I am 31 years old. I do not know everything and sometimes still struggle to adult yet I also feel more self aware than ever. I’m more aware now of boundaries and healthy communication than I’ve ever been. I’m aware that defining those things for me does not make me a mean human. I am a school counselor and spent four years guiding high school students out into the world. Now I’m working with middle schoolers. Unfortunately, I see a lot of young adults without biological parents. They’re with grandparents or aunts and uncles. That is okay, but it increases the need of some things. Even kiddos who have both parents in their home or two homes with loving, attentive parents, I cannot help but think 18 is still too young to throw out into the world.
Hear me out.
I am not saying 18 year olds cannot be adults. They’re ready by then to be done with school and make money or go to college. But society puts such a heavy emphasis on those college years being the best years of someone’s lives yet we also criticize those who don’t have it figure out just yet. That’s confusing. If that time frame is meant for exploring and finding oneself, that’s fine. My point is we need to stop acting like humans don’t need their parents or guidance after 18. They can be an adult and still need their parent. I mean, I do and I’m 31. Biologically brains are still developing until when?! 20 something?! We’ve had them in a structured environment, with teachers guiding them and consequences their entire lives and at 18 we say good luck! Again, letting 18 year olds become “adults” is fine… but let’s normalize, regular check ins with our adult children and stop acting like we don’t owe them anything once they become adults, let’s normalize career changes, let’s normalize education beyond high school and no I’m not saying college, I’m saying therapy and other support groups to help individuals navigate relationships and careers, such as healthy communication, personal and professional boundaries… let’s normalize that 18-mid 20s might not be the peak age for someone. We turn 21 and can legally have alcohol. So many individuals don’t know how to handle that. Maybe 30s is their peak. Maybe it’s 40s. Hell, my grandma is 80 something and I think she’s the best human ever loving on her kids, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Celebrating each stage of life is important. Supporting each stage of life is important.
Shaming someone, even adults, for needing help is not okay.
Life happens. Someone cannot predict things. How they’ll feel or react. How it might shift their universe. Seeking help is okay. Not having it all together at 30 is okay. So again, let’s normalize humans at any age, needing their parents, needing guidance, or needing support.
It is okay to not be okay.