I may never grow up...

This will be my first new thread, as I must wait until I can search to be sure that I’m not re-starting an old topic.

I’m almost twenty-six and I’m going to graduate from college this December. I was fortunate to be able to finish my degree (B.S. in accounting) in three years instead of four, which is more usual at my school. My grades are pretty good. Not perfect, but good. I’m looking forward to graduating.

Here’s the thing, though. (Warning: much lameness follows.) I’ve never lived apart from my parents. I’m not afraid to move away from home. I look forward to it, because my parents try to treat me as if I’m fifteen instead of twenty-five. Several parental gaskets were blown when I announced my intention of going on a trip this past spring break. I went anyway. After I came back, it was as if nothing had happened; they looked at my pictures and seemed glad that I had a pretty good time. (So then, why bother with all the freaking out?) I still don’t have my driver’s license, which puts me at a real disadvantage where I currently live. I would like to move to a larger city someday when I can.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to find a job in my field. I want to live by myself, but I’m afraid to. I become a bit weird when I’m on my own for long periods of time, and yet I crave privacy. It’s difficult for me to make friends, as I feel that people don’t want to accept me. Add that to the fact that I’m still not married, which apparently makes me some sort of freak, since even the teenagers here are married. My parents claim that wherever I move to, they will pack up and follow me there. I talk to people every day with jobs, cars, mortgages, families; I don’t know how they do it. It seems that I will never be a real adult.

I know, I know, this whining doesn’t really help, does it?

I don’t think your fear is weird. You just may be more aware of the responsibilities because you don’t have the level of false bravado that goes along with moving out on your own at the age of 18 (like I did).

Get your drivers license. That’s the first small step, and you will feel more empowered when you do.

Becoming an adult is a series of baby steps, to be honest. When I had my own apartment for the first time when I was 20, I remember lying on my back in my living room, panicking that I couldn’t handle it. But I did. You just take care of business, and eventually, it becomes second nature.

Yeah, there’s lots of trials and tribulations. And no learner’s manual on how to be a grown-up. You just learn over time, and each of your successes builds on the one that came before. As you overcome challenges you reinforce your abilities in your own mind, and so when something new comes up, it will stress you, but you will know from experience that you can handle it.

A good friend and I just had this discussion a few weeks ago: She’s 34. I’m 35. We’ve both had tremendous hardship to overcome, and this last few years was especially hard. As we look back on our lives (we’ve known each other since sophmore year in high school) and reflect on where we are now, the best realization is that no matter what happens, we will always be able to take care of the basics of life, because it has become second nature to us.

And that confidence has only come by overcoming and time.

You’ll get there. You may not be able to foresee what is going to happen to you, but you can predict the future in one important way. If you don’t change your life, then you will still be living the life you’re living right now.

Accountants always find work. Get the license and get the hell out of Dodge. Where do you live, if we might ask?

Thank you, niblet_head. The root of the matter is that I’m a horrible coward, and no matter how painful the current life stage may be, I tend to cling to it.

I go to college in southwestern Louisiana. Lake Charles. Home, with the parents, is ninety or so miles north of there.

I agree, you need to concentrate on the little steps and try not to be overwhelmed by the big picture.

I have a well paying job, a wife, a house with mortgage and a kid. How did this all happen? It just…sort of…happened. While I wasn’t paying attention. While I was living my life. Watching TV. Learning to cook and make beer. Going skiing.

You may be too young to have heard of them but there was a song by a band called the Talking Heads that goes, in part: “You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile. You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. And you may say to yourself, well, how did I get here?” That’s me, to the letter.

You WILL get a job. You WILL move away. You will make lots of friends. You will rent a place, maybe by yourself or else with roomates. You will get a car (but learn to drive first). You will travel and realize there are other places besides where you grew up. Before you know it you will have your own life.

I’m really surprised there is someone outside of New York/Boston who doesn’t have a driver’s license though. I didn’t think it was allowed.

Minus the college education, I was pretty much in your situation last year. I lived in a small town in Tennessee, had a driver’s license but a car that didn’t work half the time, and was still living with my mom and stepdad who I basically allowed to coddle me because I knew they would if I let them.

That didn’t work out so well in the end as I wound up leaving after a huge fight and living with my cousin for a month while unemployed. During that time, I did a lot of soul searching and, despite what Hollywood would lead you to believe, didn’t find much of anything. I got lucky and was given a second chance to start over by some friends in Nebraska and moved out there for five months but when that didn’t work out either, I moved even further away, to Oregon, where everything is going as good as it can be for someone that has only a high school education and has been fired from practically every job he’s had.

