I received a letter from a young adult who is considering leaving her home town, where her parents serve as a safety net, and going someplace completely different — perhaps out of the country. She asked me a few questions and since I can only answer for myself, I decided to post them here (with her permission).
Could I ask you more about changes when one goes into adulthood and cannot rely on their parents anymore? I’ve asked a lot of people how they liked living as expats/immigrants but I’ve never asked someone on what are good decisions and bad decisions when ’growing up’. I thought that maybe I could ask someone what to do and what not to do when they are thinking of restarting their life in a new country. Could I ask you about what to do and what not to do?
The fact that she is asking, and willing to listen to answers, tells me that she’s already a good few steps down that road of growing up. I believe that one of the main markers of child/teen/young adulthood is self-focus. When we’re young, we see the whole world through the filter of “How does this affect ME? What does it mean for ME?” Maturing into adulthood means asking, “How does this affect and what does it mean for others?” It also means listening to others and accepting that they might actually have something worthwhile to say that we don’t already know ourselves.
And yes, I realize that by this definition, a startling number of people never actually grow up. Which I think is a realistic assessment.
If you have advice or experiences a woman on the cusp of growing up might benefit from, please share them in the comments.