to your parents that just because you’re moving out, it doesn’t mean you’ll never come around to check on them or that you’re going to become a heathen turning your studio apartment into a den of sin (even if that is what you’re planning on doing with it). While it’s admirable that your parents want you to stay home until you get married, moving from your parents’ house to your husband’s house might not be what you had in mind. Your parents are grown and while they may miss you, they’ll get over it if you move out. They should want you to be independent, not rely on them for the rest of your life.
2. You Come Home Late – Often
If you’re moving back home after college graduation, it’s probably safe to say that you still like to party and hang out like you did back on campus. This means you’re used to coming home when you feel like it because there were no parents at home giving you a curfew. But now when you come home, you trip the alarm and wake up everyone in the house – and that’s if your parents aren’t already up waiting for you. Some of you may have folks that respect the fact that you’re no longer a child and have no problem with you coming home at all hours of the night. But if your parents think you’re being disrespectful by stumbling in at 3am every night, then you have to respect their house and find a place of your own so that you’re not disturbing anyone else.
3. You’re the Babysitter
If you have a younger sibling who requires a babysitter, consider yourself that babysitter. Your parents will expect you to watch him or her – for free – and without complaint, which could dampen your plans on a Friday night. If you live at home, you’re the live-in nanny. But if you lived say, 30 minutes away, you might be able to weasel out of watching your younger sister because you can’t get there in time because of…traffic. Or it could be because you’re not home or because you’re grown, pay your own rent and are out doing what YOU want to do.
4. The House is Crowded
Even if your parents don’t make you watch your younger siblings, there’s still a chance there’s always a house full with other family members. You can’t even invite your friends over because there’s no place for them to sit – so you’re all packed in the basement or the backyard because your house is too small to fit all these people. If you had your own place, you could spread out a little bit and relax. Even if you lived in a studio, it would be YOUR space – and no one has to be there but you.
5. No Room For Your Stuff
Not only is it difficult to find space for you and your friends to hang out, you may not also have room for your personal things, especially if you’re sharing a room with someone. After 4 years of college, I managed to accumulate things and none of it fit into my mom’s house when I moved back home. Adults tend to buy things – electronics, clothes, shoes…stuff, and it may not fit into your room or parents’ basement. They also may not want you to clutter their home with your things and use it for storage so you’re limited to buying what fits in the confines of the four walls of your bedroom. If you find yourself longing for a new bedroom set, or a huge flat screen TV, then you should find your own apartment to put it in.
6. No Privacy
If you suffer from any of the issues already mentioned, it is safe to say you probably have no room for privacy either. If you start dating someone, bringing them back to your “room” for some action probably isn’t so hot – not with mom and dad roaming around the house freely. So sex is pretty much out of the question unless you get busy at a hotel or the back seat of your car. You can’t even have a conversation on the phone without your younger brother ear hustling and you basically feel trapped because there’s nowhere to go to have a little “me” time. If this is you and you have a decent job, then you should have moved out yesterday.
Depending on how old-school your folks are, living at home means following their rules. Whether this means coming in at a certain hour, not being able to stay out over-night, doing chores or anything else your parents require you to do while living under their roof, if their rules don’t sit well with you, then you may need to consider getting 2 or 3 jobs so that you can move out and save your sanity. After all, it istheir house and if you’re not paying rent, you really can’t tell them “no,” can you? Well, maybe you can, but they’d probably tell your grown behind to move out and pay your own rent and follow your own rules. Can’t say that I blame them. Get your own spot.
8. You’re a Slob
Speaking of chores, if you’re a slob, then living at home with you is probably a nightmare. While I’d hope that one would be clean and neat even while living on his own, you don’t HAVE to wash dishes in your own place if you don’t want to. When you live alone, you don’t have to do laundry for a month if you don’t feel like it, and you can leave your clothes all over the place and no one can say boo about it. Again, I’m not saying being a slob is cute, but if you’re tired of your mom nagging you to pick up your socks or to move your shoes out of her way, then get your own place and be lazy and sloppy to your heart’s content. Just make sure to clean up before company comes over.
9. You’re 30+ Years Old
Enough said. At some point, you just have to become an adult and know what it’s like to be responsible for yourself. This means paying rent or a mortgage. Again, if you live in an old-fashioned household where the expectation is to stay at home until you’re married, and you’re cool with that, then rock out. Or maybe you have the coolest parents on the planet where living at home is actually a pleasurable experience. But living on your own can also teach you to be more responsible, establish credit and can allow you to have a certain level of freedom that you can enjoy before you think about setting down with a family of your own (if that’s what you’d like). If you’re living at home to save money or because you need to take care of an ailing parent, the recession hit you hard or any other reason that has nothing to do with you simply being a leach – then so be it. But if any of the previous scenarios has you pulling your hair out, then begin your search for a new pad and sign a lease. It’s time.
A mid-life crisis isn’t the only kind of crisis people go through when they’re overwhelmed by the realities of their ever-changing (or stagnant) life. Nobody really talks about it, but in your early twenties to mid-30s, ish gets a bit too real. You’re an adult now (a real live one! *in Pinocchio voice*), and with the title comes a whole bunch of responsibility you saw coming, but weren’t as prepared as you thought to tackle. It’s all good, many of us are going through it, or have been through it, and we probably didn’t even realize it. (Unless you’re one of those people who fell into a deep depression the day before your 30th birthday, then yeah, you know.) Here are a few signs that you’re going through or went through a quarter-life crisis at one time or another.
