Not Quite A Girl, Not Yet A Woman: Navigating the Phase of Disappearing Girlhood
That late-teens transition from girlhood to womanhood can be a dive into the deep end. It’s not as simple as it is in a Hollywood movie, where you meet the right guy on summer vacation and suddenly “nobody puts Baby in a corner” anymore. It usually takes more than one summer to start feeling more like an adult and it usually takes more than ditching your parents for a hot guy, even if he does look like Patrick Swayze.
There are a lot of things that won’t make you feel more mature. Looking more mature, having lots of money, drinking too much, or even a passionate relationship all sound character-building in theory, but they only work so long as the more substantial parts of your life are taken care of first.
So here’s a list of actual character-building ways to age gracefully as a young woman:
Set healthy boundaries with your parents
Growing up can be more painstaking for your parents than for you, so making sure that they are along with you for the ride is important, without sacrificing any of your newfound independence. Set clear boundaries with them when it comes to curfew, spending money, and who you spend your time with. Talk to them about whether or not they respect your choices. Whether or not they like the person you’re dating should not be a deal breaker, but it’s important to develop a mutual respect.
Experiment with your style
Figuring out what your style is and what you like can be extremely empowering. Developing your own taste without being influenced by those who have dictated it all your life is an important exercise in independence. Style, though, goes far beyond just what you wear. What kind of music you like, your favorite movies, and your choice of books all go towards developing your sense of self. If you already have a strong sense of self and an even stronger sense of style, then just make sure you embrace it wholeheartedly.
Find your loyal band of friends to navigate this with
Having like-minded friends who you like to be around goes a long way. That said, making sure that you have the right friends by your side is crucial. People who don’t support you needn’t be there for your transformation and toxic friends, unfortunately, are a dime-a-dozen. Choose your friends wisely and don’t be afraid to let people go.
Developing a healthy lifestyle
Developing adequate lifestyle choices and taking care of yourself might be the most important factor when it comes to entering adulthood. Eating and sleeping properly, while not always glamorous, helps make a person look and feel good, giving them the proper tools to handle whatever comes their way. A proper lifestyle goes beyond a good skincare routine and surface-level self-care. Doing what’s right for your mental health and taking care of the basics is essential for growing up, as they increasingly become your responsibility.
Date at your own pace
This piece of advice should seem obvious but is often hard to remember when talking with others who’ve already had countless boyfriends and no shortage of dating experience. It’s important to keep in mind during these conversations, and every other time, that everybody goes at their own pace and you’re no different.
It’s okay not to have things all figured out, but so long as you’re constantly working on yourself and have the right people by your side, you’re on the right track. Hopefully, this will go a long way not just to feeling like an adult, but having your family members see you as one as well.