I remember rolling down the block in my big wheel, with a fruit rollup in my pocket and not a care in the world. When we were 5, life was simple.
Now I’m cutting through bumper-to-bumper traffic with a protein shake in my cup holder and more things on my mind than my simple 5 year old brain could’ve even fathomed.
I’m not one of those people who wants to go back to my childhood though. I love being an adult. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up.
That being said, there’s a lot about adulthood that I didn’t see coming. In fact, it’s almost offensive the way we were lied to when we were kids.
In this post I’m going to talk about a few things that they don’t tell you when you’re a kid, but they should have.
No One Has Life Completely Figured Out
As a kid, I always assumed that adults had everything figured out.
I was wrong.
When I was about 16 years old, my older cousins were around 25. They had careers, marriages and even kids. They looked like adults, acted like adults and in general seemed to have things figured out.
Then as I got closer and closer to 25 I slowly started realizing that all of life’s answers hadn’t fallen into my lap yet.
That’s when I realized that as people age, 2 things happen:
- You get more experienced and know how to handle more situations
- You get better at putting on the “adult act”
There’s not a particular age that you hit where you all of a sudden have things figured out.
It all comes down to experience. Which, in my opinion, is the biggest determining factor in how quickly or slowly people do start to figure things out.
You can’t just read about life and expect to have everything figured out. You have to gain experience through what you do.
Mastering life is a full-time job that never ends.
There’s a great documentary that I recommend, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, that shows a great example of someone who has devoted his life to the mastery of his craft.
Checkout this insightful review and then go watch it! (It’s on Netflix if you have that)
The other thing that people don’t like to admit to, is putting on the adult act.
As we get older, we get much better at pretending to be an adult – even if our actions don’t match our thoughts. As opposed to acting differently because you become more mature and change over time, I’m talking about putting on an act that you feel you are supposed to do because of your age.
I’m referring to people who get the 9-5 cubicle job because they think that’s what you’re supposed to do. Or even worse, getting married because you’ve been dating someone for a while and think it’s the next step.
As we get older we are encouraged to follow the crowd, instead of just doing what we truly want to do.
Don’t compare yourself to all of the actors. Live your own life and forget about what you’re supposed to do.
Nothing Goes As Planned
I’ve known too many people growing up that had a master plan to their life.
I’ve got to get into this college and then graduate by this year. After that I’m going to get a job in this city and work there for 2 years, before going to this grad school. So on and so forth.
Of all of the people I’ve known that spent years stressing about their master plans – not a single one actually saw the magic plan through on cue.
To put that in perspective, I’m only 26. So that means none of these people even made it through 10 years of the “big plan”, assuming the major steps in that plan started around 18.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have plans or goals. It just means it isn’t the end of the world when things don’t work out the way you imagined.
Don’t get too caught up in the plan to recognize when there are better moves to be made.
You Are Not Special
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. Let me explain what I mean.
I think it’s important to be yourself and I believe the best thing about being yourself is that you are unique.
For the most part though, none of us are very special. Just because you are born and continue to exist, that doesn’t make you special. Billions of other people are doing that.
Truly special people are rare. These are the people who change the course of history. Many of us might accomplish some great things in our lives, but most of us won’t ever change the course of history.
So, in the grand scheme of things – you aren’t special.
Mommy and daddy just told you that you were special, because they wanted to feel like special parents. The same reason why they tell you which degree you should get, what career is best for you and who you have to invite to your wedding. (They’ve realized things didn’t go as planned for them, so they want to plan your life for you instead.)
That College Degree Everyone Said You Needed Doesn’t Mean Shit
That’s not entirely true. It really depends on what type of career you are looking for.
However, in fields where your degree matters, a bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum.
Good jobs aren’t earned with a degree. They are earned through networking and experience. Here’s the worst part – if you don’t know the right people, no one wants to give you that initial experience.
I enjoyed my college experience and I don’t regret it one bit. That being said, since I’ve been self-employed since graduating college I haven’t even used my degree.
If entrepreneurship is your goal, your time and money would be better invested in finding a mentor and busting your ass in your given field than on a degree.
If self-employment isn’t your thing, you’re probably going to need that degree. Just don’t expect any hiring managers to be impressed with a bachelor’s degree unless you graduate from an Ivy League school. It’s going to take more than that.
In the real world, experience trumps a degree – but most employers expect you to have both.
Being an adult is great, I don’t want to give the wrong impression. You just can’t let yourself get too attached to what your parents told you adulthood was going to be like.
One observation I’ve made is that people have emotional meltdowns when reality doesn’t meet expectations. Some people will say it’s best to not have expectations, but I disagree.
I think you should have high expectations, but never become too attached to them that you lose flexibility.
Adjust as you go and keep making progress.
Until Next Time,
What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or have any thoughts to add? Let me know in the comments below.
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