I think many of us, especially in our 20s, feel like 30 is going to be this huge turning point where we’ll finally feel like adults with things like a 401k and an acne-free complexion. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case (I hate you, acne). Here are 8 things I stopped believing when I crossed over into the decade that officially marks my move to Adult Town:
- I’ll totally have my act together by such-and-such age. I said this for years, and when I turned 29, a revelation hit me: I didn’t know what “having my act together” actually meant. I think I meant that I’d be free from student loan debt and that I’d have a steady job and a committed relationship, but also that I would finally feel like I had my act together. That’s, uh, still a work in progress.
- I Can Worry About Retirement Later. You know those money gurus that say you need to start saving for retirement by the time you’re 25? Listen to them. Not only did I carry student loans and $14k in credit card debt into my 30s, I only recently opened a savings account and now I’m playing catch up. If I had only started putting a minimum of $25 a month away 10 years ago, that would’ve been $3000, not even including compound interest.
- I’ll Figure It Out On My Own. I ran a small business for the majority of my 20s, and during that time, I refused to pay for education (outside of my degree). If there was a class on Google Analytics, I’d scoff at the thought of paying someone for that when I could just learn it on my own for free. Well, not for free. For, like, triple the time it would’ve been just to take the stupid class. Now I realize that there are dozens of ways I can make money, but there aren’t that many ways to add more time. Now I believe that my time is valuable, and if you can teach me what I need to know, here’s my Visa.
- I’m Special and Unique. Isn’t this one just the biggest gut punch of all? I’m an only child and the first grandchild, so I had a pretty indulgent childhood. While it was great for my self-esteem, it ended up being terrible for real life experience. After graduating and trying to hack it in the real world, I learned pretty quickly that while my mom thinks I’m amazing, the hiring manager isn’t that impressed. Now in my 30s, I realize that I’ve got some good qualities, but so do you. And so do 30 other people. Which leads me to…
- I *deserve* It. In my 20s, one of my “adult” jobs was as a Project Manager for a digital agency. I remember one specific meeting I had with my bosses, where we were discussing my pay. The CEO asked me to justify a pay increase, and I nervously blurted out “because I deserve it.” And yes, they all laughed at me. But that meeting sticks out in my head as a key example of mindset (and poor word choices). I now believe that if I want something, I need to earn it.
- Also…I Deserve *It* — Happiness. Without getting too Lifetime Original Movie about it, let’s just all agree that we’ve had some crappy things happen to us. What I’ve learned as I’ve gone along is that there will be bad times, but not allowing yourself to move on becomes a weight on my shoulders that won’t go away. If I feel like I can’t get past a tragedy, I seek help, because while I don’t deserve to feel pain, I do deserve to move forward.
- I Know Better. Politics? Duh, of course I know what’s terrible about your candidate and amazing about mine. Managing finances? Of course I know what it means to have a credit card… obviously I know how to use it responsibly. Comprising in a relationship? Not in this lifetime! Now, I look back at all of the times I “knew” what I was doing and realize I didn’t know anything, and I still don’t know stuff. But at least I’m admitting to it now and trying to learn.
- I’m Never Going to End Up Like My Parents. Man, do I WISH I could end up like my parents. My parents bought a house when they were 19 and 21. After that, my mom bought her own house while working a customer service job. As I write this, I’m in my apartment listening to the toddler upstairs run around and wondering what it was that was so bad about my parents that made me never want their lives. Can I go back on that now, please?
Can I let you in on a secret? Now that I let all of this go, I’m actually really enjoying my 30s. I care less about what other people think of me, I’m not constantly involved in drama and I actually have an investment account. Welcome to Adult Town, population: me.