I always knew that when I graduated college, my lifestyle would never be the same. No more sleeping in almost every day, no more neglecting responsibilities to hang out with friends, and no more all-night video game marathons (on a week night at least). I experienced a dramatic shift in lifestyle when I graduated high school, and I’ll probably experience it again when I hit my thirties. One thing is definite; change is always stressful. It’s almost like your whole world is upside down, and you had wished you had nailed things to the ceiling in preparation.
On the one hand, I’m eager to prove myself and begin the next chapter of my life. On the other, I’m afraid to regress back into the comfortable lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. There are certain realizations that have to be made in order to make it through the first year of a new way of living, and while I might only be three months in, the quicker I accept the reality, the less stressful this shift in perspective will be.
Here are the six things you will realize when going through a lifestyle change.
1. You will disappoint someone. The people you know are used to your old way of life. When your life changes, the things that are important to you aren’t the same as they used to be. Your friends may want to talk you out of your new choices, and it might be hard to turn them down. But, in order to move forward you will have to disappoint some people who aren’t ready to accept that your life isn’t the way it used to be. At the same time, you will also make those who are important to you proud of your ambition. Showing self-discipline proves that you can handle your new adult responsibilities. It’s okay to disappoint some people, as long as you don’t let down yourself in the process.
2. You will feel like you’re having an identity crisis. You should know yourself pretty well at this point in life. You grew up with yourself, and you know things that no one else ever will. Being young gives you a beautiful outlook on life. We haven’t been jaded by the world, and we clutch on to our optimism as if we can sense someone is going to convince us to let go of it at some point. Growing up is a real thing, and wether we realize it or not we will start to make conscious decisions to take care of ourselves. Responsibility becomes an impulse, and one day we may wake up and never have the urge to do a keg stand again. We aren’t as familiar with this version of ourselves. Realizing you’re a grown up might make you panic, but relax. You’re still you, you just have a new way of prioritizing things.
3. You will worry all the time. It’s actually very daunting to think about how many things adults pay for. It makes me wonder how there is any time or money left for the fun things. When your life is changing right before your eyes, you will naturally be worried about where you will end up. You’ll worry if you’ll be able to afford it. You’ll worry if anyone will still be standing around you after the spiral of change finally comes to a halt. The thing to keep in mind is that worrying only hinders the present, it doesn’t prevent the future from happening. The best advice I can give you is to focus your energy on things that are in your control. Everything else will just have to happen as it is meant to.
4. You will cope in strange ways. With a new lifestyle comes new behaviors, and even those you don’t notice right away. Because I don’t have a job or money to do things, I spend a lot of time at my house. By the end of the day, I’m itching to get out of it. I’ve been going on a lot of night drives, just aimlessly cruising around with really loud music, being my own captain and going wherever I feel like. It’s strange, but it takes my mind off the stress and it helps me do some introspective thinking. Some people find a new hobby, some people become gym buffs, I go driving. Whatever does the trick, right?
5. You will doubt yourself. Yes, the thought that you are miserably failing is likely to cross your mind. You got rejected by another job interview, your car breaks down and you can’t afford it, you begin to question your interests because the job market is more difficult than you expected. Is it too late to go back to school? Should I just accept my fate as a minimum wage smoothie maker that lives with her parents? It’s true, when things don’t happen in the easy way we imagine them, it can be discouraging. But be sure to keep a strong head, and don’t doubt yourself for more than a second. Reassure yourself that you’re here for a reason and the right opportunity will come when you’re ready to recognize it.
6. You will discover where you belong. For all of the places I’ve been, I’ve never been sure which one I belong in. I do have a powerful feeling that I’m getting closer, though. It’s almost like a string of past romantic relationships. Never finding the right fit, learning from mistakes, powering forward even though your heart was broken. And then, when it is least expected, there it is in front of you as clear as day. Waiting to find you just as you had been waiting to find it. You may not be there yet, but I can assure you that discovering the place in the world where you feel the most yourself is worth the wait.
So, if it feels like your life is spinning out from beneath you, take a step back and breathe for a minute. Change isn’t meant to be easy, it isn’t supposed to be simple, and it definitely isn’t predictable. The takeaway here is to embrace the chaotic process of growing up. It doesn’t happen overnight, but you have the power to make it easier on yourself if you realize that change is inevitable. Entering a new phase of life is something to be proud of, embrace it for all it’s worth.