My entire life, my grandmother told me I could do whatever I set my mind to. Tori Bowie ~~ Via Brainy Quotes
Those of you who are young and about to begin the process of building your own life might be experiencing a wide array of emotions right now. In some ways, there is nothing more thrilling than carving your own path through life; in other ways, it’s one of the most terrifying processes you’ll ever take part in. In trying to find your footing, it’s normal to find yourself feeling lost, confused, or discouraged.
To help you make your way, here are some tips from folks who have had a few decades’ experience with living independent lives as adults.
Build Lifelong Skills to Properly Take Care of Yourself
While you may have built some of these skills (like doing your laundry and cooking basic meals) before moving out of your family home, it’s important that you dedicate some of your time to building other skills that you’ll use for the rest of your adult life. Make it a priority to become good at budgeting; learn how to alter or fix your torn or ill-fitting clothing; teach yourself how to do basic repairs around your home so you don’t have to call your landlord or shell out money for a professional every time something goes wrong. Reach out to people in your life who have skills you don’t, and ask them to teach you. You may not need all of these skills every day while living on your own, but you’ll be immensely grateful for the knowledge if and when problems should arise.
Take Your Finances Seriously
When you get your first full-time job, it might seem like you have more money than you know what to do with. It can feel all too easy to throw a little more cash toward buying new clothes, decorations for your apartment, meals out at restaurants, or tickets to the movies. But if you aren’t careful, and if you don’t allocate your funds properly, those little purchases can add up quickly, and you might find yourself surrounded by all of fun new things you bought as well as a small mountain of debt.
Make sure you’re taking care of your financial necessities first, like contributing to your savings, paying your monthly bills, and purchasing the things you actually need before any of your paycheck goes toward those fun purchases. You should also put a portion of your income each month toward reducing any outstanding debt, like credit card payments, paying off your student loans and, if necessary, refinancing those loans to lower the monthly cost.
Sure, building a financial cushion and consolidating your debt is a bit less exciting than buying Taylor Swift tickets, but practicing responsibility with your money is an essential part of being an adult and building a sustainable future for yourself.
When you’re young, it’s normal to want your life as an adult to begin immediately, to feel as though everything ought to fall into place perfectly and all at once. Unfortunately, as nice as that would be,
that is rarely how life works. It might take more time than you would like to get the apartment you want, to gain momentum in your career, or to meet the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and that’s okay. While the world we’re living in now is an expectant one, and while people often demand instant gratification, real life doesn’t always meet our expectations or demands.
Life is often chaotic, unpredictable, and unfair, but there is always an opportunity to learn a lesson from your experiences, and every experience brings you one step closer to where you’re ultimately meant to be.
Believe in Yourself
As the Liberace quote goes, “Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself.” And it’s true! You are your own best cheerleader and your own best advocate– to build yourself up in the eyes of others, you need to build confidence from within and make others see the talented, intelligent, self-assured individual that you are.
You have skills and knowledge to offer, and you need to carry yourself in a way that, without arrogance, relays that information to the people you interact with both personally and professionally. You deserve to take up space in this world, and you deserve to succeed in that space. Internalize those facts, and own them.
With hard work, determination, and persistence, you can do whatever you set your mind to!
Do What Makes YOU Happy
This, along with believing in yourself, is arguably the most important thing to keep in mind as you venture into the world on your own. You are your only true lifelong companion, so it’s essential that you
make your own happiness a priority, especially while you’re first starting to build your life.
Having the skills and the self-reliance to keep yourself alive is important, but so is making sure you’re actually living. Pursue your passions, whether as a hobby or a career; sing and dance as often as possible; take a road trip with your favorite people; eat chocolate every day, — do whatever you can, whenever you can, to cultivate joy. You’re young, so make the most of your youth, but don’t ever fully grow up (after all, you’re only as old as you behave).
Leave plenty of room in your world for silliness and laughter– the world is often a dark and serious place, and you must never allow that to consume your view.
Good luck starting out, and enjoy the ride!
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