or many young adults, it can be difficult to maintain the balance of a full time job, a social life, and adult responsibilities. Oftentimes, your self-expression can get lost in the shuffle with everything you have going on around you. This isn’t an uncommon experience, either.
Going from the freedom and independence you experience in college to a full time career is a confusing transition. Whether you’re still in college, or several years into your career, it is never too early or too late to find new ways to express your individuality.
While there are an infinite amount of ways you can express yourself, here are a few places to start:
- Lean into What You Already Know
- Pursue Something New
- Get to Know Yourself on a More Intimate Level
Lean into What You Already Know
Sometimes you don’t have to look too far to find the best ways to express yourself.
As an adult, you may feel extra pressure to know who you are and have complex interests. But guess what - you don’t have to. You have already lived a life full of your own interests and hobbies that you love, so why forget what you already know? You’re really already expressing yourself just by having these kinds of interests!
Your Favorite Songs: Music is one of the most common facets that people use to express themselves, especially as young adults. The music that you like and frequently listen to says a lot about who you are. Screaming the lyrics of your favorite songs is one of the most freeing feelings, and a perfectly acceptable time to absolutely let loose. So, get in your car and turn up the volume and belt it out!
Feeling particularly interested in music? Find some of your old favorite songs from middle school and high school to listen to. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, broaden your horizons and find some new artists or songs that you haven’t heard of before. Even if you’re starting to get into a new artist, your interest in pursuing new artists is a great form of self expression.
Not sure what to start listening to? Try listening to some empowerment anthems to get yourself into the expressive mood.
Your Hobbies: Your hobbies are your hobbies for a reason! Why do you enjoy watching bad movies, sewing, or cooking? Sometimes you get so wrapped up in life and adulthood that you forget the simple joys of your hobbies and why you love them in the first place. Or maybe you remember the joy, but you think you don’t have the time to sit down and sew for an hour or so.
Remember that you can’t be constantly working or being an adult without taking care of yourself. Some down time that is meant for you is critical in staying sane as an adult. So, set some time aside for yourself to enjoy the things you actually enjoy doing!
Your Special Interests: Are you really into the environment? Maybe true crime is your thing? Or even museums and art history? These special interests are a great place to put your energy when trying to find ways to express yourself. There are thousands of podcasts out there, so whatever your special interest is, you are bound to find a podcast that interests you! Or maybe there are community clubs that pertain to your special interests.
Special interests are special because not everyone has the same ones. If you feel weird or out of place for being interested in a certain topic, find other people that are also fascinated in it! Leaning into interests you already have is a great form of self expression.
Pursue Something New
Chances are that there is something you’ve always wanted to do, but you’ve never actually taken the initiative to pursue it. Well, now’s the perfect time.
Remember that New Year’s resolution you set that never happened? Or that cooking class that you wanted to sign up for, but you never did? Just because you didn’t follow through the first time doesn’t mean you can’t pursue it now.
A lot of times it’s difficult to make a commitment to something you’ve never done before, but it doesn’t have to be! If you have a friend that does something that you want to do, talk to them about it, or ask if you can do it together. Accountability is key in trying new things.
Take a Class: Chances are that you’ve always wanted to try something, but you never did. Thankfully there are classes for sewing, cooking, and even music classes. Taking a class for something that you’ve always wanted to learn is a great way to keep yourself accountable to actually pursue what you want to.
Not only will you be able to say you actually did what you wanted to, you will also gain some valuable skills that you can apply to your real life. Maybe you’re done with the cooking class after ten weeks, but you also have a range of skills you can bring into your cooking at home.
Start a New Routine: It definitely sounds simpler than it really is, but starting a new routine in your daily life can help you get out of the adulthood work slump and allow you to feel like a real person again. There are countless things you can do to incorporate a routine from journaling, reading nightly, or specifying times to work out.
You don’t have to make the routine a daily routine, either. You can choose to set some time aside once a week to go for a jog or take a trip to a museum. It doesn’t matter how big or small of a change you add to your routine, as long as you feel the effects of the change.
Create a Vision Board: A vision board is essentially a scrapbook for the things that you want to see in your future! You can make a vision board for the year, the next five years, or your entire life. Most people utilize old magazines and newspapers to cut out different pictures and phrases that they want to incorporate into their next year or years.
There’s no right or wrong way to make a vision board. After all, it’s your vision board! But there are vision board templates online you can utilize for inspiration.
By making a vision board, you are exercising your creative muscles and expressing what it is you want to see in your future, as well as who you are!
Get to Know Yourself on a More Intimate Level
If you’re still unsure as to how you want to express yourself, maybe you need to get to know yourself better first.
In order to express yourself, you need to know what you want to express in the first place. In high school and college, a lot of pressure is put onto young adults to know exactly who they are and to have thoughts and opinions about everything. While that is not a realistic ask at that young age, it is something to think about as you mature into adulthood.
So, if you feel as though you are still finding out who you are, or even who you are as an adult, there is no need to worry. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to get to know yourself and to spend time with yourself.
A great way to reacquaint yourself with the adult you is to intentionally journal. This would be more than just journaling about your day, or how busy work is. Rather, intentionally journaling allows you to get a firmer grasp on what you are thinking and feeling. Not sure where to start? Pick a current event that is particularly interesting and write your response to it. Push beyond your initial feelings of interest, anger, or excitement and ask yourself why you are feeling this way.
Another option is to turn to journaling prompts. You can find all kinds of journal prompts online, but self love journal prompts may be the most powerful for you. You do not have to respond to every prompt you come across, and you definitely do not have to respond to them all. Just be sure to reach past the surface of your response and push yourself to answer the “why?”
Regardless, there is no right or wrong way to express yourself as you enter adulthood. Whether you want to stick with what you know, learn something new, or get to know yourself better first, you don’t have to look far to find the way you feel most comfortable expressing yourself.