What a time to be alive.
There is not a single millennial who has not felt the deep, unsettling feeling that their life is scattered and tumultuous, no matter how diligently they try to eat their vegetables or sort their laundry. We are hyper aware of the little inadequacies that leave us feeling paralyzed. We all sense our own dysfunction so clearly. This is compounded by the constant messaging from our online peers that our life is not fulfilling enough–that we don’t travel enough, that we don’t work out enough or clean our house enough. By everyone on the sidelines, we, millennials, are told we are lazy, entitled and spoiled little snowflakes. Furthermore, we are beginning to see the looming threat of the worst economic downturn in American history look us dead in the face. And it becomes fucking sink or swim. Suddenly, the one area where we fall short begins to feel like the area of miserable failure that will ultimately stop us from becoming a fully realized, functional adult.
It may be our crippling anxiety. It may be the fact that we can’t go on a successful first date when all our friends seem to be setting down. It may be our credit score. It may even be the fact that we don’t even know what a credit score is.
All of this can make us feel incredibly and impossibly alone. Or depressed. Or completely burnt out. As someone who graduated at 25 and is still living under their parents’ roof, trust me when I say, I get it. So, I am in no way saying that I have everything figured out. I don’t know a single millennial who can confidently say this with a straight face. However, there are a few basic things that I managed to get right, even naturally. I was able to swap my neutrogena face wipes for an extensive skincare regimen that focuses on aging prevention. I opened a 401k. I added shoes with actual arch support into my collection (I’m still working on the part where I actually get rid of my $28 clubbing heels that I can’t seem to part with). I can proudly say that I no longer have hot cheetos and cigarettes for breakfast. While some parts of adulting have come easier than others or never came at all, I am confident that you, too, will eventually find the habits, decisions and small discoveries that ultimately allow you to look and feel the part.
You are a grown-up simply by virtue of acting and handling situations like a grown-up.
Adulting isn’t measured by whether we still need to call our dads for help while filling out government forms (this will always happen), or the number of parking tickets we still get (street cleaning is a bitch and this will always happen). Oftentimes, it means fixing small inconveniences before they fester into full-blown disasters and giving yourself credit for minor victories. It means accepting that you aren’t special, but also that your actions still matter as they are part of a greater consequential something. Even though things seem–and are–hard and impossibly inaccessible, we still have agency over many vital outcomes. Rather, I found the the most growing I have ever done was, and still is, measured by: