Emerging adulthood can be a time filled with anxiety and confusion for a lot of people. It is the stage in life where you’re not quite a full adult yet, but you’ve also left adolescence behind. Many new adults, including myself, feel like they are “in between” stages. I think a lot of that can be contributed to suddenly having so many new responsibilities, but also still having parents available for stability and guidance if things start getting too messed up. For the vast majority of us emerging adults, we’ve spent most of lives up until this point relying on our parents for practically everything.
Depending on our individual childhoods, I’m sure we’ve all had varying degrees of experience managing responsibilities. In my senior year of high school I got my first look at the real world when I had to balance school, cheerleading, a part-time job, and a medley of random clubs. (In retrospect, that is still nothing compared to my current obligations in college). However, the people primarily in charge of keeping us alive and cultivating successful futures for us have been our parents. Now, in emerging adulthood, we’re expected to earn money, pay bills, keep ourselves healthy and clothed, maintain a social life, and complete college or work a full time job (in some cases, both). This can seem like a daunting, if not impossible, task to get through.
Luckily, emerging adulthood provides many benefits to offset the stress of the new responsibilities. Emerging adulthood is a blossoming of identity and confidence. Most of us are beginning to lose the crippling self-consciousness and anxiety that plagues adolescence. We realize that we aren’t the center of the universe and that people aren’t constantly focused on us.While still trying to decide who we want to become, we are at least more accepting of who we currently are. With more freedom, many people in emerging adulthood are able to try new things and branch out, especially in a college setting. You see new people and gain new experiences. I think this really helps in creating a well rounded adult.
Additionally, we also benefit from having optimal health and fitness in emerging adulthood. Our immune systems are strong and we usually aren’t affected yet by the major health ailments that start showing up further into adulthood. Athletes often find they hit their peak performance in emerging adulthood. While this stage of life is definitely a big transition and can often seem overwhelming; I think it is also a very exciting time in human development, filled with opportunities and self exploration. I’ve really enjoyed my experiences this far in emerging adulthood, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.
Cultural Fun Fact!
Traditionally, there are only 4 life stages that are observed in Hinduism. They are called Ashramas. The first ashrama is Brahmacharya, the student stage. The second is Grihastha, the householder stage. At this point the man gets married and starts a family. The third is Vanaprastha, the hermit stage. When the man becomes a grandfather he passes off all his duties and possessions to his adult children and becomes a hermit. The fourth and final stage is Sannyasa, the wandering ascetic stage.