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I don’t know why, but I really thought childhood would last forever. Even though I was steadily moving towards it, I never thought I would grow up, or go to college or move out of my hometown. I thought life would always revolve around Wellington Way (where I grew up). In my mind, adulthood was a wild hypothetical scenario that called for a classic distorted thought pattern. Yeah, I know some people endure big life problems, but not me. Yeah, I know some people become adults, but not me.
To some degree, I was right. Some functioning adults are simply children with more options and responsibility. That’s where things get tough, because you can’t have options without responsibility.
If I had a dime for every time I heard someone say, “I want to be the boss of my life,” I might be able to afford my out-of-state tuition with a few less loans. Bosses are the head honchos. They delegate work to employees and deal with the paperwork. Being the boss is a little too hands-off for my taste.
On the other hand, a manager’s job lies in the weird sweet spot between leadership and grunt work. Big bosses aren’t always aware of grueling day-to-day details of the operation. Managers must know the full operation from top to bottom. They need to know what to do, how to do it and how to figure it out when all else fails. If the boss has to step in, it’s already too late. In this life, I identify more with the managers.
I manage school, work, my time, my career and my goals. Through my whole life, my biggest goal has been total independence and complete self-sufficiency. Now, I’m learning that I can only achieve this goal through copious amounts of adulting. My biggest challenge yet has been managing that green devil and I’m not talking about jealousy. I’m talking about money.
Since birth, my parents have been footing my bills. When my brother graduates from high school in May they will have paid for our secondary education, our tertiary education and our living expenses through college. Last semester, in an effort to be the smart, grateful and favorite child that I think I am, I decided to slowly pull my hands from their bag and start chasing my own. It’s September and I already regret it. Who knew toilet paper was so pricey?
I’ve been working since I was 14, but during the spring of my second year in college, I was unemployed. I started receiving an allowance again and it felt weird. I felt too old for an allowance. Trying to rid myself of that feeling, I found two jobs to help me pay my bills. This semester, I’m a storyteller with ASU Student Life and a video editor with Cronkite News.
Both jobs come with amazing opportunities, look great on my resume and I truly can’t complain about scheduling. I’m still not paying my own rent but I have cut myself off from my own allowance. Now I pay for my gas, my groceries, my clothes and my bike issues (they bought the bike). I even opened a savings account and started tithing semi-regularly. I’ve also stopped asking my parents for extra money. Now, when it’s three days till payday, I "college student" struggle with my head held high.
Although it isn’t the biggest feat, I’m proud I’ve started my financial initiative before graduation, and I’m aware of the growth that’s yet to come.
Managing my money isn’t easy, but it isn’t the most difficult part about adulting. Continuing to stay disciplined through crises, laziness and fatigue is the real test. That’s when the responsibilities really start kicking you in the face. Similarly, creating a routine isn’t as hard as sticking to the routine when things go awry.
The day I decided to write this post, I shredded my bike tire a little less than half a mile from campus. I was on my way to a work meeting and the debacle made me 15 minutes late. Situations like these are frustrating to deal with when you’re just getting into your adulting groove. Sometimes there’s no one to blame, not even yourself. I didn’t shred my tire on purpose it was a rock or nail, but I can’t yell at a rock. First of all, that’s strange. Second, anger was a luxury I couldn’t afford at the moment. Adulting requires a level of resiliency that I haven’t yet mastered.
Being an eldest child with a strong familial background, the lessons I’ve learned as an adulting pre-adult aren’t unfamiliar. The world’s not going to wait for me to get myself together. Life goes on. Work goes on. Don’t rush but get it done. Maybe next year adulting will teach me to delete my mother’s debit card from my ApplePay and stop spending my dad’s Chick-Fil-A rewards points. Probably not, though.
Story by Alexis Young, Sun Devil Storyteller
Sun Devils turn to ASU Adulting 101 to learn (some of) the things not taught in class. Not sure about how to do something? Need to connect with an expert? We got you.