We have lost sight of the landmarks that used to tell us where we are on our journey of life. Pre-pandemic, you went to school, and you knew there was a graduation day that marked the ending the era of dependance and you entered an area of independence. You knew you were going to get a job, go to college, move out of your parents' home. You made plans to enter the military or a learn a trade. You might even have thought about traveling abroad to far off lands or walking down the aisle with your high school sweetheart. Life was filled with ambition and hope for a bright future. But the pandemic stole all of that away from our youth and another year of pandemic pandemonium is stealing hope from this year's graduates. No wonder they are all depressed and feeling hopeless.
No graduation day
No prom night
No college campus acceptance (only on-line)
No job security
No wedding without masks and proof of vaccine
No travel abroad
No apartments available or affordable
No independence as forced to live at home
No individuating as remaining under parental authority
So, what can they do? They can create opportunity to set mile markers in their lives. They can prepare now for when the doors get unlocked, and the chains of authoritarian decision making is lifted. They can plan for their future in the present and celebrate the successes they make today. Parents need to help their children learn how to become adults. Unfortunately, most parents today have never learned these life lessons. Adulting doesn't just happen because you turn 18, graduate high school, or get a job. You might get older, but you may not be "growing up." There are lessons you can learn now that will prevent you from the trial-and-errors of traditional transitioning when leaving the home.
Here are some ways to focus on the planning stages of life:
Make a plan. Write down everything you hope to achieve for the next year. If you plan to go to college, travel, get married, move out, write it down. 2022 is just around the corner and the new year is a great place to execute a plan.
Research. If you plan to move out of your parent's home and into an apartment, look at the price of renting an apartment. Remember, most apartments and property managements have requirements before you can even qualify to rent a space (credit report, employment, tax return, 3 months' rent). If you do not have these things established, it's time to get to it. If you hope to get married, check which venues are open, their restrictions, costs, and limitations to guest numbers. Prices have skyrocketed as many venues closed due to the pandemic and supply and demand raises costs. If you plan to go to college even the simple application and acceptance process has changed. Financial Aid, housing restrictions, and access to services have all been negatively affected by the pandemic.
Create a budget. What good does it do to have a dream if you can't afford it? Everyone is learning to live with less and less as prices soar and inflation creeps into our wallets shrinking our bank accounts. If mom and dad have been your banker, it's time to find your own means of support. There is no more ability to spend your way to happiness. You must save what you can and BEFORE you move out is the best time to do it. For free budgeting advice go to: Everydollar.com
Compromise. There is a saying, "Shoot for the stars; even if you miss, you might just land on the moon." It's great to have ambitious goals, but they must be realistic and attainable. Look for ways to get near your dreams: If you want to travel, work for a non-profit that travels to where you want to go. If you want a big expensive wedding but don't have the financial means, see how you can cut costs. If you want an apartment at the beach, look for a room to rent or roommates to share the cost so you don't have to it alone.
When you consider how you can start planning for your future, optimism may replace discouragement, and proactive intention may replace contemplation stagnation.