top of page

Growing Pains

While driving back from the grocery store, my sister, Aiah, seated in the passenger seat, looked up from her phone, and posed a question that soured my mood.

“Isn’t it funny how we’re adults, like I’m 18 and you’re 21, and we went to Smith’s just us?”

“What?” I said, annoyed by the slow Honda in front of us.

“I don’t know. Like you had to change your tire pressure and get your oil checked the other day.”


“And remember how we went to CVS last week--just us, to get our flu shots? I saw how nervous you were because we’d done nothing like that before ‘cuz Mom and Dad usually police that sorta thing for us.”

“Can you st-”

“Aaron, I just mean the little things we do are like, what adults do, you know?” She shot me a smile and went back to her phone.

Adulthood’s Looming Shadow

Ever since that drive with my sister, I’ve been thinking about where all the time has gone. What she posed wasn’t shocking, but I still wish she hadn’t mentioned it.

Though I’ve acknowledged this growing independence and accepted these new responsibilities, the idea of “growing up” still scares me.

Start saying words like: income tax, DMV, rent, insurance, or job interview, and I’ll run in the other direction. I’ve done my best to ignore the pressing reality of adulthood’s looming shadow, but as my sister mentioned, we’d already begun our rites of passage.

The feeling of “growing up” becomes more apparent during the holiday season. When I was a kid, everything about the end of the year was something to admire and behold.

Now it just brings dread.

The allure of baking cookies and cozying up by the fireplace has lost some meaning because what was once a moment of much-needed R & R is now a reminder that I am inching ever-closer to graduation.

To me, graduation is that final nail in the coffin signaling my full admission into adulthood, and I’m not sure how to face the oncoming transition.

Thinking about a cap and gown should make me happy, the turning of tassels bringing about a sense of accomplishment, and my degree in hand symbolizing a successful future. Instead, I’m met with apprehension and anxiety as I question whether I’m cut out to be an adult.

Overcoming a Fear of Growing Up

I think what’s made me so fearful about growing up is my underlying hatred for change. I’ve always been one to “stay on the sinking ship,” which has made it difficult for me to pursue the goals I’ve set for myself.

I’m set to graduate next year, and I’ve realized that as much as I try to resist adulthood and all its baggage, it’s already here. Growing up is inevitable, and the best we can do is face it head-on.

Here are some ways I’ve changed my mindset to overcome my fear of growing up and oncoming adulthood.

1. Understand This Is A Universal Fear

As it turns out, the fear of growing up is common. Everyone, at some point in their lives, has experienced feelings of apprehension towards becoming an adult. Do