Four Tenets Of Adulting in 2016

If you’re a millennial and you frequent the Internet, you likely are familiar with the newly popular term known as “adulting.”

Everyone has an idea of what they think their life will be like after college. You’ll throw your cap into the air, move out of your parents' house, get a bomb full-time corporate job with full benefits and a hefty salary (because, of course, you have 16 years of educational experience – right?!), meet an eligible significant other who also has their “ish” together, get engaged and live happily ever after. Doesn’t that sound about right? Well, those who grew up believing this fairytale are met with a rude awakening. Being an adult looks a lot different in 2016.


Education is one of the biggest changes in the adulting experience. Thousands of dollars in debt and jobs in fields unrelated to the completed degree are now stark realities for many graduates. As a result, a mash-up of entrepreneurship and education has emerged alongside the creation of alternative learning institutions (such as General Assembly) or online learning resources (like SkillShare). This allows for the opportunity to gain real-world skills from professionals currently working in the field.


Another change in the adulting experience is career. More professionals are cashing in their “F-You money,” quitting their corporate 9-5 jobs, and pursuing their passion. We have rearranged our priorities to focus more on passion now rather than status or salary. This stampede of entrepreneurship has led to a significant increase in employment at start-up companies, remote working, and freelance opportunities.

Pursuing your passion often means you are hustling to make it work. You typically see young adults move back in with their family, hold onto their cars for a little longer, and cut back on clubbing, concerts, and dining out. This new generation of adults understands how to make sacrifices in exchange for the chance to do the work they genuinely enjoy.


This pursuit of work we can be passionate about also means more of us are pushing marriage and kids to later in life. A recent article titled Millennials Still Want Kids, Just Not Right Now stated, “The birth rate for teenagers and women in their early twenties has dropped quickly in the last few years. Births by women over 40 are still relatively rare, but their birth rate has doubled since 1990.”


The important thing about becoming an adult is to accept that life does not go as you planned. No matter how logical and well-thought-out the plan may be, no matter how things went for your parents or those before you, sometimes things just go a different way. No matter how someone else’s experience looks, don’t fall into a “quarter-life crisis.” Your life will be different, because you are different. You have different needs, desires, skills, and passions. Regardless of whether you are currently in a peak or a pit, know that your experience can turn around. However your adulting evolves, you control the narrative.

This article by Alair Hallman was originally posted here on Her Agenda’s website. It is reposted with the permission of the Her Agenda team.

Her Agenda is an award-winning inspiration and information hub for ambitious millennial women providing the best resources found online to motivate them to reach their full potential. Recently named a top website for millennial women by, their content-driven resource portal attracts driven women and gives them the tools to become accomplished women. Her Agenda curates, collects and creates the latest news, events, career advice, jobs, workshops, panels and conferences to help women with their careers. Her Agenda also features interviews with powerful, successful women to offer direct advice from their career journey to their readers. For more, visit