You start second-guessing your choice of work…
Sure, working at the bookstore has been cool, but you don’t have any insurance, you don’t make enough to get out of your mother’s crib, and there isn’t much room for advancement. On the other side of the fence, you can be that young businesswoman on the rise, making a mean salary (in comparison to your meager earnings that could only afford you noodles in college), and are slowly but surely paying down those student loan debts. However, you low-key hate getting up in the morning to go to work. For some reason your job isn’t fulfilling, and maybe it’s just your place of work or the the occupation altogether. Is this where you see yourself in 10 years? Getting a job is a huge step in moving out of helpless collegiate territory and into adulthood, but when the job you have doesn’t seem to be the job you really want, or you just feel unsure about your choices when it comes to that job…you could be going through a quarter-life crisis.
Somebody Lied To You: What Happens When You Believe Something As A Child, That You Never Learn Is Untrue?
It is amazing how creative, imaginative and magnificently wonderful the mind of a child is. Children believe in the fantastic and the surreal and the all-around awesome that rational adult thinkers brush off as fiction. Think back to the days when you were a child. Can you remember some of the things that you accepted as truth without contest and how much richer your life was for it?
When I was a girl, I believed that I could become invisible at will. The secret was baby powder. I’d dust my face with powder and begin to run around my house antagonizing my older sister with the belief that I could not be seen. When she’d say “Stop it,” or “Leave me alone!,” I’d laugh hysterically and just yell out, “You can’t see me—I’m invisible!”
I also believed that I could fly. Not in the way that R. Kelly was saying, but for real. In all of my dreams where flying took place, and there were lots, instead of flapping my arms like wings or extending them straight out in front of me, I flew precisely the way I would swim. With long strokes, I’d extend one arm out in front and gracefully bring it back toward me and repeat that motion with the other arm, only I’d be in the air. The faster my strokes, the faster I’d fly. I flew so often in dreams that I really thought that flying was one of my natural abilities. I believed that if I were ever in danger, I could simply fly away. Luckily for me, I was never in a situation that caused me to test that belief. And also fortunately for me, I learned well before adulthood that I could neither fly nor become invisible.
But what happens when you believe something as a child, that you never learn is untrue?
I remember listening to an episode of NPR’s “This American Life” that aired years ago called “A Little Bit of Knowledge.” The segment discusses exactly this scenario. There is a guy that recalls that he was about 11 or 12 when he first heard the term Nielsen family from a group of adults he overheard talking. From the conversation, he gathered that networks consulted with Nielsen families to see how popular a television show was, but he wondered why they only asked families named Nielsen. He came up with his own answers and assumed that the networks had done research and found that it was a common name and that it cut across class and economic lines. Perhaps, he thought, families with the name Nielsen were an accurate sample size. He said he didn’t think about it again, except from time to time when he’d wonder why T.V. continued to use such a primitive way to collect data. He then went on to say that years later as an adult, one of his friends mentioned that her friend’s family had been asked to become a Nielsen family. He asked, “Isn’t it funny how all of them are named Nielsen?” A long silence ensued and he realized that they are, of course, not all named Nielsen. He was 34 years old at the time.
There was also a woman who spoke of how she believed in unicorns as a child. She said that in her mind there wasn’t much difference between a zebra and a unicorn and that whenever she thought of them, they were in a grassy plain in Africa drinking from a watering hole with the wildebeest and impalas. Fast forward years later, she was at a party and about seven people were standing around a keg talking. Randomly, the topic of endangered species came up and she asked, “Is the unicorn endangered or extinct?” She said that there was a long period of silence, then everyone laughed, and then the laughter was followed by another gap of silence when they all realized she wasn’t laughing. She realized for the first time that unicorns are indeed unreal, and to think so as a grown woman came off as kind of pathetic.
I could not imagine being in either of these situations. How embarrassed they both must have felt. I believed in some pretty interesting things as a kid and I’m grateful, mostly, that I shed those beliefs when I became an adult. A child’s mind is certainly an amazing thing and the things that children come up with are usually quite extravagant, all the more reason why seeing them as fact into adulthood can be hard to live down if/when your friends and family find out…
What did you believe as a child and do you have any stories of finding out late in life that what you’d believed all along was false? If so, we’d love to hear them.
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
More on Madame Noire!
- Where Are They Now: The Men of “I Love New York 1 & 2”
- The Duality of the Emcee or Why I Don’t Like Wale Anymore
- When Famous Stars Play Famous People: Who Killed It On-Screen And Who Was A Mess?
- Brown Girls In The Nude: Neutral Lipstick Shades for Us
- When Did “Candy Rain” Become Old School??? How I Realized I Was Getting Too Old For The Club
- Komon Ou Ye? 9 Of Our Favorite Celebs of Haitian Descent (And A Few Surprises Of Course!)
- Cute Kid Alert: The Bosh Family Do It Big In Italy, Anthony Hamilton’s Newborn, and Much More!
Watching all the teenagers and young kids in their cute uniforms walk to school again has for some reason created a feeling of nostalgia for me. I miss the days of lugging around a seemingly giant backpack to school, meeting up with my friends during passing periods and lunch, and taking part in group sports (how in shape were you thanks to organized sports??). Those days were extremely simple, right? Even if back then you couldn’t wait to be done with them and be a big, bad grown up. Overrated! So with all that being said, I thought I’d take a walk down memory lane and list the seven best things about being a kid. And not the super-obvious ones, but the ones that meant a lot more than taking naps, going to recess to play Red Rover and having play dates.
We’ve all heard those old adages, for generations people have recognized the wisdom children inherently possess. There’s “you have to crawl before you walk,” and “from the mouth of babes.” While these are some of the more popular ones, there are plenty of lessons we can learn from the little ones. If you have children, watch your kids they’re trying to tell you something. If you don’t have children, think back to your younger days, when you weren’t so tainted.