When I was 15-16 years old, I had a conversation with this guy about adulthood. He asked me if I thought I knew everything I needed to make as an adult. I was young and hella arrogant, so I said yes. He bet me $100 that I haven't learned half of what I needed. It's safe to say I owe him a c-note. I feel comfortable enough to say this publicly because he doesn't read, much less take the time to read this. So, I’m keeping my $100, but I’ll pay it forward and share my journey.
I grew up a military brat, so due to my dad’s stationing in suburban-esque areas, I became quite sheltered. In my early adult years, I STRUGGLED in everything from finances to friendships. Looking back, many of those things could have been avoided or handled better. Here’s a few things I wish I knew, before becoming an adult.
Boundaries are everything - I heard a preacher talk about how boundaries are meant to protect you from yourself and others. It was so simple that I almost felt silly for not knowing it in the first place. I think that growing up boundaries were never really discussed or emphasized, so when it became time to set boundaries or even have boundaries from the start I failed. Ultimately I hurt people and I hurt myself. Boundaries keep us on the road in all aspects of life.
Have a vision and set goals - here we go again, something basic. When I was younger, I thought so abstractly. I just wanted to be an inspiration, which is beautiful, but it was all seasoning but no meat. Once I finally started setting [realistic] goals, that's when I started to see the inspiration come through. I’ve had students tell me how much I helped them and older people speak into my life in ways I couldn't even fathom at that time. I believe much of that is because I finally had goals that aligned with my vision from years ago.
Learn your (and other’s) love languages - the golden rule is treat people how you want to be treated. If you take it a step further, you treat people how they want to be treated. We often think of love languages in the romantic form, but this can and should work for platonic friends as well. ESPECIALLY Black male friendships. If you aren't familiar with the 5 languages here they are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, Physical Touch, and Gift Giving. Knowing how your friends and loved ones give and receive love is a great way to understand them and deepen the bond. Most importantly, knowing how you want to be treated and loved is first.
I could write a book or two about the things I wish I knew before I became an adult. Hell, I'm still learning lessons. What lessons did you learn behind the adulthood curve?