Turning 18, graduating from high school, securing a full time job, and/or starting college all signify the beginning of adulthood...right? In the twenty-first century, defining the end of adolescence and beginning of adulthood can be difficult; especially, as many individuals decide to continue living at home and rely on their parents for financial support. The numerous transitions that occur throughout high school and the years following can create stress and confusion.
Transitions during this time may include:
· Choosing the next step
· Leaving home for first time
· Living at home and still having rules as an “adult”
· Budgeting money
· Working more hours or while in school
· Building deeper relationships
· Further exposure to drugs and alcohol
· Increased freedom
· Leaving friends/family behind
· Exposure to different cultures/worldviews
· Further sexual exploration and orientation formation
It can be scary to navigate through these transitions and some can be downright anxiety provoking! Some individuals are supported through these moments in life and others find themselves feeling ill-prepared. It is important to remember that although changes can be overwhelming, they can also lead to positive changes and insights about yourself.
Many individuals aged 18-25 expect to “know who they are” and can feel panicked when they find they are unsure of their own identity (or what that even means!). Individuals can feel lost and be unsure of which choices to make and even what creates happiness for them. As children, we listen to our parents, as adolescents, we listen to our friends, and as young adults, we need to learn to listen to ourselves. It can be difficult to explore identity when parents place their own expectations and pressure upon you and our friends may not always have the right answers.
Identity is a fluid, ever evolving concept and as a young adult, this may be your first opportunity to approach the world independently, thus leading to identity exploration. This process does not have a finite end and it can be helpful to understand that through the process of “finding ourselves,” we can always change our paths.
Therapy can be a helpful tool in coping with these numerous life transitions, as well as furthering your understanding of who you are and how to find purpose within your life.