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Afraid of Growing Up and Losing Myself

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From Serbia: I overthink about this lately and I’m anxious about time passing by. I’m afraid of growing up because I think that I’ll have to leave behind the things I like. I feel like, in order to be an adult, I have to change and become completely different person.

Of course, I know that I’ll have to deal with responsibilities and make decisions, but I don’t want to stop doing the things I like because I’m not young anymore, for example watching cartoons (I also like watching documentaries, but that is considered OK for adults) or reading romantic comedies, walking with a friend and just sitting in the park, going somewhere for a drink or icecream, watchig TV shows, taking pictures of myself,spending time with my family doing pretty much casual stuff like playing cards and joking.

I’m not acting spoiled or something, nor do I want to party all the time and be irresponsible, but I do think that I’m young at heart. I like dressing lively and colorful (but appropriate). I don’t want someone to look at me and think “Look at her, she’s almost 30 and she’s still acting like she’s 22, she should be married by now”, especially because I DO want to get married one day and have my own family, I just don’t want to lose myself in routine.

People always say that adults are never as happy and free as children are, so when I feel happy and enhusiastic about small things, I also feel like something’s wrong with me because I’m ‘immature,frivolous’ and that the day I’ll realize that happy period of my life is over will come soon. Like there is some kind of rule that says “When you’re 30, you can’t do this or that, othervise you’ll look silly”.

On the other hand, I do know that happines has nothing to do with age and that I’m worrying too much about what other people thnink, but it’s a fact that are lives are going pretty much in the same direction- graduating from college, finding a job, paying bills, geting married, having kids. Am I crazy for thinking that that doesn’t have to be like prison? It can be fun if we still know how to laugh and enjoy ourselves.

Where does these feelings come from ? How can I overcome them and start enjoying life again?

Afraid of Growing Up and Losing Myself

Answered by on -


Oh my. I have to wonder where you got the idea that being an adult is so dreary and routine. Is that what adults you know and love are like?

Yes, adults have more responsbilities. But as long as they are reasonably responsible, they also have many more opportunities than you do. Jobs can be fulfilling. Marriages can be loving and satisfying. Having children can be joyful as well as stressful.

Look around. Identify adults who are enjoying life and talk to them about it. Many of them probably also like animation, wear colorful and even flamboyant clothing, like to eat ice cream and hang out with friends. It all sure sounds good to me. By all means, keep that young at heart feeling and you’ll find ways to be forever young.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Afraid of Growing Up and Losing Myself

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Afraid of Growing Up and Losing Myself. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.