Just when it seems like you’ve finally mastered the art of all-nighters and research papers, it’s suddenly salaries, budgeting, and car payments – a whole new lot of stress-causers. You graduate and start to resent your new post-grad way of life, wishing nothing more than to go back to wearing sweatpants to class and treating pizza as a main food group.
Here’s the deal: adults haven’t done a great job of giving the “real world” a good rep. The term is tossed around during conversations about “harsh realities” and “grown-up responsibilities” we’ll be faced with when we enter this foreign land. It’s no wonder that college graduates often dread the life that awaits them after the textbooks are shut for good.
But growing up and getting older is inevitable, no matter how many hours you spend searching for the fountain of youth. So here’s our five-step process on how to deal with “adulting.”
Realize: college isn’t the peak of your life
College is often referred to as “the best four years of your life”. But newsflash: if you think your life is at its peak before you start your career, what fun is that?
We should be referring to college as “four years of your life unlike any others” because it’s true, you’ll never have an experience like college probably ever again in your life. The same is true for puberty (hopefully) and who says you want to go back and repeat that.
View college as a fun time full of great memories, but don’t wish to go back or replicate it. Because people who think they “peaked” while doing a keg stand, well, they’re going to miss out on so many wonderful things post-college life has to offer because they’re too busy living in the past. Don’t be that person.
Accept: that growing older is inevitable
Take it in, swallow it and accept it.
You will get wrinkles, your metabolism will slow down, hangovers will get worse, but guess what? It happens to everybody. Except maybe J.Lo – have you seen her lately?
Dreading the process will only cause you more stress and agony, which ironically, turns into wrinkles.
Focus: on the positives
You’ve finally made it to the point in your life where you have complete and total freedom. College gave you a taste, but now it’s the real deal.
What you do with your life from here on out is totally up to you. Want to move to Hawaii, work as a bartender and learn how to surf? Grab a longboard and go! Want to start a small ceramics business on the side of your 9 to 5? Hop on the potting wheel! Want to eat cereal for dinner and paint the walls in your apartment bubblegum pink? Eat your Lucky Charms and grab a paint brush!
Here’s another awesome part about adulthood: a livable salary. Now don’t go spend it all at once – setting a budget is one of the most important things you’ll do for yourself (more on that later), but having financial freedom is one of the most empowering feelings you’ll ever have.
Just got paid. Friday night….
Learn: what scares you
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received came from a business mentor. It’s so simple, yet impactful: if something scares you, learn it and it won’t scare you anymore.
This goes for all that “adulting” stuff that makes us tense up just by hearing the words: insurance, budgeting, credit card statements. Did you just cringe a little?
The beauty of the world today is that there are hundreds of resources at your fingertips – Google, apps galore and experts just a phone call away to help you figure these things out. Or simply ask your parents, older siblings or co-workers about their insurance policies, how they learned to budget or anything else you might be wondering about.
It’s not rocket science or even trying-to-solve-a-Rubik’s-Cube hard – it’s pretty simple stuff once you allow yourself to sit down and learn about it.
Stay: young at heart
“Don’t grow up. It’s a trap.”
Chances are you’ve seen someone Instagram this quote, or maybe have yourself. But here’s another myth I’m about to bust:
You don’t lose your youth overnight.
Although we’re raised to think it, you don’t all of a sudden wake up a new version of yourself once you enter the working world. Sure you have new responsibilities you didn’t have before, but that doesn’t mean you’re old and boring.
There’s no law saying that by the age of 25 you have to get rid of all your footy pajamas and start clipping coupons and gardening on the weekends – although more power to you if that’s how you want to spend your Saturday. Remember, one of the positive parts of post-grad life is your newfound freedom. So feel free to stay young at heart for as long as you can.
You can grow up without growing old.
*National average annual car insurance savings by new customers surveyed who saved with Progressive in 2015.