The graduation season has just ended, and there’s a comment (sometimes implied, but sometimes stated) that I’ve heard from a lot of graduates and those who are close to graduation.
“I want to be an adult!”
Just what does that mean? Probably not what those who are saying that phrase think that it means!
Often it seems to mean that somebody just simply doesn’t want anyone else to be telling them what to do. Or they want to be able to do what they want without worrying about consequences….or they want to be out on their own…
But being an adult is much more than that.
One of the big things about being an adult is taking responsibility for yourself–and the consequences of your decisions. When you are child, your parents are able to protect you from those consequences sometimes, although good parents don’t shield you from all of them. But when you are an adult, you are responsible…for both good choices and less than good ones, along with the responsibilities coming from them.
It means figuring out how to pay for many of the things that were provided for you when you were at home…food, shelter, clothing, utilities, health care, car expenses…
That requires a job. And finding a good job–and by that, I mean a job with a future–means getting some training, whether that’s through college, an internship, an apprenticeship…
It also means making wise choices about how to deal with your sexuality. For some, that means coming to terms with sexual identity and/or gender identity. For most, it means figuring out wise decisions about when/whether to have sex–and the potential consequences of that! An unexpected child can throw a significant monkey wrench into your plans…as can sexually transmitted diseases.
It means listening to that little voice inside that suggests when something may not be wise…or when the “friend” may not be the best person to hang out with.
Not everything has to be learned the hard way. There are older adults who are willing to mentor you–if you will let them. Sometimes they want you to learn from their mistakes so you don’t have to go through what they did. Sometimes they are simply people who care for you.
Don’t be in a hurry…listen…try…fail–and learn from your failures…fall–and get up again…and trust. Trust that there are people who want only the best for (and from) you. Trust that there are people who love you. Trust that there are people who will walk with you.