What does successful "Adulting" look like?


Do you recall thinking about all those adult dreams you had?

And how awesome life would be?

Maybe while you were planning college, starting your first adult job or starting to seriously date. It may have been as you were planning the joyous days of mommyhood ahead. You envisioned a life that is defined by you, and filled with moments that taste sweet.

You may have a sense that things are working out. Life feels like it's going to plan, as you had hoped. Or, some of you may have faced some super bumpy places, yet kept going. You may have ended up at a slightly different destination yet are still plowing ahead at your goal.

A popular comment that comes up often in my office is the sentence "I didn't think becoming an adult would be this hard!"

 Many people have wanted to finally feel independent, make decisions and play out their lives. Some have been excited about giving their own little ones a better life than they had. What is sometimes forgotten is the fact that things don’t just "slip into place".

A good life is built, not just fed to you.

The truth is, adulting is scary. No one can say it's a smooth stage in life.


We all know about the "Midlife Crisis" adults go through. 

The Quarter Life Crisis refers to a similar phase that young adults and adults face. It's a time period filled with endless doubts, worries, concerns and a feeling of "not getting it right". There are lots of unanswered questions begging to be answered. This is the phase of "figuring it all out". You may feel like a grand mess inside yet seem "together" on the outside. Or you may feel like things are ok, but there's an internal nagging feeling that won't go away.

The "what if's" may keep you up at night .

What if I don't graduate college...

What if I mess up on the job and they realize I'm a failure behind this facade...

What if I'm unlovable...

What if my partner realizes the issues I have beneath the smile...

What if my kids realize I don't have it all figured out...

What if the world realizes I'm a fraud at this "adult thing" ...

What if I'm incapable of taking care of my responsibilities ....

You may be worried to share these fears with others because they seem to have it "together", and you're worried what they'll think if they know that you're scared and insecure beneath your facade. 

Here's the thing I want you to know. Becoming an adult comes with a whole array of unique struggles that aren't spoken about.

  1. Defining who you are as a person.

  2. Figuring out what your values and beliefs are.

  3. Starting to think about and implement the lifestyle you'd like to live.

  4. Your hopes and dreams for the kind of relationships you'd like to have

  5. How to make money, manage money and develop a good relationship with money (that's a big one!).

  6. Figuring out how to parent your children in a healthy, loving way.

  7. Juggling the roles at work and defining a solid career path.

These are just some of the many thoughts that come up . You may have parents, older siblings or friends who want to be helpful and tell you how to do it "right". However,  if you're a  20 to 30-something-year-old, you'll find that the reality you're navigating has a completely different set of challenges than those of the generation before you. 

Given that, I want you to know that:

You have permission to not have it all figured out.

You're okay.

Your feelings are real.

Your reality is normal.

 Just so you know you're not alone in this, according to the National Institute of Mental health, nearly a third of young adults have a anxiety and a fourth have some sort of depressive disorder. These numbers are here to let you know there are a bunch of people facing the same kind of struggle, right in this moment. You may have anxiety, worries, negative thoughts or doubts that visit unexpectedly.  It's so hard, and, it's also so normal for right now.

What to do with the worry and doubt?

  1. Get yourself a compass. When the water gets murky or when you're traveling new waters, you need your compass to guide you. Clear direction provides clarity and reminds you of your inner strength as you pave your pathway and forge ahead.
  2.  Knowledge to anchor you. Remind yourself what you're doing and why you're doing it. Knowledge serves as an anchor when things get uncertain and when the terrain feels dark. Having a sense of purpose and direction is what keeps you moving forward.
  3. Lean on your supports. Have someone to turn to when things get wobbly and you're needing an anchor.  Identify your supports. Let them know what you need at this time. A shoulder to lean on, a word of encouragement or maybe a piece of wise advice or insight. If you're not sure who to turn to, you may need to allow more supports in your life, be it the support of a mentor, a  teacher, a therapist or someone who you respect, someone a few steps ahead. Don't do this on your own,

And once you've got your anchor of knowledge and support network, I'm going to remind you that....

You have a right to exist in the world exactly as you are. The world has space for you to explore the confusion, the bits of knowledge and the clarity you get over time. You have the right to slowly identify your individuality and your unique strengths, and wisdom that rings true to you.

As you adult, you slowly find your spot on the platform of adult living, and begin to own it. This is your life. The more you define yourself, the more you breathe through the unknown, and keep at the growth and upward progress, the more solid you become. You define a solidity that is yours, a solidity that keeps you moving with more grace, confidence, finesse and power.

Figuring out where you're at isn't meant to be rushed, you're not running a sprint, you're training for the marathon of "adult life".

The questions, they start being answered. The doubts, they slowly melt, and your wisdom, it does get louder. A new path in a dirt trail gets deeper and clearer as you walk it. Go ahead, dig in and define your trail.

This is your life.

Your future.

The world awaits you.

Cheers and blessings!



Esther GoldsteinComment