Today I managed a full “admin day”. I handled some household chores, went to the bank, did some shopping, fixed the bathroom sink, ran on the promenade and replied to most of my emails and texts.

When I first started dealing with this sort of admin, each item on its own would be a massive deal. But as I’ve done more of it, it becomes easier. I’ve become better at adulting.

It reminded me of an analogy I’ve used a few times with friends when they’re feeling overwhelmed by the real world.

How is it possible to manage all the admin that comes with being an adult? How are we supposed to juggle friends, family, work, chores, health and still have time to ourselves?

And it only looks like it gets worse, with potential spouses, children and households of our own in the future.

How do people cope with this? How are we going to survive as we get older?

And this is where the analogy comes in….

The Grade 8s 

In South Africa, Grade 8 is the first year of high school, which you enter when you’re 12 or 13 years old. I remember being in Grade 8 and looking at the Grade 12s, who were all either 17 or 18 years old.

The Grade 12s seemed to have everything figured out. Many of them had awards listed down their blazers. They seemed so comfortable when navigating the school and when interacting with teachers and each other. Some were able to handle first team sports, academics, various committees/ portfolios and extra curricular activities and still have time for themselves.

I was in awe of these people. And thought that I would never get there. There was no way that a Grade 8 like me could be someone like that. I could never handle it.

But I did get there. I became someone like that. And I handled it.

The growth and learning I experienced in the new environment eventually gave me all the tools that I needed to get there. It was a tough learning curve and the journey was tough. And I managed to rise up to the challenge

The Grade 8s…. of the world

In the same way, when we left university we entered the real working world as first timers. We were able to rely on our parents less. The world became more complex and a multitude of variables sprung up that we had never dealt with.

Taking a look at people in their 50s, I became fascinated at how they were able to handle so much. There they were with jobs, families, cars, houses and a list of admin to do that was much longer than I could possibly imagine.

So I began to imagine us, the fresh-out-of-varsity-kids as the Grade 8s of the world. If we consider that our working lives will span from when we’re around 25 until we retire at 65, then there are around 40 years to navigate this “real world”.

This means that our “grade 8” phase is the first 7 or 8 years after university. In other words, our 20s and early 30s. This time of our lives is scary.

We don’t feel like we have control. We look at people older then us and wonder how they do it. We think to ourselves that we will never get there. There is no way that “Grade 8s” like us could be like that. We could never handle it.

But we will get there. We will become someone like that. And we will handle it.

So if you’re in your 20s or early 30s and you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’re the grade 8s of the world. We don’t know what we’re doing yet. But we’ll learn. And one day we’ll look back and realize that we were capable of handling it all along

Image was taken on Seapoint Promenade this evening on mine and Jared’s cycle/run 🙂


Blog 53/365. Read more about my #365of25 journey here


Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.