Becoming an adult brings a certain amount of responsibility—you’ve got to earn a living, pay bills, be accountable for your actions. And with all that responsibility comes stress and worry. You can’t always make the world a wonderful place for everyone in your life. That’s when it’s important to realize that there’s a flip side to being a responsible adult. Because a certain amount of freedom also comes with maturity.

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You no longer have to stress about things that are really not important if you think about the big picture. Here are some things you are free to let go of:
1) What Others Think. Sure, you want people to like you, and they do for the most part. But some just aren’t as mature as you, so they will gossip and judge. And maybe you did something that earned their enmity, but maybe you didn’t. Try not to let it matter to you because you are living your life the way you feel you should. You can’t live it the way other people feel you should.

2) Past Mistakes. We’ve all made them. And unless there’s something you can do to fix a past mistake, like apologize, then try to give up stressing about it. It’s over. There’s nothing you can do to change what happened. You can only change the way you think about what happened. You can forgive yourself. You can try to learn from your mistake so you won’t make it again. But do not waste your precious life wishing you had done something different.

3) What Others Think About How You Dress. You thought it would be appropriate to wear jeans and a tee shirt but everyone else is in skirts and heels. Or you have your own crazy look. Or you felt sexy and dressed a little provocatively. Or you wanted to be comfy in mom jeans. The point is, be yourself. Dress how you’d like. And rock your own style.

4) Toxic Friends and Family. This is not easy, but if you have suffered with toxic people in your life assuming that you have to put up with them, take stock. If they are friends, consider dropping them. Family are more difficult to drop, but you may need to for your own safety and sanity. For friends and family you can’t drop but who suck your energy, establish firm boundaries. Do not let them control your life anymore. Do not engage. You may continue being polite, and they will try to break your boundaries, but be resolute. And move on.

5) What Others Think on Social Media. Really. Some of these people you don’t even know. Why do you care what they think about your posts? Why do you care how many ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ you get? Unless you are trying to build a business that depends on your popularity on Facebook and Instagram, forget about it. And for heaven’s sake, don’t use social media for revenge or to prove to that guy back in middle school that you’re cool now. Because you’re a grown up.

6) Things You Don’t Have. Yes, more money would certainly be nice, but if you have enough, then relax. Material possessions are highly overrated. Just ask your grandma who has a house full of stuff that she’s trying to get rid of. Things are just things and they lose their luster. Experience the joys of life, some of which cost absolutely nothing. Have a nice conversation with a friend. Take a look at the wildflowers in your neighborhood. Build happy memories.

7) What Others Think About You. Sure you want your mom and dad and family and friends to approve of you. Some people spend their whole lives striving for parental approval even after their parents are dead. But if you are true to yourself, you will do the right thing regardless of what your parents think. Remember, they are fallible human beings and they can be wrong in withholding their approval. You must do what you think is best for yourself. Let your heart and soul guide you.
Because really, you’re too old for this sh*t.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact