Signs Of Emerging Adulthood

For most teenagers and young people, emerging adulthood feels like an exciting yet confusing time. We’re all trying to figure out what a stable life means, find our passions, discover what types of people and jobs are our fit, and decode our own selves too. Adults who are the ages of eighteen to thirty are considered to be going through the most important period of constant transition as they grow out from the dependency of adolescence to balancing all the responsibilities that comes with young adulthood. 

While we might treat college students and young adults as mature people legally, all have a huge list of experiences and milestones that haven’t yet shaped them as a person. Building a career, getting married, moving to a different city, starting a family, and finding their unique identity can make a huge difference. Let’s cover features of emerging adulthood for anyone who’s still figuring out how to “adult”.

Learning independent living is all part of emerging adulthood.

 Stages Of Emerging Adulthood

Researchers say that there are five different stages of emerging adulthood to stay aware of. The entire process brings constant change and exploration of different life paths, careers, relationships, and worldviews. The first stage is called the age of identify exploration, as teens explore their passions and choose their path for college, going into industry, and whatever aligns with their biggest dreams at the time. As their identify solidifies, their thoughts and behaviors grow more stable and better adapt to their changing surroundings. Some who can’t cope or become too overwhelmed may become susceptible to developing unhealthy addictions to outlets like video games, alcohol, drugs or risky behavior to numb the stress. Mental health in young adults especially is a huge issue as taking care of their bodies and catering to their wellbeing is key to feeling energized and ready to take on every day. 

The second stage of emerging adulthood is called the age of instability. This is the stage where thousands of possibilities become available and causes life to feel more chaotic than before. Their old friends start to embark on their own paths and spread out over world to find their calling. In the US especially, the rate of moving has become extremely high as young adults are traveling for college, new jobs, romantic relationships, or to “make it” in a certain industry. This sense of instability brings increased independency or dependency depending on the person. 

The third stage of emerging adulthood includes experiencing a self-focused age as young people to seek residency and a life of their own. This stage brings real “adulting” behaviors as the once teens being managing their own finances, taxes, schedules and long term goals. Their parents are no longer hovering over their every move and they learn to weigh pros and cons when making larger decisions. Taking care of one’s mental health at this stage is more crucial than ever and is extremely tied to one’s physical wellbeing.

The fourth stage of emerging adulthood is labeled as the odd feeling of being “in between.” Someone may not feel like an “official” adult yet, but they certainly are not a young child anymore either. I personally feel like I’m at this stage since I’m surrounded by older adults or have friends already starting families, but I still feel like a college student who’s figuring out their own way of life. This feeling comes up the most when a young adult feels like they have a strong grasp over their parts of their life while still needing lots of guidance in another. We all need years of learning to break into our careers as well, so working in a corporate environment or with others who are highly experienced can further emphasize this grey area.  Lots of mistakes are made in this period and risks are encouraged to be taken for the learning experience! 

The fifth and final stage of emerging adulthood includes the age of possibilities. It is during this period of time that people take responsibility to chase after what they want and keep their hope at an all-time high. This is one of the most exciting periods and can change the trajectory of where life can lead to. Obstacles will come every person’s way and it’s their job to overcome them by growing their perspective and ability to understand different ideas. Young adults learn to grow through their flaws and develop into an improved version of themselves. The phrase “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” is the hallmark of this period as constant improvement is encouraged for adults of feel that they’re possibly stuck or not reaching their goals as quickly as they’d like. Practicing reflective meditation, self-awareness, and action based goals are necessary to find success in this period according to researchers. Create relationships with people that encourage you to accomplish positive things and stand behind you along the way. Find a coach or mentor in your personal life, career’s industry, or within your area of hobby to find constant avenues of growth. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and be patient with yourself along the way.

Growing Up

As teenagers and young adults our job is to explore our passions, find what brings us energy, and dedicate ourselves to building a foundation for success. Spend time with people and in activities that bring you fulfillment, even if it’s not what “society” may say is the best way to bring fame, a high salary, or material goods. At the same time, be sure to maintain a healthy balance between your work life, your physical health, and your mental health so you have the strength and motivation to keep going. Discipline does play a role in our success with enough consistency, but if anyone is feeling too burnt out they should ask for professional help and seek support. You’ll feel much better in the long run being surrounded by people and ideas that revitalize you than weigh you down!

We can all successfully get through emerging adulthood.

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