Now, after three months of living here, I have a decent apartment (with practically nothing in it though… trying to build a life from scratch is a bit daunting at times), friends that try to help me (I’ve gotten a TON of help from people on this board), the best paying job I’ve ever had, and a boss that I really like working for.

And it all just fell randomly into place. True, I did have to move 2,500 miles to get what I have but in the end, I think it was worth it. It’s still too early to tell if all this is for the better but I have hope that it will be. Do the same… if I can do it, you can too… if your posts are any indication, you have your head on a lot more straight than I ever did.


You have got to stop saying things like, I am a coward, I get weird when I’m alone too much.

You are far too young to be limiting yourself in this fashion.

What you really are right now is raw material. Don’t be so sure you’re all the things you think. Especially since your perception is so negative.

You’ll never be all you can be (sorry) if you’ve already decided you’re weak, vulnerable, scared, never going to grow up.

No one gets past their perceived limitations by constantly reinforcing their worst aspects. They move on by daring to perceive themselves differently.

I promise, if you decide right now this is who you are, it’s all you’ll ever be.

If you want to be more, stop saying I am this or that, and start saying I am usually this or that, or I have in the past always been this or that, or, better yet, I am hoping to get past being…, I used to be … but no more.

And you know change is scary, almost all change, almost always. And it only gets less scary by taking those first steps. That’s what gives people the confidence to take on, houses and cars and families, and well, adulthood.

We all have confidence in you because we’ve all been where you are. We know how it feels and we know it’s worth daring. And we see great things in your future.

Now start thinking big, would ya?

Peace and good wishes.

I do know that song, Laughing Lagomorph. I can hardly believe that I’m this close to graduation. I keep thinking someone is going to turn to me and say, “And exactly what do you think you’re doing here?” And I get to have that finding myself naked on the first day of school nightmare three times a year. :eek:

My parents do coddle me somewhat and I suppose I shouldn’t allow it. But my resources right now are rather limited, so I let them. Sometimes a person needs groceries, and I know I’m damn lucky they are willing to buy them for me once in a while. Back when I had a full-time job, they charged me rent, but that was it. I had a couple of credit cards and they watched me make some mistakes with them that I will never make again, gods willing. I never really gave them any trouble–didn’t stay out late or anything like that. I never tried to assert any independence because I couldn’t be bothered. That was my sister’s job. Enough yelling and door-slamming in that house without my adding to it. For the first couple of years we were back in Louisiana, it was rather unpleasant. I couldn’t find a job and ending up enrolling in college almost because I couldn’t find anything else to do.
My boss actually has been very encouraging. Her daughter is an accountant, and she often proudly tells me that she makes more money than both her parents put together. I know there’s really no shortage of jobs in my field, even around here (casinos always need accountants!), but I tend to be a worrier. Old habits and all that. I’m not complaining of having a hard life. I’ve had it really easy compared to a lot of people. But I’m also not used to having things turn out the way I want them to.

Aesiron, I don’t think anyone’s ever accused me of having my head on straight before, but thanks.

Look at it this way: either you really do and don’t realize it, in which case, everything’s going to be okay or I’m delusional and am living a sucessful life of sorts, which means you should be able to too.

It’s win/win.

I see your point, Aesiron. Sort of, “Am I really happy if I only think I’m happy?” I think.

I am going to even go for a second degree, as I need 150 credit hours in order to be eligible to take the CPA exam in my state. Two more semesters should do it. That’s one thing I really am proud of myself for–three years for the degree. It’s a happy thought. Of course, now I’m trying to make other people go to college too. I sternly indoctrinate all the little cousins in my ways, but I’ll be a lot more credible once I can drive. elbows, I understand what you’re saying. Despite everything, I am just about the happiest I’ve ever been. It’s just occasionally that I really get down and nervous like this. Then it feels like being underneath a heavy blanket.

You should get your driver’s license as soon as possible, by graduation, if possible. Is there a friend or relative (of the same age, not your parents’ generation) in another city that you could move in with after graduation? Take it slowly, paying your way but sharing a place. Later on you can decide if you want to live alone or if you prefer to have a roomie. There’s no shame having a roommate for companionship as well as to share expenses. It’s not easy to break away when things are comfortable, but you can do it.


