College is over. We expect the career we have dreamed of to open up and present itself. This was the promise, right? Do the work, get good grades, go to college and it will all be okay.

And then it’s not.

It’s painful. And disappointing. And frustrating.

And why was college so important when I can’t get a job I want?

Adulting and the struggle to launch is often forgotten when it’s over but the process often involves some growing pains along the way and it is rarely smooth and easy.

This transition is exhausting and permanent. Once you are working and paying the bills, there is no going back. And parents may inadvertently make it easy to stay stuck by continuing to pay the bills and preventing their children from having to accept the unpleasant reality that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives: nothing is free.

 

Adulting is terrifying. This may be the last time you get to do nothing and still get your bills paid. Forever.

Throw in a little depression or maybe some anxiety (which often creep up during difficult life transitions like this one) and this is all pretty overwhelming.

On top of it, the human brain is still in adolescence and developing the prefrontal cortex through the mid twenties so while we like to view eighteen as the beginning of adulthood, our brains are not yet fully developed. This means that the part of our brain responsible for rationality is not yet fully in place. Young adults may feel more emotional and more impulsive as a result. On the flip side, this also opens the door to increased creativity.

While this period of time in young adulthood is hard, it is also exciting and liberating. Anything is possible. Everything is within reach. But finding the road to get there is not always as clear as the desire to find it and that can be exhausting, frustrating and disappointing.

This is a challenging journey for young adults and their parents.

 

The pain of this journey and the wanting to avoid the pain of the journey often keeps young adults stuck.

Whether it’s living at home, living off the parents, or burning through savings, it’s very easy to stay in this stuck place. And very hard to move out of it.

Yet staying stuck doesn’t feel good.

It’s time to get unstuck.

But how?

It’s not easy but it’s doable.

Getting support from a therapist is often helpful to navigate the pain and discomfort and help you land where you want to end up rather than another friend or family member’s couch. Also, therapists don’t nag or offer their own loaded expectations of you the same way parents can’t help themselves from doing (you know it’s because they love you, but that only makes it worse).

Adulting, launching — it’s no joke. But it’s worth it if you can tolerate the discomfort it takes to get there. And truth be told, that discomfort is short-lived and much easier than everything you went through to get where you are now.

Moving through discomfort means find coping skills to manage life’s stressors, addressing issues of anxiety or depression, confronting unhealthy habits, and getting clear on goals and expectations in life. This is not an easy transition and often parents and young adults expect it to be far easier than it is which only adds to their experience of disappointment and frustration.

To all of the parents out there who think they’ve raised a lazy young adult, slow down and consider the possibility that your child’s “laziness” may be a lack of clarity or frustration. Not knowing how to move forward can be paralyzing.

And to all of the young adults frustrated by their parents demands, slow down and consider the possibility that your parents are worried about you and are on the edge of their seats waiting to watch you succeed and pave the way to a happy adult life.

Our Therapists at Beach Cities Psychotherapy can help you navigate this journey. Shruti Shankar, AMFT, particularly enjoys helping clients through this difficult transition. Wondering if your therapist really cares? We do.

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