Do you “feel” like your age? Our culture, families, and friends help us create an idea of what “being 25” or “being 40” or “being 60” should look like, but the truth is, there is no one way to define what a person should have accomplished by a given age. Still, you might feel uncomfortable if your perception of yourself doesn’t align with your idea of what being an adult of a certain age should look like—but there are steps you can take to help manage those expectations and focus on your reality.
What are the milestones that traditionally signify you’ve become an adult? Moving out of your parents’ house, perhaps. Finishing college, getting married, having kids, buying a home. But circumstances like an uncertain economy and a global pandemic have made those achievements harder to pull off. At the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, over 52% of young adults lived with one or more of their parents, breaking a record set during the Great Depression. It’s not as easy as it once was to hit these benchmarks of adulthood—to say nothing of the fact you might not even want to (more on that later).
Focus on determining what your own personal idea of adulthood looks and feels like, and how close you are to achieving it.
Here are some ways to go about that:
Some of the stress you’re experiencing over your perception of your own adulthood (or lack thereof) is internal, but it’s probably influenced by outside sources. Work to identify the forces in your life that are making you feel inadequate based on your age and accomplishments, whether it’s your family, your social media feeds, or your friends. Remind yourself of the steps you carried out above, and focus on your list of accomplishments and goals, rather than your perception of theirs.
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