I look at my bank balance and do some quick mental math. “Okay, so after I pay rent and my student loan payment comes out, I should have… $42 for the next two weeks. At least it’s not in the negatives.”
I’m struggling a little bit. My finances are a mess, I still struggle to make a doctor or dentist appointment on my own, and my work-appropriate wardrobe is meagre. The little bully in my head starts whispering: “You’re 24 now, almost halfway through 24 actually. Why don’t you have it together?” I tell it to shut up and swallow a bit more wine.
I went straight from high school to university, straight from my parent’s basement to a residence building. University in so many ways is an extension of high school. You don’t reeeaaally have to grow up, not yet. I mean, maybe some people do, but I didn’t. I moved into residence, and I had a meal plan (so I didn’t grocery shop or cook) and a curfew, and I still didn’t drive. My mother did my laundry all through my first year of university! (Thanks, Mum. You are the best).
Then I moved out of residence into an apartment with my sister (still didn’t drive) and was catapulted into this new world of almost adulthood. Bills, laundry, groceries. Do you know how hard it is to buy groceries when 1. You don’t drive, and 2. Dairy Queen is literally 30 steps from your back door?
THEN I finally finished university. I remember as I approached graduation I thought to myself, “Huh, I guess I’ll see what all this adulting stuff is really about. At least I drive now.” I thought it would be a breeze. But then I couldn’t find a job within 5 seconds of looking and thought I’d have to be a cake decorator at Sobeys. Fortunately, I did find a job in my field (I am very, very fortunate in this regard) but found that jobs in my field don’t pay six figures (who would have thought). I moved into a house with my best friend and her sister (sometimes sisterS), started my dream job (for quite a bit fewer dollars), and adulthood really set in. It kinda sucks (or maybe it is/was my attitude). Bills up to my eyeballs, a car to put gas in, insurance to pay, student loans breathing down my neck. There were days in the not so distant past when I would buy the bare necessities for food because my bank account couldn’t stretch that far, pay days when within 4 hours, I had pretty close to $0 because all my bills came out at the same time.
I have a job that I love but that is also extremely exhausting. I’d come home from work expecting to do something useful and productive (Exercise! Clean the baseboards! Have a social life! Record a vlog!) and then sit in my bed and watch 18 episodes of _____ (fill in show here). Rinse and repeat.
I don’t feel like I’m a good adult. I mean, I do work out (sometimes). There’s (usually) food in my house. I (almost) made a budget. I do all my own laundry (by throwing it all in one load and crossing my fingers for the best). I manage to scrape together enough money to fly to Nova Scotia once in awhile to see my boyfriend (who ISN’T a douchebag, which is a GREAT success if you know anything about my former dating choices).
Yet I feel all this pressure to do more than I’m already doing, even though I feel like I’m going to implode from all the stress. In fact, sometimes I almost do implode and end up crying while doing the squats I feel like I’m supposed to do in order to be a successful adult!
So what, I’m struggling. I’m trying to get my two feet on solid ground, and sometimes I don’t have anything more to my name than my overwhelming student loan debt, my cat named Felicia, and my friends who love me. Is that so bad?
Yes, it took me a year and a half to ask a professional about why my face hurts all the time, but I did it. I also called Health Link and made several appointments when I had weird abdominal pain without waiting six months (and only complained a little bit). PROGRESS.
So what, sometimes I’m so tired from doing something I am so passionate about (seriously, ask me about an STI and I’ll tell you WAY more than you want to know) that I sit in my bed like a lump and just watch TV. Why not do all that while I can before there are mini-Kirstens running around needing my care and attention?
Young adults/slightly-older adults/old adults put so much pressure on themselves to have it all together all the time. I’m still figuring out a budget and how to possibly put aside $25 a paycheque to save for retirement. But I’ll figure it out. My room isn’t always clean, but my best friend and I have a blast hanging out together and watching “the old classics” that are actually terrible and not classic at all.
If you’re struggling, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK. You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to have it 25% together. If you can open your eyes in the morning and say, “I have awoken” before going back to sleep, YOU GO GLEN COCO. Do what you can, when you can.
One thing I’ve learned since walking across that stage and getting my $50,000 piece of paper is that sometimes you have to ask for help. It sucks. I had to ask the government for help making my student loan payments after trying to do it myself for almost 10 months and sometimes not eating because I had no money. I have asked older, wiser folk around me for help and advice. There’s no shame in that. We’re all learning.
Adulting is a scam and a lie. It makes us feel crummy when we don’t do the things we are “supposed” to be doing. Sometimes adulting is sitting in your living room with your best friend playing on your phones because that’s all you have the energy for. Do that.
But celebrate the moments you manage to do something you didn’t want to, didn’t think you could, or initially resisted. You made that doctor appointment? CONGRATS. You went grocery shopping and didn’t envision ramming your cart into someone’s ankles? I AM SO PROUD OF YOU. Progress is great and essential, but go at the pace that you can.
Go easy on yourself. You’ll figure it out.
If you don’t, just come live with me, and we’ll just do Buzzfeed quizzes all day.