ruce Lee said once: “Mistakes are always forgivable if you have the courage to admit them.” As human adults, it is part of our nature to make mistakes, we didn’t come to this world knowing everything, and we won’t learn everything we need to know throughout our lifetime. 

This is why we must acknowledge what kind of mistakes we are making, if there is a pattern, if there is a reason for us to keep making the same mistake, and most importantly: how can we stop stumbling over the same stone over and over? 

Here are some of the most common mistakes adults make. As you read, think if you have made any of these mistakes and what you can do so that you don’t repeat it. 

I don’t know how budgeting works 

As young adults, it is natural that we want a bunch of stuff. We want clothes, we want to travel, we want to eat at the trendiest restaurant and go to the club every weekend with our friends. The big problem: everything costs money.

Planning your expenses based on your budget is very important. You don’t want to run out of money for food before your next paycheck; you need to eat every day! So estimate how much you spend on food and other living expenses. If there is enough money at the end of the month, then spoil yourself with a fancy dinner, but first, make sure your basic expenses are covered. According to several sources, financial stress is the main reason why young adults don’t sleep well at night. So take this adult fail seriously and don’t repeat unorganized patterns of budgeting every month, because it is unhealthy for your body and for your mind to live worried all the time.  

It is not fun to carry the grocery bags home exhausted after a long week of work and not knowing how to cook. But it is part of being an adult, and you’ll get used to it once you have an established routine.

My idea of happiness doesn’t belong to me

We are exposed to many commercials, “stories of success” on TV, and celebrities. All of these combined gave us a definition of what happiness and success look like.The truth is that happiness and success can look in many different ways, and you don’t have to be a rockstar, have three cars in your garage, or buy ostentatious insured jewelry to be happy. Not if you let yourself be happy with the things you like.

It may be mass media, or it may be the people around you who told you how to be happy, and maybe you have been listening to them a little too much. Society gives us these “life goals” of what everybody should do in their lives: go to school, get married, and have kids. That’s it!

Many people across the world don’t want to do one of these three things, or none of them at all, but it makes us feel like adults failing when we haven't accomplished these goals. It doesn’t have to be the way people tell you it should be. Maybe you have already made decisions in your life based on someone else’s definition of happiness, but it’s never too late. Write down your own definition of happiness and keep moving forward!

Tv shows, and movies sell us an idea of what happiness should look like. Image Courtesy of Nick Romanov.

I stopped because I’m scared

Fear is very interesting because it never goes away, we just learn to control it, ignore it, or acknowledge it without listening to it entirely. There is always this little voice trying to stop you from taking an important step in your life or trying something new.

Since the beginning of human existence, the human brain has had a negative bias. This bias helps us to detect a threat or danger that will keep us safe. This was helpful for ancient people who didn’t know fire burns and ice melts. But even though fears can come from many different places, maybe you were disappointed by someone in the past and you are scared of being disappointed again. Maybe someone told you earlier in your life that you should be scared about something and you absorbed that fear. 

If whatever you are scared of doesn’t threaten your life or health directly, think about everything you can gain if you dare to try and think about the new opportunities you are losing because of fear. Stopping because of fear is an adult fail. Standing up with courage is an adult accomplishment that you must recognize and aim for. 

I swallowed my emotions

In 2014, the Disney movie Frozen enchanted the world with the song: “Let it go.” According to many critics, the song is more than a Disney piece. It is an anthem for emotional liberation; for many LGBTQ+ groups, it is a coming-out celebration when the song says: “Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know. Well know they know”. This makes us realize how bad our inner self wants to scream to the world who we are and how much of us we hide because we don’t want to feel rejected or that we don’t belong. 

“Men don’t cry,” “women shouldn’t be emotional when they are in roles of power,” “don’t overreact,” “don’t be dramatic.” We have all heard people say these words at some point. These words don’t lead to an environment of trust when we want to share our emotions. 

If you want to cry, do it. If you want to scream, scream until you feel you let everything go.

It is way healthier for you to let your emotions out than to swallow them. You are allowed to feel angry, sad, frustrated, disappointed, or lost. You are human. You have emotions. A study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates that there are 27 different emotions. We may not have a name for them, but we have them, and we live them.  Accept these emotions in your life, acknowledge why you feel them, and let them go so that you can keep going with your life. Don’t be scared of sharing your true self. Your authenticity is what makes you beautiful!

We feel multiple emotions every day, but we don’t always express them in front of others. Image Courtesy of Tengyart.

I did something dumb to be part of the squad

Rock bands have their own style, Gothics share a similar aesthetic, the ladies who lunch have a certain personality and perception of life. Whether it is a sports team in high school, or a group of adults at the bar watching the football game, our society is made of groups of people who have similar interests.

The problem starts when we start to feel that we don’t belong to any group. We panic, we feel lonely, we don’t want to be the person who sits alone at lunch because society believes being alone is a bad thing. So we start pretending that we share the same interests as others. This is an epic fail that people of all ages tend to experience. Kids, adults, seniors, and teenagers try at some point to be liked or recognized by someone. Although that recognition is nice, don’t let someone else tell you who you should be, and what you should like.  

I didn't listen to others

Mom says: Why don’t you try doing things this way? The teenager says: Stop trying to control every aspect of my life, mom! Teenagers tend to feel that they know everything, and they are ready to be independent, but even as adults, we tend to think that we have everything under control.

There is a certain pride that we carry as it can be very hard to admit that we are mistaken. Maybe we are scared people will think we are weak, maybe we know we are wrong, but it is better for our gigantic ego to stay mistaken rather than to ask for help. Life is tough; we need help. Help comes in many different ways and forms. It can be a co-worker trying to explain to use the Excel formulas for the 5th time, it can be a plumber whose service might be costly but will fix your pipe problem effectively. Nobody knows everything, not even adults. So don’t be intimidated to ask others for help. They might need your help with something else in the near future. Life is a school project that requires teamwork, patience, and courage. 

I stopped listening to my inner child

Take a minute to think of your 10-year-old self and reflect on what this child would say right now. There is not a specific day or time when we may have stopped listening to this child, but you know it happened when you stopped playing, laughing, and trying new games with the only goal of having fun.

Kids tend to be very brave when they are playing because they don’t know about danger. They might play with a plastic bag, a candle, or even a knife without knowing what that object is and how much it can harm them. Listening to your inner child is not about challenging danger; it is about taking some time to play, to have fun, to do something just because you want to and not because you have to. Yes, being an adult comes with responsibilities, challenges, tax returns, and bills to pay. But no one said adulthood is not about games and fun. Ignoring your inner child is a very common adult fail, so don’t ever stop having fun. 

Kids having fun. Image Courtesy of Austin Pacheco.

These are some of the most common fails that we as adults make if you haven’t done any of them that’s fine, if you have done all of them that is fine as well. The important part is to recognize them, take a deep breath, and keep going to be a better person.

Dec 11, 2020