On my 21st birthday I received a shiny mirrored glass ‘key’ from my family and on the back of it were ‘good luck’ scribbles from my mates and loved ones. I had transitioned into adulthood. I had entered the ‘real world’. All of a sudden I had to stand on my own two feet… Viva la vida!
Despite my bravado, the years to come weren’t too easy and it felt like I was wobbling on one foot. I spent my salary like it was going out of fashion and I had a budget specifically for clothing and CDs. I relied on my dad for car maintenance and had no clue how to change a tyre. I struggled to assert my voice and felt awkward speaking in groups. My cooking efforts mainly consisted of processed and microwave meals. I had an inner-chatter that talked me into inaction.
Those of you over the age of 30 know that ‘adulting’ isn’t as easy as it seems and there still seems to be a grand assumption that we should know better once we move out of our 20s.
I baulk at this idea! We all learn differently and we are shaped by our many experiences. Not all of us have the natural inclination, skills or characteristics to make informed, well-thought out decisions. There are many of us who didn’t have the luxury of having access to people, resources and support too.
Let’s not forget the stages of brain development too; the brain continues to develop up until a person reaches their mid 20s, so this may suggest why we tend to see impulsive and irrational behaviour more commonly appear in that age group.
I recently read an article about a new school in Maine, USA, called the Adulting School, where they are dedicated to teaching skills to adults so they can become successful grown-ups. The school offers private social media groups and live events at local bars and restaurants. At these events, the skills range from making home-cooked meals, changing car oil, learning how to network, to managing personal finances.
Commentators have criticized the school for coddling people, but the value in holding such events and workshops is worth pondering. So much attention is placed on youth (under 18) that we underestimate the challenges facing older youth.
The co-founder of the Adulting School, Rachel Weinstein, got the idea from her work as a psychotherapist. She noticed many of her clients struggled with the transition to adulthood. No surprises, huh? The Adulting School can therefore be seen as a proactive way of fostering independence and confidence, helping people to be a productive and as resourceful as they can be. In this changing world I wonder if there needs to be more schools like this.
So where do I enrol?!
Check out the Adulting School’s website: http://theadultingschool.com/