The Fear of Growing Up: My Current Adult Perspective

As a kid, I really struggled with the fact that I would eventually become an adult. In fact, seeing the kind of responsibilities that my parents dealt with instilled the fear of growing up within me. I constantly had negative thoughts about becoming a failure, losing myself, crumbling under the pressure.

As an adult now, I thought it would be good to look back on these fears and see whether they match up to my current reality. I’m doing this with the intention of showing you and myself that no matter how awful a situation may be, given enough time and clarity, you may gain a new perspective.

Fear of responsibility

Let’s start off with my biggest concern. I would say that I was a responsible kid growing up. However, I had a pretty consistent routine. I would get up in the morning. Go to school. Come home. Sleep. Repeat. Life was extremely simple back then and I never really appreciated it. 

As I enter the working world, I’m realising something. I still have that same old routine. Replace school with work and you’ve got a perfect match. Especially in this pandemic period where socialising is out of the picture. However, my fear did come true.

The responsibility placed on your shoulder at work cannot compare to stress I had at school. As an independent adult, you can’t skip work because you’re bored. You need that money. Bills aren’t going to pay themselves and groceries are way more expensive than I would have imagined.

My fear of growing up was completely justified because, as an adult, I am now entirely responsible for my existence. Nowadays, it has simply taken a new form, analysis paralysis.

For those of you curious as to what this is, let me paint you a picture. You have 4 deadlines coming up for a new job in a competitive field. The stress has been piling on for weeks as you struggle to plan how to do all the tasks simultaneously. Eventually, you overthink all of your options leaving you crippled with indecision.

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Every time this happens, my inner child comes out. This is too much responsibility. I knew I couldn’t handle it. I’m not worthy to be here. I need to escape. And I did escape, into fantasy games, movies, anything to distract me. I became desperate to be a kid again.

I have developed a few tactics to use that help me stay grounded in situations like this. Positive affirmations has been a game-changer in these situations. I can handle this. I deserve this job. Success is in my power. By using the power of my voice, I am able to challenge the negative thoughts circling in my head. This is usually enough to get me out a rut. 

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fear of growing up

Fear of becoming a  failure

Sometimes I don’t meet the deadlines. Every now and then, I fail. It’s a part of life that we all go through. At least that’s what I tell people. There is a saying, ‘Do as I say and not as I do’. In reality, failure triggers my fear hardcore. 

Back then, I believed that I had to be a success as a grown up. It had to happen, no matter what. There was no chance I was going to let myself become a failure. The truth is that as kids, we have no idea on what being successful means.

A big cause of this is our exposure to perfection on social media. We are constantly bombarded with everyone living wonderful lives. Millionaires at 22, buying fancy houses and cares. It’s hard not to compare. I feared that I would never live up to the expectations (set by myself).

This was a tricky hole to get myself out of. In fact, I fall back in constantly as an adult. There are often times where I won’t take risks or push myself because that endpoint of ‘success’ is so far out of reach. However, I’m started to realize two things.

Firstly, as much as I admire ‘successful’ people on social media, I’m only seeing a small glimpse into their life. For all I know, they could be incredibly unhappy behind the screen. I have no access to their inner world.

Secondly, using money as a metric of success is incredibly misleading. A successful life is a life where you can follow your dreams and passions. A life where you wake up with a smile on your face because you are where you want to be. Money may help, but it’s definitely not everything.

I’m glad with where I am in my life currently. I am following my passion in writing this blog and sharing my experiences with you, and I couldn’t ask for more.


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fear of growing up

Fear of change

I like stability and consistency in my life. It helps me keep things in control. Another whole can of worms I need to unpack. The thought of growing up meant change. A lot of it. Change in appearance. Personality. Everything. This terrified me.

As a kid, I got bullied. It took me a long time to develop a personality that felt safe. When I put on that mask, I knew that I could finally fit into the crowd. I could finally be accepted for society.

Why would I ever want to change that? I want to be like this forever. It’s my safe place. What happens if I take off the mask as an adult and I get rejected. I don’t want to go back. Now, I realize how sad this situation truly was. I denied myself of my true personality because I thought it was not good enough.

This is a fear that I’m actively trying to conquer. Recently, I’ve been taking a maximalist approach to my self love. With a mindset of more is better. I’m focused on being more of myself as an adult.

I quickly realized that the people rejecting me for being me are simply not meant to be in my life, and that’s okay. By accepting myself, I was able to finally find like minded people who I didn’t have to hide around. I could finally take off the mask I had worn for so long. My god, taking that first breathe of air after holding back for so long is one of the greatest moments of my life.

I think that my younger self would be proud of the progress I’ve made. However, the journey is just getting started. There is still a long way to go.

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What do you think? Did you have a similar fear of growing up as a kid? Do you ever look back and reflect on these times? Let me know in the comments below, I’m incredibly curious.

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