There has been a common conversation taking place around my house over the last few weeks about adulthood. With my daughter turning 18 this year, finishing high school, and looking to the future — I can say with confidence that I am terrified.
Becoming what we in society deem to be “an official adult” today is so much harder today than it was in the late 1990s when I entered adulthood or further back when my parents became adults.
Obviously, with my mom and dad, there is a huge difference in that many of them were getting married during or right after high school — that is, if they finished.
For me, it was a drive to get to college, start a career, and be independent. I had it in my head that I would never get married or have kids, especially when I was 18. Things clearly changed.
Now — there is my daughter. She has already had some obstacles in her life, from her biological parents starting her off on a rough path, to her overcoming learning disabilities and dealing with an attachment disorder.
When I was her age, I started college living with my parents and paying a few bills. In all honesty, to this day I say it was one of the best decisions I made by not leaving home paying rent and getting overwhelmed in adulthood too fast.
In today’s world for kids exiting high school — the issues they face are endless. The cost of college today is ridiculous. For my daughter, traditional college is likely not a real option. She has never done well in school.
She wants to be a flight attendant. This fits who she is. However, with age and other requirements, that means sorting out what happens after she takes the graduation walk to finish high school in May.
Beyond thinking about her future career — today’s world is filled with uncertainty, especially when it comes to the economy.
My daughter recently moved down to our basement, making a comment that it felt like her own apartment. I saw her point to a degree and laughed a little because it’s also partly my office.
As we talked, we got into a discussion about how much a room the size of what she has in my basement would cost in Denver. She was shocked when I explained how much rent for a small apartment or studio is in our community today.
Again, that anxiety as a parent crept up. What is she going to do? She works with a local school but does not make enough right now to venture out and pay bills and live life right now.
Part of me wonders when she could, given today’s cost of living.
Will she be like many of our young people today and relocate to somewhere cheaper, where she can survive? Certainly, that is a possibility.
The unknowns our young adults are facing today are a lot more serious than what I faced when I entered adulthood. For me, I am more afraid of her entering the adult world than I was as an 18-year-old coming from a small town and entering the real world. The fear today is a lot more serious and real.
Thelma Grimes is the south metro editor of Colorado Community Media.