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What has been most surprising about becoming an adult?

Community Champion
Community Champion

I'm only recently into adulthood, and I've already learnt so much. It's quite enjoyable getting to experience a greater level of independence, and even watching all my friends from school/childhood adapt to adulthood as well.

I have to say, I wasn't at all prepared to see such a change in my social life. Some of my friends are already making steps towards forming their careers - they're doing really well in university, or forming small businesses, or taking external courses to help them build their resumes. Some of my friends are exploring their identities - they're experimenting with their style, dedicating lots of time to their fitness, or have come out as LGBTQIA+ and are working on their self-expression. Some of my friends are working full-time, making money to invest in things like housing or other lifestyle purchases. Some have chosen to take some time off to enjoy life - partying, socialising, making the most of their youth in a sense.

It's really interesting seeing how different people are reacting to adulthood. And there's no right or wrong way to do it, either. People will experience different things at different times, and it's up to individual interpretation how we respond to these experiences.

So I'm asking all the young adults on this forum, what's been the most surprising or shocking thing you've experienced coming into adulthood? What was something that you didn't expect, or weren't necessarily prepared for?

I also extend that question to people who have been an adult for quite some time, what's something you wish you had known about adulthood before coming into it?

And for all the people who aren't quite 18 yet, what's something that you're nervous or excited for once you become an adult? Any concerns, questions, or reservations?

I'm interested to see people's responses.

23 Replies 23

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Ah, a quick answer for you, this time, SBella.

When I was a teenager, my parents would ask, "when are you going to grow up?"

60+ & I still think I haven't grown up! I'm surprised by that , having imagined, somehow, someway, I would naturally grow up. Also, now, I'm happy there is a little mmMeKitten in me, who wants to play, & who I nurture as I never was.

mmMekitty 😺

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni


I am currently 19 and i definitely have seen the changes in people and myself ever since we all left High school.

Most of my high school friends have drifted off and distanced away from me. We now all have different morals and values in life. Some are in tafe, some in uni, some just enjoying life, some travelling.

I have also taken away the toxic people in my life, have met new people who have so many things in common and have also boosted my spirituality.

I feel like a different person but in a good way. I am proud of myself and my friends.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi sbella02,

Thanks for the great thread.

Im 43 now but I remember when I first moved out of home in my 20 s I found it incredibly hard to re adapt from not living with my immediate family….. I missed them a lot.

I had to learn to do everything for myself instead of having my parents to lean on.

Also for me moving into adulthood and then becoming a mum myself was very challenging……….. no one told me how hard it would be at the time when my children were very young…… it does get easier.

We all grow and learn throughout our journeys and that in itself is very liberating to see how far we have come .😊

Community Champion
Community Champion


I am 21 and quite frankly, the amount of people that are flat out unhelpful really brought me down to earth, lol. Some people just are rude, some have all kinds of things going on behind the scenes and others just do not care. The hardest part is sometimes just taking people's rudeness on the chin because it isn't school anymore and no one is going to come to your rescue. I

Community Champion
Community Champion

Oops - accidentally pressed enter.

I was saying that learning this enabled me to have compassion - that you never know what someone is going through - so just be nice.

Also that friends change 24/7 - and that's OK. It can be hard to find your people.

But, I wouldn't go back to being a teenage -I love my life now, I am super happy. Just gotta deal with some shiitty things sometimes.

jaz xx

Community Member
For me, it was coming to understand that when you think you’re all grown up, something will happen that reminds you that ‘grown up’ isn’t a thing.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Thank you everyone for your replies, really interesting to hear your responses.

mmMekitty, that reminds me of something my parents said. I asked them when they fully felt like a grown-up or an adult, and they said that there are some times now when they still don't really feel like they're an adult, and that they've still maintained some aspects of their lives that make them feel super young again.

Sophia16, my friendships have changed drastically too. Removing toxic people always feels great, and finding people who you really connect with. It's such an amazing change from school (in my experience, at least), where you're forced to be around a group of people all the time. There's not really much opportunity to escape toxicity in a school environment.

Petal22, interesting to hear about your newfound independence once you entered adulthood. I'd imagine that entering parenthood would also bring about a new sense of maturity, growth and independence.

Jaz28, so true, I've generally found that most people are nice, but people who are rude tend to stick out in our minds unfortunately. And I totally agree, it's so important to have compassion for people - you never know what people are going through.

ElieAC, also really true. I used to think when I was younger that adults had it all together and knew the answers to everything, but in actuality, adults are only human, and we make mistakes all the time. None of us are perfect, and we're all still figuring out the world too.

Love this discussion!

Community Member

I'm 36 now and I moved out of home with my now husband at 18. I had a difficult family life so I found it easy and liberating to be living an adult life at the time. I had freedom and I was living my best life while doing University and just enjoying being at home with my partner.

Now at 36, I find it surprising that I find being an adult harder than I did at 18. I always thought I would get things together like all the other adults. Now I realize no one has it all together and with older age come an accumulation of life challenges and trauma from past times. However, experience helps you problem solve better and you get through.

One thing I wish I had told my younger self about adulthood is you want a job you enjoy, not what you perceive as a good paying one or one with status. You have to live in your job a long time. The other thing is, enjoy your youth while you have it. Go out and party etc., because you only get the chance once because an old 40 year old partying is just sad and you have other priorities. Also don't wait to have children. It took longer than I thought and it was very rewarding in a way I didn't appreciate when I was younger. Prioritise life not work.

Community Champion
Community Champion


That's really good advice. People are always telling me now to enjoy my youth and take advantage of being young and free, or just while you don't have the responsibilities and pressures that come along with having a full time job, owning a house, sometimes running a business etc. While those things can be great milestones, having fun is also really important to capitalise on while we're able to.

It's so true, once you become an adult, you realise that nobody really knows what they're doing. I had so many expectations about my adult self when I was younger. There was a point when I was really young where I thought that by 19, most people were out of home, married, and with children. I'm now 20, and I know very few people who have achieved those feats at this age.

It's an interesting stage, young adulthood. So many possibilities, yet still so many restrictions. So many new freedoms, yet so many choices. With great freedom comes great responsibility, as the saying goes.