All the Confusing Things Regarding Adulting
In this open column submission, Nadia Syarifah writes about her thoughts on adulthood, followed by the myriad of questions that come to mind.
Words by Whiteboard Journal
As we grow up, things keep getting deeper and harder. New challenges, new obstacles to overcome, new friends, new circles, new workplace. Shifts. Transitions and endless transformations. Adolescence was difficult already, what about the shift from it to adulthood though? Just as hard, even harder, or easier?
I suppose it is different for everyone. For me, though, I did experience one thing which I like to call adolescent rage when I was 15. I was unreasonably angry at that age, which seemed weird now. I am 19 going on 20. I do not know if it’s the ultimate transition from adolescence to adulthood yet, but it sure feels like it. Most of the time, I’m confused. I do not know what I am supposed to do, I do not know how to perceive myself, I am not sure what I wanted to do. I did not have these problems with adolescent rage. Adolescent rage was just—well, rage. Not liking myself, and that’s pretty much it. But in this stage of life, I am not hating myself, not as far as I’m concerned, at least. Like I said before, I’m mostly just confused. And worried. Worried about the future, yet at the same time worrying am not present enough, which feels like an ultimate juxtaposition.
I tried to analyze my own fear, knowing it’s nearly impossible but I did it anyway. What am I afraid of, actually? It comes down to the fact that everyone else my age seemed like they got it together. Knowing what they wanted to do. Put-together, that’s the word. I know that people won’t actually post their struggles online (most of them at least), but I can’t seem to convince my brain that they might be just as confused as I am. Which then made me think, maybe FOMO is the root of all this so-called adolescent rage. The FOMO –or fear of missing out– of not having enough experience, or fun during my supposedly awesome years contributes to my anxiousness.
“Just believe in yourself, do your things your own way, you’d be fine,” they say.
I am aware that those things are true. But again, things are easier said than done. Despite people convincing me that I’ll get it together, the questions remain; when and why do my friends get it together now? Must I be late? Or are they just early? All the questions may or may not be based on the fact that I am a born and raised Indonesian. A country with a collectivist culture. Things have always relied on community. “Look at her, look at him” “What will they say” Emphasis on community and others. Not a problem, though, I personally love being a member of a collectivist culture. But that’s also the thing. It’s been embedded in my head to look up to others. Which well, manifested itself in the FOMO-ness and hence, confusion and anxiety. Feeling stuck in the never-ending phase of all-my-friends-are-growing-up-and-I-do-not-know-what-to-do is not necessarily ideal. Not even ideal at all. Not even close. Maybe it’s because we saw people who we grew up together with, or the ones that we used to joke around during school, are actually getting into serious, adult stuff. The thing is, however, people have different pathways. People grow differently, people have different interests, passions, hobbies.
Which made us unique and special.
It’s hard to realize that, though. Even when you do realize it, does not mean you can apply that way of thinking in your daily lives. Sometimes I even question my passion, do I really like this or is this just yet another phase of my life where I like something but is not meant to be forever? I think too much, yes maybe. Maybe I should not have look too much, or think too much about the future and just enjoy what I have now; youth. One way or another, I have to find the balance between letting go and taking control of my discipline for the sake of my future.
Maybe adulting IS all about finding the balance of everything.
And the process will not be easy, and it will be different for everyone. However, you are not late for anything. I hope that everyone in the same phase as me can know that you are not late for anything. You are exactly where you are meant to be.
All these things are easier said than done, but all I can do right now is just to have faith in myself and be open to all opportunities. Anyways, this is just my take– my two cents, if you will—of this phase that I’m going through right now. Uncertainty is okay, feeling lost is fine. More room for exploration, more room for discovery, and who knows, maybe you will shock yourself? Who knows, maybe you’d be surprised at what you can do when you just let go and believe in yourself.