Becoming an adult doesn’t simply happen overnight - sure, that’s exactly what happens when you turn 18 but what about being an adult emotionally and mentally? One day it feels like you’re a child on your own and before you know it, you’re working or you’re off to university. It feels like it’s so quick that we don’t even acknowledge it until it happens. Even if the law recognises someone as a child or an adult, it’s what we feel inside that truly defines our identity.
I remember being 11 years old, and I wasn’t allowed out on my own after eight o’clock nor was I allowed past a certain point. Now, almost seven years has passed and I’m getting trains across the country by myself, learning to drive myself places and I’m moving to the capital city in six months. Seven years is long enough for me to become mature enough to do that, but when did it happen? I can’t quite recall. It feels as though I was a dependent child one minute and now I’m doing things all for myself, and I don’t even remember learning how.
When it hits you - and it’s likely that it will, and at an inconvenient time, whether it’s during your first driving lesson or on your first night in your own place - it’s hard to deal with. It can feel terrifying; the realisation that you’re suddenly alone in the big world.
* Talk to your parents or someone who you grew up with. No matter how old you are or where you’re living, chances are that they’re more than willing to help, whether you need advice on making an appointment or just someone to listen. They probably went through a similar thing when they were in their late teens.
* Talk to your friends. It’s better to go through something with other people than do it alone. You can pool your wisdom as newly independent young adults.
* Get out. The world might feel a lot bigger, so why not experience it? You could try something for the first time like going out to a night club, going to a bar or going on holiday.
* Put yourself through your paces. Do things that you know will make you scared (within reason - don’t do it to the point where it’ll be detrimental). If you haven’t done a long journey on your own before or the food shopping on your own, now is the time to learn.
* Think about the future. What do you want to do? Do you need to save up for anything? As scary as it seems, that’s the kind of thing our parents and grandparents have had to do as adults - plan ahead.
It would be wonderful if there were some kind of classes or lessons that would teach us how to ‘adult’ - sadly, there’s not.
It’s simply a learning process that we have to go through and deal with in order to progress through to the next stage of life. Plus, it’s important to remember that no one truly knows what they’re doing entirely. No matter how put together someone seems, chances are that they had a lot of learning to do to get to where they are now.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.