What it’s like to be legally an adult

Everyone has an image in their head of what they will be like at 18. They often imagine themselves moving away from their parents. Or, they imagine themselves staying with their parents and focusing on college. Some have no idea what they want to do, so they decide to stay addicted until they figure it out. Either way, there are a lot of expectations versus reality when it comes to being an adult. If you choose to move at 18, you get your freedom. But you also get bills, taxes, responsibilities, and pressures to keep food on your table. If you live with your parents, there’s pressure from college, whether you want to vote or live up to your parents’ expectations.

Adulthood can be tough, but almost everyone gets used to it eventually. Adulthood is like high school in a way. It’s hard at first, but you eventually find your rhythm. Eventually you find a system to track your bills, track your education and work. But there is also shopping, keeping your house clean, keeping your pets alive, etc. etc etc All the things you used to find useless at home suddenly become useful information.

Even the smallest things become huge. The new vacuum cleaner you have. Your Netflix has become cheaper. You have a coupon for the restaurant you always wanted to go to. Your mother buys you dinner or gas when the money is short. The little things start to become important. And you realize that education will be very helpful in the future because most people don’t want to continue working in fast food all their lives.

Either way you are facing adulthood, you just need to think about how you would like to live your life. But also stay a bit in survival mode with a limited budget.

10 days later

I turned 18 on September 30, 2019. Ever since I was 15, I knew I wanted to move our right into adulthood. And I made it possible. I saved money for a very long time. I shopped second hand for kitchen essentials. I started packing my bags at the beginning of the summer. I was so ready to move out of my parents’ house. In September, a few days before I turned 18, I met this couple who had rented out a room. I interviewed them and was accepted for the room. 10 days after I turned 18, I moved into my new home. I was beyond the reach of my parents. I could make my own decisions. I was still in high school, but it was an easy semester. I worked full time. I paid my bills on time. I was directing it.

But, as I escaped the stress of being with my parents, I gained the stress of being an adult. Suddenly there was the pressure of real deadlines. There was the threat of losing my apartment if I didn’t pay my rent on time. I was paying for a Hulu subscription. I had to pay my share for prescriptions and doctor’s appointments. There were pressures to vote a certain way. I suddenly had to remember to do my laundry and clean up. I had to prepare or buy all my food. I had to make my appointments myself. Pay your credit card bills on time. etc., etc., etc.

In fact, I faced the most stress in early adulthood. I lost my job and had to scramble to find a new one. I was late on paying rent. I faced eviction. But eventually I found a new job and managed to pay my rent. I was then able to concentrate on the last part of my school and on my work. I was able to focus on my needs and my sleep schedule. Everything ended up working out for the best.

You have routines, whether conscious or subconscious. The most common routine is that of your school. You end up creating a routine for yourself as an adult. You determine when payments are due. You make a time slot for school. You devote time to your hygiene and your free time. And you also try to sleep more than 6 hours. But we quickly get to the heart of the matter.

There are more bills than people realize. Me personally, I have Hulu, CBS All Access, car insurance, phone, rent, gas, and a credit card that I pay monthly. But you also have medical bills, prescriptions, car repairs/maintenance, food, clothes, hygiene products, etc. And you have to find some sort of budget with your income so you don’t get into debt. You should also prioritize your bills from most important to least important. It’s a process, but you’ll get there.

It’s hard, but good

Everyone is afraid of the unknown. And adulthood is one of the biggest unknowns. Although adulthood can be difficult and stressful at times, it is one of the greatest rights of passage. The moment you take your last box out of your nursery. The moment you drive to your college dorm or apartment. Your first late bill. Your first vote. Your first all-nighter for school. Your first double shift. Your first nap in weeks. This is the fifth time you’ve eaten ramen this week.

It’s all part of the adult process. And all that work now will only create a better future later. Like getting your degree. Or finally have enough saved to buy a house. Wedding. Kids. Your first drink. Your first road trip.

You have to go through all the stages before you can feel complete in your life. And turning 18 and officially being an adult is just the beginning.