Georgie De Mattos/Mustang News

Liana Riley is a political science junior and Mustang News columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect those of the editorial coverage of Mustang News. 

During my most formative years, the task of learning to ride a bike constantly presented itself to me, and I without fail rejected it each time. It was a mixture of apprehension and fear. I was just never ready to transition from sapling to tree. Now I, a 20-year-old, am bicycle-y challenged, unequipped for the trials of adulthood. This anecdote has value, for I equate this with growing up, mounting the bicycle and speeding away from one’s childhood.

So in 2016, I am going to learn how to ride a bike and begin my transformation into a full-fledged adult human being.

In many aspects of our lives, most of us still have our training wheels on in one way or another. Maybe your mom still makes your bed when you go home, maybe most of the money in your account is by the way of your parents or maybe you still don’t know how to pump your own gas. Not to say that these are vices, or even anything to be ashamed of; on the contrary, it is incredibly lucky to be able to afford these types of privileges.

This then begs the questions, when does adulthood officially begin? When are we expected to complete the aforementioned tasks ourselves? When we transition from minors to legal adults at age 18? Or age 21, when the alcohol floodgates are open, and we can legally take our first sip? Or even when we turn 25, and we can officially rent a car? Though let’s face it, no one really cares about that one. So then, adulthood becomes subjective, something we can’t measure by law or social construct; you simply are when you are.

If adulthood is so subjective, why are we constantly being pressured to achieve this type of self development in college? And often times are expected to know exactly where we are going and how to get there after our impending graduations? This type of self growth should be encouraged in college, don’t get me wrong, but with less emphasis on our immediate plans for the future and more on how we can evolve as individuals.

There is value in knowing what path you want to take professionally, of course, but that is only one element of a multifaceted journey to becoming one’s adult self.

The promise of financial independence, buying your own food and even having offspring one day are elements of becoming an adult that are both feared and highly anticipated events in one’s life journey.

As college students it is common to hear complaints of a lack of preparedness for the “real world.” Most of us leave college unable to do our taxes, unaware of how to make a budget or even fix a tire. At least I have absolutely no clue about the latter. It took me approximately half a year after I got my license to accurately fill up my gas tank, so maybe my lack of bicycle prowess isn’t so embarrassing.  

Ideally we would grow up, each of us in due time, when we felt the most prepared to handle the abyss that is the adult world. We would find the jobs that best suited our needs and interests, and spend as much time learning as we felt necessary to prepare us.

However, this type of growing process doesn’t allow for the unexpected: The types of obstacles that are thrown at us and inevitably force us to become adults whether we are ready or not.

Everyone is scared, and everyone is unsure about their futures. Uncertainty is a beautiful and terrifying thing, something that can keep you up at night, whether out of fear or excitement.

So in 2016 I will make greater attempts to allow for self growth while also letting myself be open to the possibilities that becoming an adult throws at you.
I hereby dub 2016 as the year of the bike. A conscious effort to conquer the things that have been holding you back from growing as a person, whether tangible or not, and triumphing your “bike,” whatever it may be.

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