Five Tips for a Young Adult
Jumping into the abyss of being a young adult can be a really weird experience. You have new goals, expectations, issues, and your friends and family are all in different stages of life. One day you’ll be enjoying your life, and the next you’ll be spiraling feeling like you’re not successful. When the reality is you’re still young and yet here you are feeling like you’re running out of time. The more we can talk about how weird early adulthood is, the less crazy we can feel about it. But first, let’s do a quick life check-in:
- Where are you right now in life?
- How do you feel about this stage?
- Are you satisfied with your friendships/relationships?
- What do you feel like isn’t working right now?
- What goals do you have right now?
- How do you want to improve yourself?
If we’re being honest, I definitely have been going through waves of feeling really accomplished to feeling overwhelmed and pressured. It’s a constant push-pull of emotions and experiences which can be a lot to process. To combat this, I’ve come up with a few tips that have helped me over time.
Tip 1: Know That There is No Correct Timeline
There’s so much pressure out there to get your life together and be successful when you’re young. The more I see people my age doing incredible, extraordinary things, the less accomplished I feel. The reality is your timeline for how you live your life shouldn’t be measured by others around you. Of course, there are going to be expectations and assumptions. However, if you live your life in fear of not meeting those expectations or goals, you will never appreciate your young adult years.
This is something I’m still struggling with. I know that my fear of not meeting my own expectations and goals is a huge part of my motivation. It puts me in an unhealthy headspace at times. If I can’t appreciate the process and only focus on my fear of not being successful, I’ll miss out on a lot.
It’s important to recognize what makes you feel like you’re “behind.” For me, that’s TikTok. Social media in general can put you in a downward spiral of not feeling accomplished. But the one app that can make me feel stressed and unaccomplished is TikTok. What’s interesting about a for you page is when you like a few videos, you’re suddenly spammed with related content that you showed a slight interest in.
In the past, I’ve liked a few finance and job-related TikToks. Now my page is full of young adults around my age boasting about how easy it is to earn money, why you need to start a business, why you should be “grinding” and motivated all the time etc. I still love TikTok but constantly seeing videos about others’ success can bring upon more feelings of being “behind.”
It’s natural to question whether or not you’re going in the right direction when you see someone else’s life, and they appear to be further than you. It’s always been repeated that comparison kills but it’s 100% true. The reason we feel rushed and that we need to be more successful at a young age is the comparison cycle of seeing how your personal timeline compares to those around you.
Tip 2: Practice being Adaptable
As a young adult, you learn very quickly that something you plan for can go completely opposite and you’ll have to learn how to adapt and change your way of thinking. Finding new ways to solve issues can really pay off. I can be stubborn about how I solve problems, but over time I’ve learned that my ways of solving issues aren’t always the right option. Even if it’s a good idea.
There are so many things in life that you’ll try to plan out. I’m all for staying organized and prepared, but it’s even more important to know how to handle yourself when plans don’t go accordingly. Adaptability is just an overall good skill to constantly work on if it’s work-related or not.
When I was in college it was easy for me to plan. I knew what to expect, I knew what my schedule was, I knew what I needed to prioritize, etc. When you leave that environment, that idea of knowing what to expect goes out of the window. When you enter an environment where there’s an extreme level of not knowing what’s coming next it’s easy to overthink. If you’re like me and you like to be prepared, it’s definitely a shock when you really have to figure it out as you go.
This TED Talk by Natalie Fratto explains adaptability well. What we know about adaptability is that it can be improved over time. Finding ways to unlearn and relearn something by asking more “what if” questions naturally sets us up for success with being more adaptable. Everything will always change around us and if we’re unable to move with those changes, personal improvement will be difficult.
Tip 3: Don’t Beat Yourself Up For Feeling Unmotivated
It’s okay to not feel motivated. There will be a lot of times where all you’ll want to do is watch re-runs of trash TV and sit on your ass all day. Totally Fine! If your body and mind tell you “I’m too tired today, I need to slow down” then you need to listen. A lot of the time we associate feeling unmotivated as being lazy and I don’t believe that’s 100% true.
