The journey of leaving the nest

For 18 long years, we are held within the safety and familiarity of our homes. From the stages of being a baby, to becoming a kid, to blossoming into our adolescence, to finally leaving our nests and metamorphosing into adults. This change certainly doesn’t happen overnight, and as we all know, there are many stages along the way. 

Growing into an adult is certainly a massive milestone, yet many turn 18 before they even finish high school. Graduating from high school is naturally the next notable milestone along the journey to new adulthood. From there is the physical move away from home, and in the case of a lot of  students, living on campus and relying merely on the support of ourselves and those who share the same trials and tribulations that accompany such a situation. 

This transition into adulthood is taken with great hesitance, and for some, it is greeted with open arms and great enthusiasm. Yet, however this reality is faced, it is an inevitability that all must face. Most have already gone through this metamorphosis, many are still transitioning through it and many more have yet to reach it. Waiting for their turn as we did for ours. 

Given this inevitability, preparations are essential and all come into adulthood with various calibers of readiness, may it be for better or worse. Granted, such a transition comes in many different levels as some can ease into it, but others do not have such a luxury, being thrown into the deep end and being told to swim. 

Despite all these variables, we will all overcome such adversity together, even if there are bumps along the way. We will make it out better than we were before. Thankfully, such a journey shrouded in mystery is something we participate in together. All around us there are those struggling to do the very thing we ourselves have been tasked to do. 

Sadly, there is a misconception that all too many have when it comes to becoming an adult, being that simply because one is grown that they are an adult. Such an assumption is something that plagues a lot of people, and such “adults” can be found all too often. 

Being 18 years of age, makes one technically grown, yet being an actual “adult” is something far different indeed. An adult is an evolution of being grown, and unlike anyone over the age of 18 being grown by default, being an adult is something that is earned. Many different factors go into it, but most can agree that there are several attributes that we all strive to achieve. 

Naturally, maturity is vital, as emotional regulation and accountability for one’s responsibility is a requirement for any adult. Parenting oneself is a transition that I wonder if many ever get used to and is a task that most struggle with at some point if they ever stop struggling at all. Taking care of ourselves and keeping ourselves disciplined and controlled is far easier said than done, as our childish nature is a skin most of us have yet to fully shed. 

Self-sustainability is another trait to strive for, as staying committed and driven only by one’s own merits is something akin to teaching oneself fish in order not to starve. The essential nature of responsibility and accountability, along with self-sustainability is an exhausting undertaking for those new to such a state of being. One must also keep in mind that neglect the body and mind can lead to burnout, making maintenance and breaks essential.

Leaving the nest and setting out to go our own paths is a personal challenge of biblical proportions, yet is one that must be done as no one is above this task. Not everyone gets it right the first time and this is why we make mistakes, but it’s important to learn from them. This is how we grow into the adults we are said to become. With heads held high we trudge forward through this world and life as a whole, as the destination is sweet, yet the journey… even sweeter.     

Graphic Credits: Alexis Pragides

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