I remember in my early 20s, my English tutor Jack shared his story about life at 28.
“It sucks” he said to sum up his whole story.
Jack seemed very burdened with all the things happened in his life. Well he was shabby, a bad alcoholic, a sleepyhead, and on his penniless days, an English tutor. He was probably the last person you would ever trust to get a life inspiration.
“At the age of 28”, he said, “you are expected to have a settled life, with a settled job, with a settled family, and also with a settled place to live.”
He seemed very depressed. It was worsened by his girlfriend’s parents that urged him to get married as soon as possible. I knew from all the things he just mentioned, literally none of them he got under control.
“It’s hard to have a settled life when you don’t event know what your purpose is. It’s hard to have a purpose when you don’t even have a clear values. And how can everyone expects me to have everything figure out in this early age.” Jack continued.
“Time flies so fast. When I was your age, it seemed this day is still so far ahead in the future. And then now everything feels like happening all of a sudden.” added Jack while rubbing his forehead.
It was hard for me to feel the empathy toward his story. I didn’t think any of my classmates can feel relate to his story as well. We were simply too young for that.
Seven years passed by, and ta da, here is the 28.
The story that felt so vague 8 years ago out of the blue become so real.
Jack was right, we might didn’t know when it was all started. It happened so gradually that we didn’t know it was starting to happen.
This concept of adulting is not something I expected when I was a teen. Late twenties that I thought will be very kind liberating, can also be very harsh and restricting at the same time.
I used to think one day when I make my own money, I’ll be flying all over the world, collecting postcards and stamps on my passport. Or at least I would have enough money to buy things like PS5, Xbox or gaming PC, so I won’t get bored in my leisure time. Ain’t it cute if I have any of the expectations become true?
Well, travelling all over the world is still a really good dream of mine. However, for someone who builds life from ground zero like me, spending money on less important things is not really an option. Since nobody has given me huge safety nets to fall back when I fail, building up my own safety nets has become the number one priority. I start to work hard to prepare my emergency fund, insurance, as well as preparing a roof for my future. Who needs game console if we don’t even have time to play with it now?
Another thing that I didn’t know back then about late twenties is the peer pressure. I’m sure peer pressure is hard at any age, but it may be a lot intense when we are adult. I remember when I was a teen the biggest pressure I got from my friend is about my grades. As an adult, though, peer pressure is varied: career position, education level, marriage, kid, life style and a lot more. Not to mention, family that expect us to have a settle life as soon as possible. Those pressure sometimes can be very toxic.
I understand that saying “adulting is hard” is quite a cliché. I can’t go back to be a teen and I can’t just quit adulting.
It’s also not very fair to only consider the bad part of it, while neglecting the good part of it. Ain’t it a natural law that bad things always followed by a good things? at least that what Yin-Yang said.
The bad news is, the challenge ahead won’t stop getting harder. The good news is, that means we keep growing. Yes the pressure is quite intense, but it’s probably because we are now capable to make decisions that are different from the majority. That’s probably the best part of being fully grown man: a freedom to make our own decisions. What limits us now is ourselves.
The truth is, just like my tutor Jack, I don’t have it all figured out. I’m not even sure what I’m gonna do in the next few years, will I still work on the same company? will I try in another field? will I continue my study? I don’t know. One thing I know for sure, I’m not ready to settle.
This is not to say that I’m hopeless. It’s actually quite the opposite. Regardless all the responsibility that I have as a grown person, I find it very exciting to try different things until I decide to stick to the one that actually makes me feel “fulfilled” (whatever it means).