A Young Adult

A strange shift has happened to me. I feel like a young adult.
It took me a bit of time to wrap my head around how I was feeling, but I kind of can boil it down to this:
At 25, I still felt unsure of myself. A kid pretending to be an adult, like walking around in my mom’s shoes as kid. My feet were in there and I could scoot around okay, but they certainly didn’t fit and I definitely wasn’t walking with grace.
For those years right out of college, it was still pretty easy to compare my life to college life. Swap in work for classes and it didn’t feel that different. I could look at seniors in college and feel old, but not too far away. It felt more like a small gap. I also felt a lot of anxiety around the future. The path that was laid out for me as a kid and then a teenager was pretty clear: go to school, build a good resume, study for the SAT, go to college, graduate and get a job. But then, I found myself asking, “Now what?”
I diligently filed taxes and paid the rent. I did the grown up things without really feeling grown up. After some time, even though I didn’t feel old enough, I started to map out what I thought the next steps had to be. I had the career part under control, was dating someone I truly loved, and had a puppy who filled a void in my life I didn’t know was there. 
As my Facebook feed filled with engagements and babies, it seemed like that was the next step for me. Did I feel ready? No, but I’m a girl who likes a plan and that felt like the next logical step. I should note here that I didn’t think that step would happen in a month… it was more a feeling of “nothing will matter in a significant way between now and that next step” even if it took five years to get there.
I actually thought that moving to Connecticut would put the pressure of this on even more. Of course, moving out of state together is a huge step, but it actually had a different effect on me. (I also turned 26 just two weeks after the move.)
Where at 25, I felt old compared to that stage of life. I now feel really young in relation to the stage I think I’m in now. Many of my friends are in their thirties and married and have started or are starting their families. While I know that I will eventually get there, I’m not in a hurry. 
Before I got here I thought that what happened now wouldn’t matter or wouldn’t matter much. Again, I have found the opposite to be true. This is SUCH a fun period of life. Paying rent and filing taxes feels normal– nothing special, nothing scary. I’ve been loving all the travel we have done and prioritized. I love lazy Saturdays when I can lounge in leggings and a sweatshirt with nowhere to go. It’s just as fun to cook a delicious meal from scratch as it is to say “screw it” and order pizza. The days that are filled with exciting meetings make me feel like anything is possible, as do, surprisingly, the long drives, the long hikes and the long talks that accompany them. This stage is exciting and every minute of it is memorable and significant. (I can’t believe I thought it wouldn’t be!)
I feel so much more confident in just about every aspect of my life. From how I feel about my body to my amazing friendships; from my relationship with Garrett to how my work is going. I definitely have bad days and moments of self-doubt, but overall I feel so much more sure of myself.
It’s a relief to know that the future is out there and that there’s no rush to get there. 

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Wow, very insightful, I'm about to turn 24 and feel just how you described. I'm doing adult things (paying rent & taxes) but I still feel like I've just swapped school with work. And I've definitely had "now what" moments. Here in the south EVERYONE is already getting engaged/married at 22-23 and it's weird – I'm glad I'm not the only one still "unsure"

– Courtney

Fairy Princess Jord

This is such a great post Carly, one of my favorites. I also found it strange how enjoyable and memorable the non milestone moments can feel. I'm loving just being where I am right now even though where I'm at isn't marked by a specified "step". Of course I still feel a little pressure in one direction or another every so often but overall I'm so happy just "being".

Deborah Cohen

Carly what a wonderful post! I'm glad you are feeling comfortable with where you are right now. The future will come (wether we want it to or not) and so I'm glad you are enjoying the moment. I'm a middle-aged Mom of a teenage girl and you are such a wonderful role model for her. Love your honesty and perspective!

Kelly Crusenberry

Such great encouragement! Being 24 myself, living in my own first place, and beginning to make a way for my career, I haven't yet felt 100% confident of myself. I'm eager to reach the stage you're at, and truly begin enjoying this delightful stage. While I know where I'm at is truly amazing I have yet to really appreciate it. Hopefully I reach it soon, but I'm just going to enjoy this time I've got for now.


Great post! I just turned 29 a few days ago and I can certainly relate to the aspect you mentioned of pretending to be an adult. A few years out of college, I still felt like a student who was trying to make my way through a grown-up world. Now, I fell like I am creating a new path that I love and am doing what I was meant to be doing. It's an amazing feeling when you reach that level of comfort in your own skin. Wishing you all positive experiences at 26!


This sounds very much like newlywed life. Even though getting married didn't feel like a very big step to me once we were sure we were headed there anyway, we can't believe how much more fun life is now that the planning is over and we are out of the spotlight of all the parties and gifts and whatnot. But like you, we are in no rush to get to the next step. The simple life between the steps is really fun!


This post was oddly EXACTLY what a needed to hear. I will be graduating in May and it's starting to really, hit me. It's a nice little reminder that there truly is no rush in checking off the boxes, and instead just enjoy the "now"! xo

Allison Shook

This is probably one of my favorite TCP posts to date! I just turned 23 a few weeks ago and have been feeling that strange limbo of no longer being a college student, but not exactly feeling like an adult yet. I am still navigating this period in my life and it is scary and strange and wonderful. Thank you for being so honest with us readers, it matters more than you know 🙂 <3

Joanna Forrester

This was I great post. I feel like I have personally taken the most irregular path of adulthood. I am 24, I have been married for a little over 4 years, two of those years were spent finishing up college, and now I have a 5 1/2 month old baby. Some days I feel like a kid, some days I feel like an adult, but everyday I am a (new) mom. I wouldn't have taken any other path but it definitely makes me feel weird sometimes. I am so happy that you a feeling like you feeling more comfortable and confident in your own skin and stage of life. It is super encouraging.

Kristen Woolsey

It's such an interesting stage, isn't it?! Turning 25 was a really scary thing, that has turned into such a learning experience. I am truly getting to know who I am.
When I am around teenagers or even younger twenty somethings I feel ancient. But, because most of my friends are in their 30's I feel so young most of the time. Confidence is the key, I think.


For me turning 25 two years ago was a big something…after a few months and now, 2 years after (almost 3…) I feel it wasn't that big of a deal. Live life and be present, don't worry about what you should be doing at 25 just because society says so…Do what you want to be doing and enjoy life, you will only be 25 once! such a lovely post! love it! xoxo

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Meagan Roll

This is beautifully written. Thanks for spreading goodness, Carly! You inspire so many of us to enjoy our every day and make the most of the moment. We're happy you're happy.

Morgan Hassell

I absolutely loved this! I've found that there are so many ways to view our stages of life… "young adults", "kids with responsibilities", "kind-of grownups"- but luckily, what's important is that we are comfortable and confident in that stage of life, and excited about where we're heading, whether it's a year from now or 5 years from now. So happy for you in this stage of life!


Love this post! After I had started my career after college I was left with that 'now what' feeling too. Like, is this really it? Hence the need for myself to start actually pursuing my passions :). I did get married at 25 though and almost 6 years later still going strong. I'm wondering what is the thought about not wanting to get married if you've already been dating awhile and are now living together?