I'm Legally an Adult, and This is What Adulting Really Feels Like

Op-ed

When you're a teenager, you have very few worries. Other than school, your part-time job, and your chores, there's pretty much nothing to worry about. You'll end up worrying about your social life, your love life, your grades, and many other things, but none will greatly affect your life. However, once you become a legal adult, that all begins to change. You now have a whole new set of expectations that the world expects you to follow; Your parents will even start to push you into your new reality. College, full-time work, bills, rent, and other things will all begin to greatly run your life.

Adulting is something that many teenagers look forward to. However, what many teenagers don't realize is that with freedom comes responsibility. You have your freedom, but you have to pay for that freedom. Here, I will outline what adulting looks like. At first, It'll seem really overwhelming. However, once you get used to it, you'll start to relax.

You're 18, now what?

You have finally turned 18, and you're overjoyed that you're almost done with high school. However, real adventures have only just begun. The main things people realize once they've turned 18 are as follows. Voting, calling your own doctor's appointments, signing your own papers, applying for college, and keeping a job. You most likely won't be thinking of these things on your 18th birthday, but you'll be thinking of them later. You'll start to feel the pressures of these things either on your own or from your peers. You'll hear your classmates talking about who they're going to vote for, or your parents talking to you about moving out, or you realizing you have to start paying your own bills. These are realizations that will hit you sooner rather than later.

Moving out

Sooner or later, you will end up moving out of your parent's house. For me, it was 10 days after my 18th birthday. For others, it'll be when they move away for college. Whenever that time comes, you'll realize how expensive moving away really is. You'll want to have at least a couple of thousand dollars ready for the move. You'll need things like dishes, furniture, food, clothes, bedding, etc. And you also have to think about things like the down payment, first and last, application fee, parking fee, and the security deposit. All in all, moving out is very expensive. And it would be a good idea to set up a budget for yourself because there are many monthly things like rent, food, power, gas, insurance, phone, any subscriptions, parking, etc. And you also need a little spending money each month, so you aren't miserable at home all the time. Just make sure you are both mentally and financially prepared to leave home.

Doctor's Appointments

When you were a kid, your mom always set your appointments for you. And she'd always wake you up before school and remind you that you were leaving school early to go to the doctors. But when you are an adult, that luxury goes away. You are the one now making the calls. You have to remember to set your own yearly appointments. Or have the know-how to set an appointment when something goes wrong. And you also have to remember to go to those appointments. You don't want to pile up all those no-call-no-show fees. Keeping a calendar either on your phone or on your wall would be a very good way to keep track of these appointments. You are now in charge of these things, so make sure you are organized doing them. And make sure you have the time to treat yourself for those nasty flu shots.

Full-Time Work

Sooner or later, you will have to start working full time. Full-time typically means 32 to 40 hours per week. So, prepare to give up much of your social time, because paying your bills on time is worth it. I work the night shift, so that means I can go to school in the afternoon and work at night. Then I do my school work either before or during work. But the way you want to do your schedule is completely up to you. Some people want to wake up at dawn and have the evening to do their stuff. And some want to do the afternoon shift so they can have the morning to do stuff and night to rest. But either way, work will always need you. Make sure your job is one that you at least semi-love. No one truly loves their temporary job because aren't you going to school to get your permanent job? So, just make sure that you don't want to quit life every day because of a bad work environment. Find something you can enjoy for the short term to get to where you want to be for the long term. And enjoy the 2 or 3 days you have off every week.

Your new normal:

When I walked into the adulting life, it was a huge shock. I went from constant naps and relaxation to work, school, sleep. I soon realized that I had very little social life, and that bill ran how I was to live my life. But that's okay because that's all part of learning your new normal. I am now almost 20, and I have a very comfortable rhythm that I follow; I have a new normal that I follow. I work 40 hours a week, I sleep between 6 and 10 hours a night, and I do my school when I have time. And I also have a pattern I follow for paying my bills. Some I pay at the beginning of the month, and others I pay in the middle. And I usually base my gas and food shopping around when I get paid.

You will be very tired when you first start this process. Honestly, you will never stop being tired. However, you will grow less tired and stressed as you get used to the art of adulting. It's all about having patterns and routines. Once you have that, your life will grow more and more stress-free.

Remember that part about how freedom comes with responsibility. Yes, there is a lot of responsibility, but there is also a lot of freedom. You have the choice of either doing the dishes before or after you hang out with your friends. You have the option to do your schoolwork or not. All your choices have consequences, but that's all part of having freedom. You can stay out till 2:00 am if you want. Or you can go to bed at 8:00 pm. Whatever you want to do, you can do. It's all part of being an adult.

Plus, your mental health will take a huge boost because you will realize just how accomplished you really are. Adulting young isn't easy. So, pat yourself on the back because you just accomplished something crazy and awesome! Go for your dreams, because you got this!

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Abigail Sulfridge
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This is Abigail Sulfridge! She is 19 years old from Boise, Idaho. She has been writing since she was a kid. Writing and Acting are her passions. But she also going to College of Western Idaho to be a teacher for elementary students. She works full time with Red Fox Home Care as a Medtech.