The Art Of Professional Adulting
THINGS I HAVE (OR SHOULD'VE) LEARNED BY THE AGE OF 20
In honor of successfully surviving two decades of growing up in Germany and turbo starting into unknown decade number three in my home of choice Brighton, I have made the attempt of carving out the bones of my life lessons so far.
“Adult” is a horrifically loosely defined word. Is it an age? Is it a mind-set? A status? The goal? - Whatever it might be, underneath it all it is a fragmentary, self-taught composition of influences, experience, pressure of social stigma, decisioning and independence. It is the gross sum of our young years. There is no defined crossing line, yet no matter the age we all start feeling that breathe down our neck every now and then - that inner voice telling us to get our shit together. It can be frightening, but it can grow wings!
By all means I am nowhere near close to the phantom-recipe of adulting, yet as we all do, I came across multiple, probably self-delusional realizations about life's meaning - moments of pseudo-wisdom that I am very happy to take as my truth for now, because frankly what else is going to help you survive the most confusing time in your life (besides a bottle of red and your friends)?
What started out as a rather superficial accumulation of proverbs and life-mottos soon turned into a pretty existential analysis of my teenage life so here they are:
1. Impatience is the worst enemy of everything you want. Period.
2. Endlessness is an endless mess! In small portions restrictions are necessary for happiness (food, timeframes, going out etc.)
3. Sometimes bad is good! Without the extremes life would just be a huge pile of meaningless events strung together by meaningless words and actions. How could we appreciate the good without the bad?
4. There’s no better way to ruin your 20s than thinking you should have your shit together already.
5. Look for something that allows you to dedicate wholeheartedly. Then never stop looking.
6. Yes, there might actually be a psycho-killer behind the door or a monster under the bed when the lights are out.
7. It’s very mentally-sustainable to invest in ephemeral things like flowers, because nothing is permanent!
8. There's no wrongs. There's just consequences! A night of no sleep might not get to you after a day, maybe a week, but it will get you.
9. Take time offline! Running too many social media accounts and a blog can be really dangerous and exhausting. Especially when you’re travelling. Trying to give output while getting a lot of input yourself is difficult.
10. Dressing for myself and listening to my mood. I love colorful clothes and glitter, but sometimes you feel like an all black jeans and shirt day and that should be fine too. Once you understand that it’s just about how clothes make you feel, you can dress the way you want to feel. Others will see that too and it all becomes a circle.
11. Change is good! We might as well get that student loan and move to another country, get that tattoo, dye your hair that colour or turn a meat eater after being vegan. Opinions change and so do we. Nothing leaves you more frustrated than sticking to the same old.
12. Loo roll and cheese are the adult version of candy and Tamagotchis. They leave you broke!
13. The glass isn't half empty! Neither should it be half full. Always pour up to the brim. If you are going to pay £5 for a pint you might as well live it up!
14. It is okay to realise you don't know how to wash your laundry properly - we've all been there.
15. There is nothing more empowering than making your own choices, regardless of the outcome.
16. You are never too old for skin breakouts unfortunately. If adulthood is a myth - so is puberty.
17. Don't risk your own mental health by trying to help others. If there are things or people in your life that bring any form of negative energy it is not selfish to put your health first. It is exactly what they should be doing so be a good example.
18. Don't overpromise! It's the one-way ticket to burnout town. Allow yourself space and time for failure and mostly: positive surprises and achievements.
19. Money can buy happiness... at least sometimes. You know this after you have lived off of pot noodles and rice crackers for a week.
20. And here comes the plot twist: after writing down all these things I have come to realise that what I actually have learned is: Forget all 19 previous points! The times are forever changing and forever changes. Trying to grasp the craziness and especially the attempt to make sense of feelings and things is the only mistake I made. It's like searching for the holy grail so just enjoy the ride!
SO HERE'S TO THE IRREPLACEABLE, INEXPLICABLE, MAGIC TWENTIES WE WILL WISH BACK AS SOON AS THE CLOCK STRUCK TWELVE ON DAY 10950!
Written by Anna Olivia Böke.