1)It’s more expensive than you ever imagined.
If I knew being an adult was going to be this expensive I would have married a rich Nigerian man before my 18th birthday. If that failed I would have take my 21st birthday trip to Dubai, sat in a hotel foyer, and nursed a non-alcoholic cocktail in a fabulous weave until a rich Arab businessman was so enamoured with my silent splendour, that he would offer to fund me for the rest of my life with no obligation on my part. Seeing as none of this is attainable right now, I must be content to sit in a cold flat somewhere in the Midlands and plot a better escape plan.
2)You might never ‘feel’ like a grown up.
There are times that I panic in situations, searching for the nearest adult, only for it to dawn on me that I AM the nearest responsible adult. This especially happens around children.
Me: “Where’s your Mum?”
Child: “She said you were looking after me”.
Me: “Go find your Mum”.
The positive side is that this quickly brings all my *life is not fair everyone is getting married and having babies* thoughts into perspective fairly quickly.
2) Having responsibility can be scary but fun at the same time.
Sometimes people act like being a responsible adult is the worst thing that can ever happen to you. Responsibility can be fun! Yes, looking after a gaggle of 5 year olds might be petrifying, or renting a flat on your own with no parental input might make you suddenly feel the urge to get out a colouring book, squirm on the floor and wail until your mother arrives, but when you actually end up doing something by yourself (with marginal success) – it feels great!
3) People at work are NOT your friends.
I just wish I could tell this to every young person, because working with other humans has changed my worldview. Especially every young black professional – this is even more important for you. There are nice people at work. There are good people at work. There are people at work who will become your friends. BUT. They are your colleagues first. Treat them accordingly and you won’t have to worry about the person who thought was your ‘friend’ spreading your business to the receptionist on floor 3.
4) Your relationships become even more meaningful.
My ‘adult’ friendships are maybe even deeper than the friendships I made as a kid because the stakes are so much higher now. I really value the great people in my life who have been there with me through break ups, family members being ill, and crying after on call shifts. You’ll also find that despite the fact that you’re more broke, you’re now all entitled to an overdraft so you can have expensive meals together while acquiring more debt, woohoo! (I don’t advise this)
5) Many adults are childish.
When I was younger, I used to think that people over the age of 25 had a certain degree of wisdom. Your parents would say stuff like “if you don’t know, ask a grown up!”.
Now I realise that my eleven year old self was just as mature as some 25 year olds. I think that some people crack under the responsibility of adulthood. You’ll find that all the friendship drama you thought would stop at at the age of 18 just doesn’t stop, you just play with real money instead of Monopoly money. Age 16, it’s a withdrawn invitation to a a sleepover. Age 28, it’s a withdrawn invitation to a wedding. Best solution is to trade your Ribena for some grown up juice, sip on it, and spread blessings to the haters.
6) Being an adult doesn’t mean you should stop taking risks.
We encourage teenagers and young people to take risks, do amazing things, and live life to the full. Around the age of 40, we expect them to stay in jobs they hate, stop exploring the world, and resign themselves to a life of predictable boredom. There’s a difference between irresponsible risk taking (which is bad at any age) and a little bit of spontaneity. If you hate your job, start researching your options and build up a nest egg before branching out to find what you love. If you’re stuck living in a sleepy town and your itchy feet need to tap dance outta there, do it! If you’ve got a big idea that could change the world, act on it!
The best thing about being an adult is that your decisions are up to you, so don’t be scared- close your eyes, say a little prayer, and put on your big girl boots.
What do you wish people had told you about being an adult?