Adulting: 5 Things on the Road That Got Me Here

I never believed I’d succumb to using words like “adulting.” 


But maybe my fellow millennials are onto something. By bringing into play the letters I, N, and G, we change the word from stand-alone to action oriented. Not only is being an adult a right of passage, it is now an action that calls us forth into greater ownership over who we are and what legacy we want to leave behind.


I am only twenty-five. I am still very young with lots of experience yet to come. 


It’s been a long and winding road of getting here over the last several years, but these last couple months have lead me to reflect deeply and decide for myself the kind of life I’d like to be living. After several mistakes and a long dark season in the valley, I have come to see the sun rising in hope and faith. A sense of direction and purpose has risen forth in my spirit like never before.


In the past year, I have not only found myself in and out of several jobs, but I have allowed my heart to break again, only to be mended. I have traveled to the UK and Europe, but have come to the realization that now is just not the place or season for international missions. *Sigh* I am slowly learning to be okay with it. 


I have allowed myself to be fully seen, known, and loved by one community in the midst of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I have decided to sink deep and thrive and in turn, I have found myself inspired. Writing is still a huge part of the way God designed me to communicate. Yet I also am finding songs rising up within me when I am leading my family and the body of Christ in worship lately, and that's new and exciting.


I’m still young enough to dream dreams of marriage, home, and one day being debt free. Most importantly, I’m seeing the work it takes to get to where I want to be. I’m learning that I am my biggest advocate and that aside from the God I love who is fighting for me, he has granted me permission to do the work of fighting for myself and others on His behalf. 


As many twenty-something’s would agree, this is a rather odd and tough stage of life to be in. It’s the kind where we’re still figuring it out and learning on our own how to do this thing. It’s turbulent, beautiful, and worth it. My process might look starkly different than yours, but both are beautiful and individualized. It’s important to recognize that you are right where you need to be at this very moment.


Over the last year, this is what being an adult has looked like for me:


1. Paying Rent for an Entire Year Faithfully.

When I started, I honestly doubted I could do it. At the time, I had just lost my full time job and I’m almost certain everyone was wondering how the heck I would do it. Yet, here we are. A year has passed and despite how up, down, and all around my jobs have been, I made having enough in my bank account to continually pay rent a priority and I have done it every month since without complaint.


2. Taking Ownership of my Life and Doing What’s Best for Me

When I visited home for dinner and I found myself justifying why I was ready to get into a consistent schedule around Fathers Day, that’s when I realized I was learning to take ownership on my own. After being in and out of jobs that were awesome but rather unsteady, I began to see what I needed and what would be best for me. Rather than settling for an office job I hate or working several jobs at a time and breaking my spirit, I realized I needed something steady, yet free enough to make me still feel like I have time to invest in what’s important to me. I’m not an office-girl. I’m not a multiple-place job girl. Recognizing this and owning it has made all the difference for me. 


Does it mean I’ll stop going after my writing and freelance? No. Does it mean I’ll stop trying to build my platform from the bottom up? Heck no. Does it mean I’ll stop seeking opportunities to get involved in local ministry? Nope nope nope. I’m going to keep going and I’m going to keep dreaming and learning how those dreams make sense in this context right where I am.


3. Having consistent and reliable hours.

I finally hold a job that allows me to work during the same hours of the day, which has been such an answer to prayer for me. This allows me to better manage my time and income levels and helps me to create boundaries around the hours I have in the day to do what I need to do.


4. Creating a Budget.

I don’t know about the other 20-something’s out there, but I have been pretty frugal with my spending. However, I still had yet to put a budget down on physical paper. About a month ago, I finally sat down with a financial advisor and my eyes were open to the fact that I have so much more than I realize. Being able to allot where my money is going each month is so helpful for me. I’ve definitely struggled during my first month of budgeting, but I’m so excited to continue learning what this journey looks and feels like and to tackle my debt with an intensity I’ve never experienced before.


5. Self-Awareness

I feel as if I have always been rather self-aware. As I continue to learn what it means to steward what I have well, take ownership over my gifting’s within and without the church, and build my life around the time and things I’ve been given, I see how little I actually know. I’ll likely look back on this very season in the future and think “but Ashley, you had no idea.” Seeing my time and assets that I bring to the table as a gift has been a huge game-changer in my life and I feel much more at peace and purpose-driven as a vessel of life and love in Gods kingdom because of it.


There are so many things that make up what it means to be an adult. Things like healthy eating, exercise, and water intake are all ones I’ve managed okay depending on the season. They are also things I am realistically still navigating! 


As for the list I have mentioned here, these aspects of paying rent and taking ownership over being an adult are all things I’ve been well aware of in the back of my mind. They were always things I was constantly told I needed to be on top of, but I just wasn’t ready. They have recently taken a place in front of me with the help of God. Beginning to make these vital parts of adulthood a priority has been both growing for me - and freeing. 


But we all start somewhere, you know? 

How are you starting today?