2015 has been paced just right – I had my first relationship, traveled as an adult, finished high school, and stayed somewhere on my own. Becoming a grown up is mildly terrifying, yet completely exciting. In this post, I seek to traverse through what I have learned about adulthood so far.
I did not consider myself an “adult” until I stayed in an apartment overnight, completely alone. There was a kitchen, a few empty rooms, and nightfall surrounding my skin and bones. It hit me – I had never stayed anywhere without my parents, my sister, or other family or friends, so I had no idea how to react to this earned silence. I sat in the bed for a while after I packed my bag for orientation the next day, and realized that I was able to survive independently, and as I heard a few drunken shouts outside of my window, my brain went into overdrive. One thing I knew for certain – going to college is a privilege, and I was not going to lose my focus for any person or any party. This is my opportunity. I fell asleep to the lullaby of the shaking blindfolds, satisfied by my own company.
Flash back a few days to a speedy adventure in New York. While I went with my mother, normally I would have been overwhelmed by the city. I was intimidated and enthralled last year, and this time, I was in a deep place of understanding with the smoke, the smell, and the onrush of crazed people. Since I had experienced travelling to Manhattan before, I was able to settle into a peaceful state of mind, and calmly trusted that everything would be okay. Sure, everyone was buzzing quickly and rushing from building to street, but I did not always try to keep up with the locals; instead, I kept up with myself. Independence in life also involves detaching one’s self from the collective mass of anonymous strangers in foreign places. I no longer felt like their eyes were pushing me, or their ears were listening for me to say the wrong thing. My travel self-consciousness and desire to blend in with the locals seemed to drift away; it does not matter what surrounding people perceive about you, because they are either wrong or don’t notice what you are doing anyway.
Letting go of high school was less momentous, as I had already been thinking about college for most of high school. However, leaving the comfort of home is still something I am working on accepting. I chose not to jet off to Manhattan for college for financial reasons, but deep down, my roots to Florida are buried deep in the southern soil. There is still more to explore here, and I accepted that I can still blossom alongside my family and home culture. I was homeschooled, so naturally many believe college will be a big transition for me, but it is really a crazy step for everyone. You can research your school all you want and know your heart, but your values will shift and many situations will test your people skills very quickly. I am prepared for the challenge and am anxious to get going in the world as a grown adult.
I realized at orientation that we are all 18 and legal adults, and we must engage in all privileges and responsibilities of adulthood. This means that we are expected to be able to form rules and make wise decisions for ourselves, instead of blindly following what our parents tell us to do. We are not lawless, but rather, law creators. This freedom can be stripped away in the fragile college time, so I aim to make my family proud and seize the opportunities that are granted to me at school and beyond.
It’s time to slip into something less comfortable: adulthood; but I am ready.