How to be an Adult 101

Life does not give us an instruction manual when we are born. Our instructions come in the form of experience. Thus, we cover a lot of uncharted territories.

Walking. Talking. Eating. Running. Jumping. Going to school (K-12). Our first crush. How to actually ask said crush on a date. The pain of rejection. The joy of acceptance. Graduating high school. Choosing a college. All of this happens in a flash. Before you know it, you’ve graduated from college and you’re expected to be an adult.

How do I do that? What does that even mean?

Truthfully, the concept of being an adult is being mature enough to make wise, age appropriate decisions. By the time we reach the age of adulthood in the United States (18), some don’t even have a clue how to pay bills much less be totally independent. It takes years of experience to acquire these skills. And some people still don’t grasp them by the time they pass.

Insert the instruction manual.

We draw on experiences to help us in present situations. We learn (should anyway) how to navigate life through the past. Sometimes these situations may be misconstrued by us. Thus, we need a new experience to teach us the correct lesson. Other times they are accurate. Thus, we know how to move in the situation. Experience is a training ground for knowledge and understanding.

Experience is what makes life beautiful.

We have not encountered everything. Thus, some knowledge escapes us. As an adult, it’s okay to admit you don’t know. I don’t know plenty and I have no trouble saying that. However, some run through life feigning to be on top of everything. That’s not practical. Life throws too many curve balls for us to be smacking homers every swing. Many times we strikeout. Not only do we strike out. We don’t even hit a foul. We whiff.

What do you do when you don’t have experience in an area?

Ask someone.

We don’t travel through this life alone. Unless you’re a total recluse, people are around us every day. There is someone around you who has the knowledge you need. It is up to you to ask and listen.

This post began as an account regarding me buying my first set of furniture yesterday. That’s a huge adult decision. I started looking about 2-3 years ago. Browsing here and there. Nothing serious. I had to get my finances in order before I could make a big purchase. However, yesterday was a different story. I was finally ready to buy something. I sat/laid on couches galore. I finally made my decision, but I wasn’t comfortable. In that, I reached out to my mom to get an assurance that I was doing the right thing.

I, a 31-year-old male, needed my mommy.

This whole situation made me think about what it means to be an adult. Is it big decision making? A maturity level? Freedom? Indepence? All of the above? Maybe we are looking at adulthood in a narrow-minded fashion. Let’s look at it like this.

Adulthood is learning.

We will learn until the day we die. Even death is a new experience because we will only go through it once (if you’re saved). Learning is a key to this life. The more we learn, the more knowledge we have to make correct decisions. Understanding we still make mistakes and having the humility to correct them equals maturity. This lesson will be taught many times over.

I endeavor to pass.

I’m still taking the Adulthood 101 course. I think I’m doing pretty well.

How about you?

[Image Credit Flickr via Alan Levine]

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