Fast forward to 2016. About three weeks ago, I graduated. I had also started working for an MNC by the time I received my scroll. I finally drove out of my housing area with no supervision for the first time in 5 years that I have gotten my driving license. While all these exciting events unfolded, reality hit me. I was an adult. This is it. The real world, its demands and challenges. To be honest, as dramatic as this may sound, I am pretty nervous about growing up. There are way too many articles online that puts out many contradicting opinions. At one point, I started realising a few things about transitioning into 'The Big Real World'. Here's my list of realizations :
1. You are a newbie. It is okay to stumble.
On my first day at work, I was careful to not sound stupid or incompetent. I was focused on every piece of information I came across because I felt insecure being an amateur all over again. As weeks passed, I gave myself a break. I learned that it was okay to be wide-eyed when something new happened. I now ask more questions than I would have in the past. Now, let me tell you, this is a major step, especially when you have spent 23 years of your life maintaining a 'know-it-all' personality. Telling myself that it's okay to stumble feels like two large sandbags have been lifted off my head.
2. You start worrying about money.
I am 23, and unfortunately, I have a student loan debt that has already started terrorizing my inbox. PTPTN, ladies and gentleman, is every non-scholar's gate to heartbreak on payday. Different people might suggest different things. Putting off the payment is not at all an option. I decided to sign up the 'Direct Debit' from my salary, because honestly, I could use that 10% discount. You start weighing between what you want, and what you can afford. A couple of years ago, I would've confidently declared that I'd pay RM250 a month to adopt a tiger cub under WWF once I started earning. The reality is that I just spent an hour earlier today deciding if I really wanted to commit to a RM100+ telco plan monthly.
3. You are not in a 'Who Lives Better' contest.
This is especially a hard reality slap. You can't help but notice when a peer buys a luxurious car, or when another posts endless pictures of their lavish vacations. It may take you an extra year to buy that plane ticket, it is okay. Your starting salary could be lower than your peers, it is okay. What matters is that you don't let these things stress you out. Live your life on your own terms, at your pace. It's good to set a personal target that really matters to you, and work towards it. There's no pressure to imitate others.
4. There isn't any specific guideline to survive adulthood.
Our lives differ in many ways. As many articles you read online, as many people you ask, each one will give you different tips. What you can really do is get these information, process and digest what is relevant to you. There is no textbook that would help you score an A+. There's destiny, planet alignments, resources, chances, people you meet. It's way too complicated to derive into a fixed formula. You're probably rolling your eyes, you already knew this, didn't you?
Few things that you could really do is to be in control of how you respond to life's events, and to create good opportunities for yourself. You got this, girl/boy.
5. It's the perfect time to find yourself.
If you gave me a technical topic that I am unfamiliar with, chances are that I could write you a 1000 words essay within 3-4 hours. Contrarily, give me an entire day, and I'd produce the lousiest, most cliche'd 'About Me' essay. I have not changed the bio-description of this blog since 2008, when I first wrote it at the age of 15.
Recently, I pledged to myself that before I turn 25, I would be able to write a description of me, without having to work my neurons way too much. In short, I think I need to really get to know myself and my stands on different things.
When I started writing this piece, I erased and kept looking for the right first line. I am amazed that I got this far, really. So, what matters is that you accept this transition. You can't run away from the emails, paperwork, loans, and in short, responsibilities. There is no right and wrong paths, there's only your way of life. In this entire write-up, whenever there was a 'you', it's really me telling myself all these things.
P/s: I am glad that a dear friend triggered me to start writing again. I would have continued the hiatus otherwise. Thank you. :)