Adulthood Is a Journey to Rediscover Who We Are
In this open column submission, Avi Amerta comes with a friendly reminder that life is not an even road decorated with a red carpet, and entering adulthood is nothing like opening an unlocked door to a leisure space; it’s a whole unknown territory. We might find it messy and unpredictable, but we can always learn through the inevitable changes.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
What we always think we know about the cycle of life is that we are given life as embryos, born into this world as babies, develop personalities as kids, discover the world as teenagers, and finally start to live in peace as adults before we become corpses. Well, whoever left that impression on society is wrong. Now entering my late 20s, I am just realizing that nobody actually knows anything about this world, and perhaps peace is the end goal we all seek but have yet to find the roadways to.
When I was still an angsty middle schooler, I would look up to the senior high school kids who seemed to be living life and not worrying about a thing. Then I got to high school and it didn’t feel like that at all. During my high school years, I turned out to feel the most insecure I’ve ever felt, questioning the intentions of everyone and everything, yet carrying so much ego with me too. I remember telling myself during that period that once I’m older, things will be easier. Boy, was I wrong.
Like Britney Spears would put it, I am at a stage of life where “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.” I used to think being in my 20s would finally be the gate to freedom and peace, and that all problems would go away. In reality, the process of growing from a girl to a woman entailed experiencing the frictions and fluctuations of being an active member of the family, losing friends I used to share BFF bracelets with, having doors of opportunities closed, learning how to forgive and mend heartbreaks, and witnessing the world kind of collapsing with pandemics, climate change, war, and everything else going on.
Damn, I wish I could tell little me that being an adult is nothing like I had imagined it to be. Whenever I ask myself all the whys I have in this world, I always affirm to myself that this is what it takes to grow, while another part of me is always questioning, do I have what it takes to face this world with grace?
At this stage of life too, I am realizing that the older adults whose lives I thought were easy when I was younger didn’t have it easy at all. They too have their own struggles that maybe they don’t get to talk about, but from most of the conversations I’ve had with the older adults so far, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not about the weight of the struggle you face, but rather about how willing you are to be the rose that grew from concrete.
Adulthood is never about freedom, but it’s about being able to continuously bloom in adversity and rediscovering who we are. Our experiences shape our worldview and the way we respond to certain things in life. Like in the Pixar movie Inside Out, we are wired for certain fixed emotions, but as we navigate life and find challenges, those fixed emotions evolve and create new responses in our system.
I remember a few years back, a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time told me that “I changed”. Upon hearing that, I was in such deep denial and kept telling myself that I was always the same person, and they were the ones who changed. Maybe they weren’t wrong after all. Maybe I did change, but so did they. And now that I think about it, change isn’t a bad thing anyway—with change comes the opportunity to rediscover who we are. Just never forget to choose your change wisely.
With everything going on in my life at this stage and the new surprises I find about myself along the way, I think it’s only wise to say that being an adult was never supposed to be a goal. Because entering adulthood means learning to live while living to learn.