Growing up. It’s inevitable. If you’re in your late teens, or early twenties, you’re going to be doing a lot of it. There’s no such thing as a gradual procession into the murky waters of adulthood. You’re dragged there, kicking and screaming away from the safety and comfort of the familiar and into a world that’s filled to the brim with this horrible thing called responsibility.
There are going to be times when you’re absolutely horrified by the mere prospect of your own life, and I mean this in the grandest way that the English language can manage. There are going to be days when you feel so completely hopeless and directionless that you won’t even want to get out of bed. Your career, your education, your friendships and relationships will seem null and void, and it will be physically exhausting.
You’ll also feel hope. You’ll feel hope because despite all the bad stuff, there’s just as much good. You’re setting out on the most exciting decade of your life, in a time and place where you can achieve your goals if you work hard enough. You’ll have moments of clarity, of triumph, and you’ll start to thrive on them. You’ll begin to push yourself further, to reach higher.
You’re going to figure out who your real friends are. You’re going to accept and make peace with the fact that sometimes people will walk out of your life, and it’s nobodies fault. They’re simply taking a different path to you. You’ll wish them luck on their journey and trust that if they’re meant to be in your life then they will find a way.
You’ll come to appreciate those that have stuck by your side, and you’ll come to know that you’re not alone – these people are your family now, an you’ll stumble through life with them by your side, a shoulder to cry on, someone to share in all your adventures.
You’ll feel yourself mature in the instant that you realise your parents don’t have all the answers. And this is a big one. Because no matter how much you may fight with them in the hazy days of adolescence, there’s still the comfort in knowing that you’ll be able to fall back on their infinite wisdom to get you through when things start to gets rough. As you move further into adult life, you’re going to begin realising that they’re just as confused as you are. You’re going to stop viewing them as fountains of knowledge and you’re going to start answering questions for yourself.
You’re going to walk home in the rain drunk and alone, and you’re going to think so deeply about the path your life has taken that two kilometers has passed without you noticing. You’re going to begin to recognise yourself as a thinking, feeling and breathing adult whose got just as much right to happiness as anybody does.
You’ll go on bad dates. You’ll go on good ones. You’ll have bad sex, but there’ll be the mind-blowing good as well. You’ll cry and you’ll laugh and you’ll feel joy and heartache in the space of seconds. You’ll fall asleep drunk and somehow wake up drunker. You’ll kiss someone and regret it instantly, but it won’t stop you from going back in for seconds. You’ll keep on collecting these experiences and storing them in the corners of your mind, and you’ll carry them with you as you forge the path towards your future. You’ll start to realise that it takes a lot of bad to finally see the good.
Above all else, you’re going to start to really appreciate the good things. You’re going to celebrate your victories, and you’re going to realise that you’ve made it this far, and that there is absolutely nothing stopping you from being everything you ever wanted to be, and so much more.
Words by HARRISON CARTWRIGHT. He’s learning the hard way that quarter-life crises are very much a thing. Follow him on Twitter here.