Why “Growing Up” isn’t as Bad as it Seems

I’m 25 now, and I’ll gladly admit that I often miss being 21. It was a time when I had little worries, was able to go out with my friends almost every night without consequence, and I felt more confident than I had ever before. I had little responsibility.

Brian misses being 21, too. He’s 26 now and he has a kid. Things change when you have a kid. Hell, things change when you have a step-kid. When he was 21, he sang in a band, threw parties, and enjoyed the attention he got from girls who threw themselves at him because he was that mysterious bad boy with the studded leather jacket and Mohawk that sat atop his head.

Somewhere between 21 and 25, I lost a lot of friends. Not due to fights or anything like that; we kind of just went our separate ways. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I was diagnosed with PCOS and gained more than 50 pounds. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I acquired a ton of bills and debt. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I attained the responsibility of a stepdaughter every other weekend.

Doesn’t sound so great, right?

Luckily, somewhere between 21 and 25, I also met the love of my life and got engaged. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I started to learn about being responsible for myself, and finding confidence that had long been lost. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I moved into a house with my love and we started working together to pay the bills. Somewhere between 21 and 25, I attained the responsibility of a stepdaughter, who I have grown to love very much.

The problem we face as 20-somethings, more so than the simply-stated “growing up,” is the change. This is a time where we encounter the most change in our lives: we lose friends, but gain family; we find our soul mates; we spend countless hours, days and even months searching for jobs; we get married; have children; we move out and start living on our own; we, unfortunately, can lose loved ones as they pass on. This is all so exhausting! We lose our energy and, sometimes, our hope, as we search for perfect lives and for ourselves. We miss the days of no responsibilities and we just want to go out and drink ourselves into complete oblivion without thinking of any kind of consequence, but those days are long behind us.

Adjusting to change is so hard. I totally get it. It sucks.

I’ve self-diagnosed myself with “seasonal depression.” Come January, I never want to go out. As such, I’d stayed inside my house, in my pajamas, for the past few weekends. While I thought I was simply relaxing, I still woke up feeling fatigued, frustrated and totally unsure. This past weekend, though, Brian and I decided to be a little “spontaneous.”

We’re broke AF right now because we’re working on catching up on the bills, but we had gift cards to Starbucks and the Christmas Tree Shop. We thought to ourselves, “Let’s get out of this house. Let’s go get some Starbucks, let’s blast music in the car and let’s use this gift card to buy a bunch of random crap from the Christmas Tree Shop.”

That’s exactly what we did. We dropped off some laundry at my parents’ house and we got in the car and we left. We didn’t think about the need to continue to unpack our things. We didn’t think about the fact that we needed to paint the bathroom still. We didn’t think about the misery that would come when we returned to work on Monday. And we had a blast.

A photo posted by holly anne silva🌺 (@floggingholly) on

That’s the beautiful thing about growing up. You learn to appreciate those things that you took for granted. You begin to appreciate the friends you still have—the few who stuck by you after you got engaged, had a kid or got a new job. A trip to Starbucks after a busy week suddenly seems like a mini vacation. Treating yourself (which you definitely took for granted before you acquired bills) to things, even if it’s just a $10 pot-rack for the kitchen in your apartment, is exciting, fun and relieving.

I guess what I’m trying to say is … if you’re feeling a little blue because you’re dealing with change, try not to stress it. There’s good and bad in every situation, and it’s your attitude towards it all that counts. Treat yourself once in a while and enjoy a day out here and there.

Now, all this talking about Starbucks has got me craving it! Maybe I’ll use what’s left on my gift card and get myself another chai tea latte …

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