One of my friends is graduating this semester as well, and she offered to let me stay at her place. I don’t really know many people in other places. My relatives are all clustered in this state, except for my cousin in Boston, and I don’t have any close friends out of state. Housing and such here is actually relatively inexpensive (my spring break was in SF, and I was astonished at how much housing cost there. The folks I went to visit were astonished in the other direction.). With careful saving, a bit of extra work (I tutor three people at the moment), and a good job that I could be certain of, I could afford to live by myself in this city.

Try moving out of state, if you can. It’s amazing what a little distance can do… my relationship with my parents is as good as it has been in years and I think part of it is because we live on opposite sides of the continent.

I second the suggestion that you go away from your city, if not out of state. You can’t really be out from under your parents influence if you live in the same city, even if you’re living on your own. SF is not representative of rent prices throughout the US, and you might be more comfortable in a place not quite so large as your first residence.


I am ninety miles from my parents while I am at school. Now, I just need to get my stuff here so I don’t have to go back there. My parents live in a tiny town. Living there permanently was never an option. You have to drive twenty miles just to buy groceries, whereas Lake Charles is an actual small city. I do like it, and wouldn’t mind staying. But out of state is probably best for me.

SF was fun to visit (I didn’t even do that much, just walked around much of the time) but it’s like Bizarro World to where I am now. If I could have afforded it, based on the small glimpse I had, I think it might be fun to live in.

I used to live twenty-five or so miles north of Philadelphia. That’s where I attended and graduated from high school. I enjoyed it there very much, and came to Louisiana with my parents out of support for them and because nothing was really keeping me in PA. I did want to move back there, but I have been thinking for the past couple of years that a new start is the way to go.

Harimad-sol, another thing I would recommend is a short stint in therapy. Check with your school, like the health center. Six weeks, or so. IANAT, but I feel very confident that your anxieties would be much ameliorated by talking with a professional. Someone who will hear your fears and not judge. Someone who wants what is in your best interest and for you to be happy. Someone to provide you some objective guidance during this transition.

It really, really helps. I recommend it.

Would it help you to know that I’ve been actively hoping that you join the boards? I even looked at your profile the other day to see how long it was before your guest membership expired. I’ve been here a long time, now, and it’s pretty rare for a newbie to catch my eye, so you can take it as a big compliment.

And I think you should consider moving away. Sounds like you need a big kick in the proverbial butt. If you used to live so close to Philadelphia, at least you’re familiar with the area. You can live in Philly without a car. You can definitely live in New York without a car. And it should be easy to find an accounting job in both places. Even if you don’t want to move so far away, it sounds like a move to a larger city would be really good for you. Is New Orleans doable without a car?

Elbows is right. You’re raw material at this point. While you’re seeing the negative side of your situation right now, remember that there is a positive side, too. You’re young and free with no commitments and a valuable college degree. You could go anywhere or do anything.

And remember, there are Dopers everywhere. So even if you move to Timbuktu, there will at least be someone around to go have a beer with. :slight_smile:

I just want to second this. I’ve not been around for a long time, only twenty months, but it is pretty rare for me to notice someone relatively new and in the past couple weeks, both you and Elenia28 have caught my eye.

Here’s something to think about…it may be the lack of an adult lifestyle that is preventing you from meeting the right person and getting married. I’m going to be 32 in October and I am getting married in April. Being single in your mid-20’s is hardly unusual. Get your license, move out, get a good job, save as much as you can for a few years, get a great car, nice house, the rest will follow.

Thank you all very much. Your advice is great. I’m still getting the hang of quoting people, so I won’t do it now as I have been awake for many, many hours.
Therapy is an excellent idea, niblet_head. We have a counseling center on campus and they are very helpful. I went a few times in the spring because a lot of things were really bothering me and I did feel much better after talking about my problems with someone who didn’t hear me griping about the same old thing all the time. I’m making an appointment tomorrow.

Green Bean, Aesiron, you’ve both paid me a great compliment. I thank you for it. As I have stated elsewhere, I do plan to join as soon as funds permit.

I don’t know how New Orleans is with regard to cars. I’ve only been there once and that was when I was about nine, but I can ask others about the car situation.

Bongmaster, I believe that you’re right. I don’t get out much. I go to work, class, and the pool. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to meet people IRL. There’s not a lot to do here, at least not in the area of things I like to do.