Ignoring your basic needs and trying to work through them because you feel unmotivated can do more harm in the long run. You’re not lazy if you experience waves of feeling unmotivated. Whatever it is you’re feeling unmotivated about, a lack of motivation can cause you to be lazy. Without drive and passion for something, you’re not going to do it.
It’s better to notice and recognize when you’re feeling unmotivated and take a step back to reassess what you need, rather than trying to work through it and hope that your feelings of being unmotivated go away over time. That probably won’t happen. Setting down your work and realizing you’re no longer excited about it will make room for new projects and hobbies that can give you back that motivation you lost.
You’re not a failure if you feel lazy and unmotivated. That’s usually a sign you need to stop what you’re doing and ask yourself if what your doing is still making you happy. And if not, you can move on.
Tip 4: Pay Attention to Your Passion Projects
Although I work full-time, I make sure to find time to work on my passion projects. With Chaotic Good being the largest one. When you’re a young adult you’ll experience the overwhelming feeling of “Oh my god all I do is work and everything feels the same every day. Is this all that life is about?”
You need extra hobbies, interests, and passion projects if you want to stay sane. People aren’t meant to work their lives away. It’s okay to explore what you love, you’re supposed to do that. When you start working, it shouldn’t mean you have to throw away or sacrifice your interests.
It can be difficult to find time to dedicate to new hobbies or interests. The way I go about new hobbies, interests, or personal projects is I make sure to set aside some time in the week as well as make the most of my weekend.
One website I like to use to organize what I have to do and what I want to make time for is Notion. It’s great for organizing your schedule, you can create to-do lists, you can use it to take general notes, and you can use it to help organize and prioritize your hobbies. There’s a ton of different templates and ways to customize your pages.
Finding new hobbies and interests is so fun but setting aside dedicated time when you’re already juggling work, family, and friends can be a lot. By making sure you make time to spend on your passion projects, you’ll enjoy the experience more. Having a well-rounded balance of work, hobbies, friends, and family is ideal but it’s not always easy to juggle. The more you practice setting aside time for yourself and your interests, the better your mental health will be in the long run.
Making lists and organizing what you want to make time for will help. If you have hobbies that you truly love, you’ll naturally find time to dedicate yourself to those interests.
Tip 5: It’s Okay to Mourn a Past Version of Yourself
Growth means you change and adapt who you are over time and this can be overwhelming. As much as it’s celebrated, it’s okay to admit that seeing yourself change over time can be sad and scary. When you move through different phases of life, you’ll change. Your hobbies, goals, interests, friends, and jobs will change a lot during early adulthood and as much as it is exciting, a part of you might feel mournful of your past self.
“Sometimes we have to grieve the loss of our past self. Ultimately, this is what sets you free.”
In order to make room for new experiences and goals, we need to leave behind an old version of ourselves. Maybe it’s sad because we know we’re leaving a comfortable spot. Going out and trying new things means you have to leave what you felt comfortable with and that can be a stressful experience.
You can miss aspects of an older version of yourself but it’s never going to be that way again. Different phases of your life will come and go and this, in turn, makes room for growth. I’ve changed a lot over the years and I’ve had many moments where I’ve felt mournful of my past life and how quickly things can change.
There are specific memories and events I really miss from my former years. Sometimes, I go through waves of missing who I was in the past versus not missing my old self at all. Does that make sense? I miss the memories but when I think about my past I’m able to realize how much I’ve changed and grown over the years. Every phase of your life will bring on new issues. If we dwell too long in the past and spend our time thinking about how things could’ve been if we went back in time, we can’t push forward and grow in the ways we need to.
If there’s anything to take away from this week’s post it’s that you should pat yourself on the back if you’re a young adult going through it. Life is tough sometimes and there can be a lot of pressure to succeed, know what you want, have a balanced social life, have a perfect job, have a perfect family, etc. There is no right way to go about your young adult years. However, if you spend all your time worrying about your future, you won’t be able to stop and appreciate and enjoy what you have now.
You have a lot more time than you think you do.