Growing up is tough. We all want to know how to properly “adult” and do things correctly so we can be as successful as possible. All of our peers seem to be doing better or outrunning us in the rat race of succeeding in the adult world. How do we keep up and stay sane at the same time? Experts call the stages of growing into adulthood a series of “emerging adulthood” experiences. They understand that growing from a young teenager into a young adult feels like an incredibly exciting yet confusing time. Adults who are the ages of eighteen to thirty are considered to be going through the most important period of constant transition as they grow out from the dependency of adolescence to balancing all the responsibilities that comes with reality.
Whether your goal is to become the next fortune 500 CEO, an entrepreneur, an artist, a counselor, or a viral blogger, knowing the tricks to staying heathy and mentally motivated is key. Let’s cover features of emerging adulthood for anyone who’s still figuring out how to be the perfect adult.
From Teenager to Professional
The experiences of emerging adulthood are broken down into a series of five stages. This is the way experts map out each person’s mental and physical development as they grow up from a young teenager into an adult who is venturing out into the world. No matter who you are, you’re going to experience constant change, obstacles, and new experiences as you grow into adulthood. There’s no reason to believe that the way things are today will be the same tomorrow, in the month or the next year.
For teenagers, they are living through the first stage of emerging adulthood called the age of identify exploration. As the name suggests this stage is where teens explore their passions, new relationships, and learn more about themselves. They begin to gain a sense of what their initial strengths and weaknesses are and how they react well to criticism around them. They begin developing their personalities as well and expand their abilities to practice critical thinking from school. Some teenagers can easily become overwhelmed and feel like they need to resort to addictive substances like drugs or alcohol to deal with stress. This is highly common and a huge issue, especially within the United States. Mental health in learning teenagers is critical as they likely will bring their habits with them into college and young adulthood afterwards.
As teens start going into college and graduate into the career world, they embark on the next stage of emerging adulthood. This stage is calledthe age of instability and is marked by thousands of new twist and turns on their path to accomplish their dreams. Change can feel like a constant and there is no “final destination” during the age of instability as individuals test out new career paths, new cities to live in, new romantic relationships, and new ways of living. They may not see the friends that they once lived close by from in college anymore and must expand outside their social comfort zone. In the US especially, the rate of moving has become extremely high as young adults are traveling for college, new jobs, romantic relationships, or to “make it” in a certain industry.
Past the instability stage marks a stage of some consistency for growing young adults. This stage is called a self-focused age as young people begin to settle down more and seek residency in an environment that feels right for their needs at the time. This stage brings real “adulting” behaviors as the once teens being managing their own finances, taxes, schedules and long term goals. They still may feel like a young teenager trapped in the workplace and society of older adults who seem to understand so much more than them. Taking care of one’s mental health at this stage is more crucial than ever and is extremely tied to one’s physical wellbeing.
After life beings to follow a more common pattern, young adults then begin the emerging adulthood phase called the “in between.” This name is made for a reason as some adults either feel like life is still chaotic and boring in routine at the same time. Someone may not feel like an “official” adult yet, but they certainly are not a young child anymore either. I personally feel like I’m at this stage since I’m surrounded by older adults or have friends already starting families, but I still feel like a college student who’s figuring out their own way of life. This feeling comes up the most when a young adult feels like they have a strong grasp over their parts of their life while still needing lots of guidance in another. We all need years of learning to break into our careers as well, so working in a corporate environment or with others who are highly experienced can further emphasize this grey area. Lots of mistakes are made in this period and risks are encouraged to be taken for the learning experience!
The final stage of emerging adulthood includes the age of possibilities. It is during this period of time that people take responsibility to chase after what they want and keep their hope at an all-time high. This is one of the most exciting periods and can change the trajectory of where life can lead to. Obstacles will come every person’s way and it’s their job to overcome them by growing their perspective and ability to understand different ideas. Young adults learn to grow through their flaws and develop into an improved version of themselves. Find a mentor in your personal life, career’s industry, or within your area of hobby to find ways to keep growing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be patient with yourself along the process.
Strive For Consistent Growth
Even if you’re already a grown adult who is reaching their mid-twenties or early thirties, there’s no reason to stop learning and experiencing new things. Taking a new class or learning a new language isn’t only for teenagers who are still going to school. Make your mind as open as possible to keep growing so you can continue to challenge yourself as you grow accustomed to your job, family life, or surroundings. The key is that the more comfortable we are the less potential we have to keep surprising ourselves with new potential. Say yes to new opportunities and don’t turn down different opinions or experiences because they feel too unfamiliar. You’ll be surprised the next time you get out of your comfort zone and try!
At the same time, be sure to maintain a healthy balance between your work life, your physical health, and your mental health so you have the strength and motivation to keep going. If you or anyone you know is feeling too burnt out by the hustle of life, they should ask for professional help and seek mental support. Your health is all you have at the end of the day so be sure to take care of it!