This is not actually a guidebook. I don’t have a step-by-step manual. But, this is for normalization. This is for you. This is so you know that this weird funky gray area of life is OKAY, and I’m telling you you’re not alone in this. I imagine this weird part of life like going sailing and you’re lost in the middle of the ocean, but nobody’s around. At least, you think nobody’s around (and that’s why I’m writing this).
Before I start with everything that sucks about being a young adult (I’ll say, 21-27), I will say this time period is full of lessons. You’re going to fuck up, but that is normal. What’s important is not repeating said mistakes more than once because once you cross that bridge it’s no longer a mistake it’s a choice. Make your mistakes and encourage others to learn from them. I spent my entire teenage years learning how NOT to fuck up by watching my friends. That’s probably why I don’t have any kids or a man tbh but anyway…
This list is general, and by no means accurate for everyone.
1. You have to be selfish – and I don’t mean selfish like don’t donate any money to the local Girl Scouts, I mean selfish with your time and space. When you’re in this funky part of life you don’t need anyone around you who isn’t going to encourage you to keep moving forward. Do not surround yourself with people who are complacent. There’s a lot of opportunities out here but you’re not going to find them if you’re surrounded by the wrong crowd/always at the wrong place at the wrong time. Eliminate anyone or anything that does not bring peace or positivity. Being this kind of selfish is usually going to come with issues in your love life if you have one.
2. You have to actually be an adult – man this is trash. No, I don’t want to pay rent and worry about health insurance or car insurance or rent or cable and wi-fi bills. Did I mention your phone bill? Yes, that too. It’s not like college when having $13.29 in your bank account wasn’t so bad since you could at least afford a Four Loko at the gas station for the Friday turn up. You have to budget. This is trash for a number of reasons: I just don’t want to, nobody actually taught me how, something ALWAYS comes up and ruins the budget, and your excess money usually isn’t excess at all. This brings me to #3: You’re broke as fuck most of the time. God forbid you have any kids. God bless if you do, though.
4. You don’t get to spend as much time with your friends – This may not be that bad, but it still sucks. A lot. Depending on what you do for a living in your early 20’s you may see your friends all the time. Maybe everyone graduated (or not, idk) and you all live in the same city. Rare, but possible. People I know on the east coast may not have this problem too much since everyone moves to Atlanta, NYC, D.C., or Charlotte (everyone). However, if you don’t live there then you might have this issue. You get a bomb job offer and it’s in New Mexico or some random place Black people don’t even think about visiting. It can be a really lonely time period since you’re still figuring out who you are and what you should be doing (which is when you’ll need your friends the most). There’s also the fact that everyone is always busy trying to be an adult. Even if distance isn’t the issue there’s always other responsibilities.
5. You’re in a gray area, but everyone else isn’t – Ahh, this happens often. So, you’ve got a dope circle of friends and everyone is always celebrating good news. One of your niggas is this close to finding a cure for cancer and you’re at work every day filling out job applications for anything that sounds good whether you qualify or not. You think everyone else is making shit happen and you’re 10 steps behind. All your friends graduated and now you’re the super senior. The people you graduated with are going to med school, finishing law school, on track for a PhD, and you’re just…living. Working every day, paying bills, turning up occasionally, and giving your girl attention. It’s like everyone else has it all figured out and you don’t. Like everyone took the class on living a dope life and somehow nobody told you to register. You’re looking at jobs you qualify for and suddenly you’re just not interested in the field anymore. It’s not satisfying. Your life is mundane and the people around you are so happy.
So, how do you deal with this? I’ll run down a few suggestions in the same order…
Accept that some people just aren’t good for you. You may be contributing something in their life, but you deserve to have that reciprocated. You’re their biggest cheerleader, you answer whenever they call, but when you need something they’re nowhere to be found. When you need something there’s always an excuse…or they call you all the time to tell you everyone else’s business. After a certain amount of time, people feel obligated to maintain certain relationships but for what? If the relationships don’t benefit you, dead it. What’s coming > what’s gone. Romantically, be honest with people. Shorty says she’s looking for something serious but you just wanna shoot a safe club up every so often, say that. People aren’t always going to like what you have to say, but they’ll have to respect your honesty. They’ll put some respeck on ya name in the future.
Don’t live, or try to live, above your means. I KNOW THIS IS EASIER SAID THAN DONE. Depending on the cost of living where you are, this might not be possible without jeopardizing your safety. So, weigh the pros and cons of what’s most important to you and what you can afford. Don’t worry about what other people will think of you if you don’t have cable. Also, ladies, simmer down on the impulse buying. I can’t really say much about that because then I’d be a hypocrite so we’re going to move on…
Everyone is an introvert in 2016 (it’s the new sapiosexual), so not seeing your friends is probably okay with you. I’ve never been an introvert so I don’t know what that’s like, but I do enjoy my own company more than the average person. I go to restaurants alone, the movies, etc. It doesn’t bother me, it’s not embarrassing, and I don’t care who’s around. Everyone isn’t comfortable with that however. So, to combat the issue of never seeing the squad, communicate in other ways or make plans in advance that work with everyone’s schedule. Since 2010, I’ve been away from my best friends for 66% of the year, but when I come home we Margarita Monday. It’s our thing. With social media I can still keep tabs on everyone (I’m nosey) and we text all the time (MAKE A DOPE GROUP CHAT). You also have to decide if you’re going to complain about not having friends in your new location or if you’re going to step out of your comfort zone. Keeping yourself busy is also a great distraction.
Celebrate the journey of the people around you without discrediting your accomplishments, even if you feel like you haven’t done much. This is tough because it’s a mental thing. You have to genuinely feel it and believe it & I can’t tell you how to do that. What’s for you, will always be for you and nobody can take that away. Things that don’t belong will not come to be. You just have to relax one day and accept that other people’s success has nothing to do with you. It doesn’t make you stagnant, it doesn’t make you a failure, and it doesn’t mean you’re not where you’re supposed to be. The best part of this is that you’re surrounded by people who inspire you to keep making shit happen. You wanna toss some good news in the group chat too! It keeps you going. Consider it motivation and not the time to reflect on all the things you aren’t doing. So what you’re not curing cancer or going to Haiti to build homes for people in the community. Maybe that’s not for you, and that’s okay. However, if you’re unsatisfied, the only thing stopping you is you. Do what makes you happy & be prepared for what follows. You deserve to live a life you love.
Peace, love & Lil Wayne