Growing Up: The Common Themes of Young Adulthood
As we navigate our journey into young adulthood, we encounter a wide range of changes, inquiries, and experiences. Each of us follows a unique path, yet there are some common themes that we all encounter during this period of our lives. In this article, we explore ten things that most of us worried about at some time or another during our transition to young adulthood, and reflect on the wisdom and reassurance that comes with experience.
The Pressure to Conform
One of the most common themes that we all encounter during adolescence is a desire to fit in with the “cool kids” or the popular crowd. We often worry about not belonging or not being accepted. In retrospect, we realize that being true to ourselves is far more important than trying to fit in with a particular group. Embracing our unique qualities helps us create meaningful connections and forge our own path in life.
Relationships and Love
Another common theme of young adulthood is the desire to find love and companionship. We worry about meeting “the one” and our relationship status. However, we learn that true love cannot be rushed or forced, and that self-love and self-worth are crucial elements in building any healthy relationship.
We all pass through a phase where we worry about whether we are “normal.” However, over time, we discover that there is no such thing as normal. Each person’s journey is unique, and what makes us different also makes us special. We learn to embrace diversity and appreciate the uniqueness of each individual’s story.
The Pressure to Conform
We all go through a phase where we agonize over what to say, do or wear in front of others. We worry about being judged by our peers or criticized for doing something unconventional. With time, we learn that being true to our own interests and passions, even if they are seen as “nerdy” or unpopular, is an extraordinary asset that helps us stand out from the crowd.
Rebellion and Independence
As teenagers, we longed for independence, the autonomy to live our own lives, and get our parents off our backs. Now, in retrospect, we realize that stepping away from family isn’t freedom at all, and that our parents’ guidance and wisdom are imperative, sometimes even more so than when we were younger. We acknowledge that we often miss the quiet moments under the stars and the steady support of our parents.
Comparison with Peers
In adolescence, we often worry about where we stand among our peers in terms of work, education, and achievements. However, we eventually realize that life is a unique journey, and we each have our own path to follow. Rather than comparing ourselves to others, we learn to appreciate our own personal evolution, growth, and progress.
Managing Online Presence
As digital natives, we face many new challenges regarding our online presence. Constantly worried about what others think or what impression our posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram leave on readers; this is truly a curse. We learn that social media can be an asset as well as an obstacle, but it must be used with great responsibility.
We all have been in a toxic relationship at some point in life. We had those bad friends, who were out to sabotage us and wanted to put us down for their benefit. Eventually, as we matured, we learned to avoid such toxic relationships and focus instead on building healthy and meaningful connections with people who value and respect us for who we are.
The Illusion of Clarity
In teenage years, we often experienced stress about what to do with our lives, what career path to choose and where life was taking us. We imagined that everything had to have significant meaning and be a roadmap to our future. However, as we matured, we realized that life is what we make it, and it is okay for our interests, skills, and passions to change and develop over time.
The Search for Meaning
As we enter young adulthood, we seek to understand the meaning of our experiences and our place in the world. We struggle to find significance in events and often worry that our lives may be meaningless. However, we learn that meaningful experiences can come from the smallest of things in life, and life is about cherishing those beautiful moments.
As we journey to young adulthood, we encounter vast and complex challenges that shape who we become. While these challenges may be unique to each individual, there exist common themes that are universal for all of us. Through this journey, we learn to appreciate our differences and embrace our unique stories that make us special. We grow wiser with experience and realize that true happiness and contentment come in learning to love and accept ourselves.