From struggling with working to live and living to work, the realization that your parents are humans, too, and doing things that in college seemed to magically get done on their own, being a grown-up is hard. Truthfully, I still fee like a kid, and the few times I actually feel like a grown-up, it’s like I’ve been slapped in the face by the flat palm of adulthood and can usually be found crying over my to-do list, before calling my mom for moral support.
Most of the time, I only feel like an adult if I’m drinking wine or wearing a watch (something about wearing a watch feels so…mature Here, let me pretend to check the time), and I spend the majority of my time in a “Post-Grad Problems” state, still wishing I were back in college and feeling like a baby bird who was thrown out of the nest too soon.
I’m a 23 year old in the real world, and when I’m not playing house, I’m slowly but surely learning what it means to be a real adult, a real 20-something, and it’s nothing like what they show on TV. My closet looks more like the sale rack at Target than Carrie Bradshaw’s collection of designer wardrobe, and seriously, Friends, who has the time to spend all of their free time at the coffee shop? I have an apartment to clean, a dog to take care of, grocery shopping to do, errands to run, and workouts to complete so that I at least stay somewhat sane.
If I’m lucky enough to grab coffee with a good friend, it’s a day here and there for a quick Joe that always ends with, “We need to do this more often,” but then schedules, life, everyday tasks, and the occasional need for personal time get in the way, and before you know it, you haven’t seen friends you used to see almost daily for a month, or two months, or three.
The great thing about this is that you learn to value friendships, especially those that stay the same, even if you don’t see them or talk as often; you learn that although all relationships require love and attention, real friendships sustain the test of time, in spite of conflicting schedules, long distances, and other real world reasons. The bad thing is that you begin to realize the friendships that were perhaps not as strong to begin with because these seem to slowly disappear (although, as my mom would say, this is also a good thing because why waste your time?)
The real world doesn’t come with a survival kit, but if it did, it would probably include a loud alarm clock, Breakfast Roast K-cups, and endless amounts of dark chocolate, plus a handbook with tips for budgeting, basic DIY fix-it tips for when things break at your “new” apartment, and how to deal with those difficult to answer questions (When are you getting married?)
So I’m here to tell you the real world is hard, but growing up can be fun, if you make it that way. Looking back on the H I was even a year ago, I’m amazed by the changes and how I’m doing things that I once swore I could never do. I’m learning, maturing, and growing as a an adult and as an individual, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings for me and my fellow 20-somethings!
It’s all about perspective. I have parents who love and support me no matter what and a boyfriend who will hug me when I Kim Kardashian cry over nothing. Plus, I won TWO FREE HOT CHOCOLATES at Dunkin Donuts. Seriously. Life is hard, but so, so good, if you know where to look.