I made a decision to write an article on the topic:
Journey of Self-Discovery: Embracing Growth, Learning from Missteps, and Navigating Adulthood
Just so I can share a little of the imperfections and struggles that “I” and many others face on a daily bases. Even you.
As we grow older and enter adulthood, we often reflect on the changes we have undergone and the mistakes we have made along the way — some of these mistakes cannot be undone so what do we do? Simply change, make corrections, and move on with our lives while consciously taking actions that won’t make us repeat them again. These experiences shape who we are and help us become better versions of ourselves. In this article, I explored the relationship between changes (embracing growth), mistakes (learning from missteps), and generally navigating this adulthood that no one prepared us for.
Change is a constant in life, and it can be both exciting and scary. As I transitioned from childhood to adulthood, I experienced many changes, including physical, emotional, and social changes. Physically, my body underwent significant transformations, such as puberty and growth spurts. Emotionally, I developed a better understanding of myself and my place in the world, and I have learned to navigate complex relationships with family, friends, romantic partners, and even enemies. Socially, I became more independent and took on new responsibilities, such as paying bills, accommodating people, and giving my best, etc.
In this journey of embracing my own learning and growth journey, I realized that my chances of messing up and making lots of bad decisions and mistakes were high. Come to even think of it, we are all humans and we will always make mistakes especially when experiencing new things. Let’s be frank, we have not been to this age before so why should be afraid to live it and give it our best?
Learning from Missteps
When we make mistakes, we learn to recognize our limitations and vulnerabilities. We learn what not to do in the future and how to avoid similar situations. Mistakes also help us develop resilience and coping mechanisms, which are essential skills for adulthood.
I can’t really say that there is a proper age range at which a person enters adulthood because it varies across cultures and societies, and there is no universally agreed-upon age at which someone becomes an adult. But in most countries, individuals are legally considered adults at the age of 18 (Nigeria inclusive). This is the age at which many people can vote, get married without parental consent, sign contracts, and join the military. However, some countries and cultures consider individuals to be adults at a younger or older age. But what I think about adulthood is that it takes many forms, It can come at any time in one’s life development cycle which includes; taking on more responsibilities, managing finances, taking life decisions, etc. It is a time of great responsibility and independence in our lives where we are expected to make our own decisions and be accountable for our actions.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an “adult” since age 13 and I am now 25. Don’t get me wrong, this does not in any way mean that I do not still make silly mistakes. it’s all part of the growth process because mistakes are unfortunately inevitable.
Over the years, I have learned to balance my personal and professional life and manage my finances, relationships, and careers. This has been a daunting task because I am not exactly following a straight pattern that leads to success. The process and learning curve is different, and it is natural to make mistakes along the way. However, it is important to remember that mistakes do not define us. Instead, they are opportunities for growth and self-improvement. This is one rule I live by and it has helped me look at life from a different perspective.
I have never lived this life or age before (in fact all of us). So let me ask; on a scale of 1–10 how difficult is it to navigate adulthood? Well, I will leave you to answer that because I do not feel I am in the right position to give out such advice. I am only here to share my experiences so far, how hard it is, and how I want to give up so badly and then just wait till Jesus returns. Haha just kidding 😜
This is not the time to give up. In fact not to brag, but that word has never existed in my dictionary. When I make mistakes and fail, I evolve quickly by picking up myself and coming up with new strategies, and this helps me keep moving. Of course, there is always that small breakdown where you feel your situation is the worst and that you can never make it but there is always that inner energy that pushes us to keep moving.
What does it actually mean to navigate adulthood? Navigating adulthood can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. With so many new responsibilities and expectations, it can be difficult to know where to start. So I will share a few ways I have followed to be able to make the most of this exciting and transformative time in my life.
- Setting clear goals: Setting clear goals is an essential part of navigating adulthood. It gave me direction and purpose and helped me prioritize my time and energy. When setting goals, I made sure to set SMART goals. Do you remember that song we used to sing back in school “Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timebound; specific, measurable… my goal my goal is SMART” Okay enough of the song already, I am not even sure you are aware there was a song for it. All I am trying to say is that I made sure to be specific with my goals, create metrics I will use to measure success, set achievable goals not very big ones that I have no idea of working out, realistic goals that do not just exist in the dream or unachievable and finally attaching timelines to these goals so I can stay accountable.
- Taking care of my physical and mental health: As I navigate adulthood, I have come to understand how important it is to take care of my physical and mental health. This means getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress. Taking care of my health has helped me feel better, think more clearly, and have more energy to tackle my goals.
- Developing a support network: No one can navigate adulthood alone. My ancestors did not, my parents have not, and my older siblings have not. I developed a support network of friends, family, and mentors who could offer me guidance, advice, and encouragement in various aspects of life. I also joined communities and volunteered at events which helped me meet like-minded people who shared my interests and values. I call my support network “the board of directors”.
- Managing my finances: I haven’t exactly done well in managing my finances because everything happened so fast in my life and I lacked money lessons. As I entered adulthood, I faced new financial responsibilities, such as paying bills, managing debt, and saving for the future. I learned the hard way how to create a budget and stick to it, avoid overspending, and build an emergency fund. This is one aspect of my life that I am still figuring out because I still find myself making bad money decisions but If you need help managing your finances, seek advice from a financial advisor or take a personal finance course.
- Developing new skills: Learning new skills has helped me stay competitive in the job market. It has also helped me expand my knowledge and enhance my career prospects. Last year I made a major career switch after feeling like a fraud for the longest time because I wanted to please a lot of people. When the switch happened, people had a lot to say about it but I could not do anything because I can’t control how people think, feel, or react to certain things. Despite all of these, I had to ignore the cacophony and make that switch. I must say that from that time till now, I am at so much peace with myself and everything is working well so far.
- Embracing change: I faced so many changes, such as moving to a new apartment from my Parents' house as a single lady, starting a new job, leaving a toxic job, prioritizing everything that promotes my internal peace, ending relationships, and cutting people off who were toxic energies. I see change as an opportunity for growth and learning. This is why anytime I am faced with something new, I think of the many successes and failures it can produce then go with what I think is right. If I am unsure, I always speak to a few people on my “board of directors” to seek clarity. It is a natural part of life, and it can lead to new opportunities and experiences.
These are a few navigations that I have personally explored and it has worked for me. This would be a long-ass article if I try to cover everything so I will stick with a few for now.
I will keep laying emphasis on the fact that It can be an overwhelming process but trust me when you remember that beautiful life you want to live in the future, nothing will make you want to give up.
Think about your future kids (if you don’t already have kids), your family, those vacations, beautiful destinations, retail therapy, exploring top restaurants, those exotic cars, beautiful experiences you want to invest in, investments, etc. There is always something that can keep you going but you have to look within yourself to find it.
In conclusion, mistakes, growth, and adulthood are all interconnected. As we undergo changes in our lives, we will inevitably make mistakes. However, these experiences help us learn and grow, and they prepare us for the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood. It is important to embrace change, be open to new experiences, and learn from our mistakes. By doing so, we can become the best versions of ourselves and lead fulfilling and successful lives.
XOXO Lady Bella