The term adulting is often used to express millennials’ struggle with the transition from childhood to adulthood. It is defined by Urban Dictionary as carrying “out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals.” “adulting”, Urban Dictionary.com*
My clients in the 18-30 year age bracket tell me that they feel ill-prepared, hesitant and anxious about becoming an adult. They tell me that they feel caught between childhood and adulthood. They can vote, join the armed forces, move out, go to “real” jail, but feel that they are not ready to enter the “real” world. They struggle with making decisions, fearing that they will make the “wrong” choice. Many cringe at the idea of a 40 hour a week, a stress-laden desk job, but crave financial, emotional and physical independence.
Most feel a tremendous amount of pressure to know exactly what they want to do with their lives, anguish over what to study in college and question if they should go to college at all. They feel this overwhelming sense of dread and failure when they believe that they don’t meet their own, their parents’ or what they believe to be society’s expectations for them. For some, this pressure has been present since early childhood, for others, it started in middle school or the beginning of high school. So many tell me that they have become so used to feeling worried, they didn’t realize that there was any other way of feeling.
The reality is, the world has changed. Back in the day, you were considered an adult when you turned 18. The term “adulting” didn’t exist. The law said you were an adult at 18. End of story. You most likely graduated high school and either went to college, learned a trade or entered the work force. Maybe you lived in a dorm, at home, or shared a way too small apartment with 6 of your closest friends. For some, they officially received the title “adult” when they got a job and were able to support themselves—meaning, they moved out of their childhood bedroom/got their own apartment (no roommate) and paid all of their own bills—they did not rely on their parents to provide health insurance or to pay their credit card bills, car payments or car insurance. They went home to “visit” their family or the family came to visit them in their teeny, tiny apartment. They made most of their own decisions, their parents sometimes still tried to impose their will, but mostly parents existed as a sounding board.
The world you are growing up in is dramatically different from that of your parents and grandparents. Expectations have changed, the role of parents in your life has changed, and the way you interact with the world is dramatically different.
I recognize that young adults today need a therapist who understands that times have changed and who can see the world through their eyes, with all the excitement, stress and uncertainty that comes with “adulting”. And I am here to help you navigate this uncharted journey to adulthood. Together, we will map out a path to an adulthood in which you determine your definition of success. You’ll learn how to manage your anxiety, sit with the uncertainty, and attain your goals.
Let's get started!