Answering the Adulting Formula

"Adulting" is not an easy feat, especially for those learning how to be an adult in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. To those stuck in "adult limbo" I am right there with you, but it's time for us to throw the self doubt out the window.

Technically, I’m an adult even though I’m definitely not an adult. At least I don’t feel like an adult. So what am I?

By legal standings, I am over the age of 18, therefore, I am in fact an “adult”. But how are you supposed to be and act like an adult when you don’t feel like one?

Whenever I meet people in NYC and tell them I am 23 years old and moved here alone, the conversation somehow falls in the direction of, “Ohmygod, you’re such a BABY!” or, “Wow, you’re sooooo young and trying to make it in the big city? That’s adorable”. I’m not trying to ridicule these responses because ultimately most of them mean well, but it does plant a mental seed of doubt in my head. Am I a still a kid? What the hell am I doing here if I’m a kid?

I think my face is permanently stuck in this position.

Quarantine has allowed people to have time to do a lot of self-reflecting and start on personal projects and ventures, but now the year is halfway over. How can we move forward with our lives?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many young adults find themselves in a state of limbo. There are many contributing factors, but with the high unemployment rates and current state of the pandemic making it difficult to relocate from home or college towns, it feels as if there is no opportunity to move on and grow up. How did you graduate college this year without a graduation ceremony? Technically, you’re finished with college, but nothing special happened to symbolize the end of this chapter of your life. People in their mid-twenties are suddenly moving back into their parent’s homes because of the pandemic. This means a new daily routine and probably a few new rules. It is a confusing time for everyone especially for those who are just now entering the workforce or have been getting started on the path to independence during the past few years.

Many of my friends were laid off from their jobs because they were the most recent hire on the team or in the company. Some were let go, brought back on, and then let go again in the span of a few months of quarantine. So what’s next? Many companies have frozen their hiring process due to the pandemic. So you scour the Internet anyway for applications and job openings, but the ones you can find all require a certain amount of work experience that people in this “starting adult life limbo” can’t possibly have. How was I supposed to get three to five years of experience for an entry-level job when I’ve only been out of college for two years?

As I sit in my tiny apartment watching my friends and former classmates get married via Facebook Live and Zoom, I feel a constant pressure to do the same. Questioning myself, “Is that what being an adult requires?” I thought it was getting a good job, but maybe it’s being married and having a mortgage payment. The societal formula of job + marriage + house + babies = ADULT repeats itself in my brain.

This is not a rant for me to complain because there are so many other things going on in the world right now that need attention. This is to let others in this limbo stage of life know that they are NOT alone. No one has their life perfectly together even if social media makes it appear that way. If you were looking for a sign to tell yourself it is all going to be okay, take this as your sign. Don’t exhaust yourself or beat yourself up about not having the most impressive job or the highest salary or the perfect significant other at this current moment. I've learned that being an adult is being the best version of yourself, and you're doing great! If my hatred of math taught me anything it is that formulas don’t have to always be followed to get the correct answer.


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