Why is ‘Adulting’ Scary?

Words by Gianna Sibal

When did growing up stop becoming exciting and when did it start becoming scary?

When we were kids, when all we had to worry about was school and playtime and naps, and when all our answers to the question ‘What do you want to be when you’re older?’ were to be a princess, an astronaut, a celebrity, we wanted time to fly fast, to do things only grown-ups can do. But, as our teenage years come to a close, the prospect of it becomes real—and then the terror comes in.

Learning to do the laundry, getting your driver’s license, hunting for a job, and keeping your expenses in check—these are responsibilities we didn’t need to worry about at twelve, fifteen, seventeen. And now, shouldering these responsibilities scare us—because we weren’t taught that stuff in high school, of course we weren’t, and because time isn’t slowing down for us to learn and grab the ropes of adulthood.

‘Adulting’ is a word most commonly used in phrases used by the younger generation when taking on conventional markers of adult life, and it used to be funny to me. Wow, adulting na ako, my friend would say, after watching YouTube videos of how to make DIY notebooks. Adulting 101, another would tweet, with a picture of himself using the microwave. The adulting is real, another would say again, while putting on some pants after five hours of napping. The use of the word seemed trivial; far away, not scary at all.

But as I, myself, had just turned twenty—the reality creeps in. There’s no going back to our teenage years, and time will not slow down for us. Adulting is a constant slap in the face, my peers would say now. Adulting is an extreme sport we can’t run away from. Adulting is too expensive, bring me back. Three years since I graduated HS and I wish I never did because adulting sucks, bye. Adulting is stupid like when can it stop.

It’s scary. There’s no other word for it. We’ll make a lot of mistakes, and there are truths and struggles we’ll have to face, but, as we go into ‘adulting’, we also have to have a lunch date with a friend, play SIMS 4, binge-watch a K-Drama with ice cream, have a drink or two—we can transition into that scary stage of our lives with the right guidance while also enjoying our time while we’re still relatively young. Yes, there may be no going back to our teenage years, and there’s no stopping time, but who says that we can’t be responsible and we can’t let loose at the same time?

There’s weight in carrying the responsibilities of ‘adulting’, and there’s fear in each one of them. It will never stop being scary, I think, life will continuously throw us into the wolves, and we’ll have to learn how to live as a member of the pack. People will say, “There’s nothing to be afraid of!” but the truth of the matter is that we have every right to be afraid because we’re stepping into uncharted territory, regions, waters, paths. There’s no rule book, no guide book, and we’ll learn along the way with the people surrounding us and the experiences waiting for us.

It’s okay to be scared of adulting. I’d be surprised if you weren’t. We’ll get the hang of it eventually. Soon.

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