Grown Up

Remember when we were in middle school and we would wake up one morning having grown three inches overnight? Weeks of growing pains and then finally, finally you’d wake up taller.
I’m obviously not growing anymore (although I am very grateful for those extra three inches I managed to squeeze out during college!) in the physical sense. But my, oh my… I’m definitely growing up
This week has been tough in particular. The growing pains were beyond evident. Even though I wasn’t growing taller, I was certainly feeling the growing pains. I literally couldn’t sleep and I literally couldn’t stay awake. Have you ever been so tired, but had so much on your mind that you’re just at a loss when it comes to sleeping? The number of breakdowns I had was more than a little bit disturbing.
Twenty-three has not been the easiest year for me. Entire months (ummm February?) have been crazy stressful. Straddling the line of adulthood is weird. No one prepares you for what the Real World is like. Work, dating, friends, family, living on my own, figuring out what I want, discovering what I need… just, everything.
One morning, I woke up and felt grown up. I didn’t feel like I was growing up, I literally felt grown up.
My refrigerator had legitimate food inside.
I wore pajamas that didn’t involve an oversized college t-shirt.
Lots of serious decisions were made.
I don’t know if it’s normal or not, but I kind of have this “fraud” feeling all the time. Like, I constantly feel on the edge because I’m paranoid that people are going to figure out that I’ve fooled them… or something. I’m waiting for someone to realize that I’m not smart, that I’m not talented, that I don’t have whatever it is they think I have.
I have found a voice that I didn’t know that I had. And qualities that I didn’t know that I had. And even though this week was rough and sleepless and downright exhausting… coming out on top feels sweet. I am excited for what’s next and, honestly, proud of how much I grew up this week.

I feel like parents experience this with their children. You see them every single day and you don’t notice how much they are changing before your eyes. And then all of a sudden you blink and they’re going off to college. I hadn’t really been able to see all the changes that I have gone through since I graduated from college and set off to leave my mark on NYC. It wasn’t until everything I believed and thought and dreamed was tested that I was truly able to see just how much I had grown. How much I had learned. How much I had experienced.

This weekend, I’m catching up on all the work that I didn’t get to. Most importantly though, I’m spending time with my friends! Long shopping trips and even longer brunches. I think the song from RENT is finally making sense to me in a way that it never really has. How do you measure a year? All of the little things certainly add up to big changes!
While I still have a few months until I’m officially out of this twenty-three-years-old tunnel, I’m feeling good about the light at the end of it.
Bring it on.
Do you feel like you have growing up to do? Have you ever had an almost-epiphany like moment where you realized that you were grown up?
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i feel the same way right now. i just graduated college a month ago and slowly but surely, my parents are cutting me off financially and i have to start budgeting. i don't mind working overtime on the weekends anymore because being financially stable is more important than silly nights out with friends. i'm even curbing my shopping habits so that i can save up for a better apartment. it's pretty weird and it's all happening so fast!

xx, alicia
river city chic

Carly Totten

Oh, Carly. I am totally with you on this. I'm 24 (sorry, but I don't think it gets an easier!), and I am constantly wondering if I'm making the right decisions and moving in the right direction. I ask myself questions all day long, and I'm continuing to learn new things about myself all the time. I definitely have growing pains too. I'm ready to roll, but I haven't landed that coveted dream job just yet. I'm convinced that my 20s are just going to be awkward (hopefully awkwardly fun!), but I feel like I will KNOW myself in the end. I love reading your blog because I love your honesty. Please keep writing!


I feel you, Carly! I love this post and appreciate your honesty. I just turned 28 and sometimes I wake up and think, "wait, I'm old enough to do this? When did THAT happen?" It's pretty strange to know you're an adult! Good for you for feeling like an adult at 23! It gets easier, but is still weird from time to time!

Kate Mitchell

I've been feeling that way a lot recently. I graduated college a month ago, but still have over a month until I move out and into my apartment and on my own. So there are days when I feel like I'm a fraud – life, ordering wine at dinner, although my ID certainly is real – and that someone is going to say "Gotcha!" I'm in this in-between feeling right now where I'm technically an adult, but I'm not doing a whole lot adult-like on a daily basis. So I understand!



I haven't gotten this far, I'm still in college, but I know what you mean about feeling like a fraud! I've been reading Sheryl Sandberg's book "Lean In" and saw her office hours on Levo League. She totally explains that fraud feeling women get! And remember, even if you are getting overwhelmed right now, you are still doing great things! 🙂 Hang in there!


I feel like this all the time. I'm still in college, but whenever I tell people I'm going for veterinary medicine, it feels like they expect a lot from me. But I also feel like I should grow up because sometimes it feels like I'm still a high school kid… Sometimes I read other people's blogs about their accomplishment and it's like, "wait, they're a year older than me and they already did all that? What have I been doing with my life…?"

Julia D.

This could not have come at a better time. I totally get where you're coming from, especially with the fraud thing. Maybe it is because in the middle of growing up we're so busy DOING that we don't spend a lot of time realizing that our life is transforming rapidly before our eyes and by the time we're there we realize the result rather than the process. Just a thought.

Elaine Claire

I feel the same way Carly..I always have this feeling of When will my life actually begin?? Even though it already has. It's more of, when will I actually start feeling like an adult? I just wanted to let you know Carly that you are such an inspiring person to me. I am the same age as you, also born in September 1989. And I feel like I am so similar to you. (Must be a Virgo thing). Anyways, just know that you are not alone in this, it's definitely a struggle for us young professionals trying to balance everything, and learning as we go.

xo, Elaine Claire


I'm turning 21 in two weeks and I start my summer internship tomorrow. I feel like I'm going to walk into the office and people are going to find out, like you said, that I've "fooled" them into thinking I've got what it takes when I don't. It's terrifying. And I'm not even on my own yet. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling like this because for a while I thought I was going crazy. It's nice to know we're all in this together (:


Pretty sure I could have written this entire post. EXACTLY how I feel. 23 is such an awkward age for me.

Megan Jessen

I definitely have that 'fraud' feeling. I just turned 24 and I recently got married, but I'm still in college (long story) so I feel like wait, I'm a college student but also an adult? What?

I think its a fake it til you make it sort of situation. Good luck!



At 17, I feel SUPER unprepared to be "grown up", but at the same time I feel like I'm doing an alright job at actually growing up. I'm about to go to college and enter a stream of kids – soon to be adults – all on the brink of being grown up (and I'm a bit scared, haha!) Thanks for all the insight, Carly!