Home » Transitioning to Adulthood » How to Adult, in 500 words

How to Adult, in 500 words

September 7, 2021


Adulting can be challenging, but you don’t have to be perfect to embrace this journey.

How to Adult, in 500 words

First, we both know you are no fool. One cannot “adult” in 500 words. But we might be able to highlight the concepts in that space, and the concepts can become life projects!

Secondly, an illustrative story—I’m a psychologist. My clients, for whatever reason, believe me to be “perfect.” While I disabuse them of that notion at every opportunity, the notion persists. 

Working remotely allowed me to pursue adulting in a new way. I once sat in an office, and if clients forgot to arrive, or arrived late, well, they felt bad. Now, I send a “meeting invitation” and we both show up. Except on occasion, I send the right link—but the wrong email heading (“See you WED!” but our appointment is on Friday). At that point, my clients gently but directly tell me they can’t meet at that time. And they are right. They have class. I made a mistake, they watched me, offered corrective feedback, advocated for themselves, and, ahem, “adulted”. Let’s drop that into some adulting bullet points.


Special Offer

Don't miss out on our special offer.
Click here to find out more

Affordances of adulthood

Flexibility is your friend 

The past year has required us all to be more flexible than we ever imagined. Adults develop the skills to make a plan and then revise the plan as needed. Sometimes we have a lengthy timeline to revise the plan. Sometimes we need to revise the plan on the spot.  

Those therapy sessions that happen by computer? Sometimes the internet shuts down, or the audio is awful. At that moment, we need to make a new plan: use a phone, reboot, reschedule. We work as a team to make a new plan, without panic, and while being flexible. That is adulting.

Perfection is not a real goal

It would appear that my clients hold their breath in relationships, white-knuckling life, hoping to be perfect. They feel reluctant to engage until they can be assured of a mistake-free event. Actually, imperfection can cement a relationship. I cannot tell you how many times my cats have walked through my therapy sessions (unprofessional, I know! So imperfect!), sparking a conversation with my client, allowing me to learn something I never would have known otherwise. Imperfection is the pathway to connection. Imperfection is also adulting.

Offering corrective feedback is ok; so is receiving it 

My clients have offered so much corrective feedback during this pandemic. Some feedback was technical (“Adjust your lighting, try XX with your computer”), and some of it was factual (“This time won’t work for me”). They were able to offer me corrective feedback, watch me handle it in real-time, and then start to see that their teachers/therapists/parents are also adults/people who make mistakes. As a result, my clients are able to receive feedback positively. They understand receiving feedback is a normal, natural process, something that adults do.

Advocating for yourself can be as simple as an email or text 

My teen clients have never had more responsibility for scheduling and attending their own appointments. Nobody has to drive them to therapy; they just show up at their computers. As a result, my clients sometimes email or (gasp!) text me about scheduling. I highlight this as advocating for themselves, because it is, but they never think of it in that way. That acknowledgment allows us to host a conversation about other ways they advocate for themselves and what advocacy skills they have yet to develop.

Adulting is happening now. You are already doing it

Adulting is a skillset that is built over a lifetime. It does not magically start or stop at a certain age. Fully grown adults (ahem, me) continue to develop skills. Part of the key is knowing who to ask for help, when, and how. There is no special formula for asking for help. Your needs will continue to change, and that is perfectly okay. You will make mistakes, and those mistakes will probably allow for empathy, support, and a better connection with others.

In sum, adulting in 500 words. And guess what? This article is more than 500 words, so I guess I just made a mistake, and that is ok!

This article was featured in Issue 123 – Autism In Girls

Autism Parenting Magazine aims to deliver informed resources and guidance, but information cannot be guaranteed by the publication or its writers. Our content is never intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have and never disregard medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Support Autism Parenting Magazine

We hope you enjoyed this article. In order to support us to create more helpful information like this, please consider purchasing a subscription to Autism Parenting Magazine.

Download our FREE guide on the best Autism Resources for Parents

Related Articles

High School Student Helps Bring Neurodiversity to the Workplace https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com/bring-neurodiversity-workplace/

High School Student Helps Bring Neurodiversity to the Workplace

Read More
How to Help Your Child with Autism Transition to Adulthood

How to Help Your Child with Autism Transition to Adulthood

Read More
How My Autistic Son Transitioned to Independent Living

How My Autistic Son Transitioned to Independent Living

Read More
Preparing Girls with Autism for Puberty and Relationships

Preparing Girls with Autism for Puberty and Relationships

Read More
How Can I Support My Young Adult in Launching into Independence?

How Can I Support My Young Adult in Launching into Independence?

Read More
The 13 Most Effective Ways to Support Autistic College Students

The 13 Most Effective Ways to Support Autistic College Students

Read More
Meet a Brewery Owner Helping Autistic Adults Build Careers

Meet a Brewery Owner Helping Autistic Adults Build Careers

Read More
How to Prepare your Autistic Child for Independent Living

How to Prepare your Autistic Child for Independent Living

Read More
Five Ways to Kickstart Sex Education for Children with Autism

Five Ways to Kickstart Sex Education for Children with Autism

Read More
Preparing Students with Autism to Transition into Life After High School

Preparing Students with Autism to Transition into Life After High School

Read More
>

Autism Parenting Magazine