Really sad about growing up

I really like all the people I work with at my bank, and I really like the industry (RX) in general too.

I've really enjoyed myself this summer, but I can't help but feel insanely depressed about growing up. I was born in 2000, and I remember my life from 2006 to 2012 vividly...everything was so magical. I guess it's like that as a kid. I'd watch shit like Star Wars and Ironman, and it was real. I'm sure you were all like that at some point. High school was super fun too, but now I just feel so depressed about knowing that I'm going to grow up and die. I mean, I always knew it would happen, but I suppose it took going into an office building doing corp work everyday to really feel it. 

I love being an adult, but sometimes I wish I could have just been a little kid forever...

Comments (41)

Jul 23, 2022 - 9:19pm
mergelord11, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Every single person feels this way, unless they had an unusually traumatic childhood. It's part of growing up. I'm not trying to minimize it for you, I know it sucks. Big time. But part of being an adult is accepting it for what it is, and finding a way to appreciate your childhood, but not reach for recreating it. If you do that, it will become a real problem. You can't be a man-child. That's not fun for anyone

Jul 23, 2022 - 9:28pm
GenZ, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have a cousin who is 15+ years older, and was watching over his son who is like 7, and I found it so fun and cool, and it made me wish to be a father one day, but I can't help but still feel sad. 

  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2022 - 11:37am

Had an unusually traumatic childhood. I'm still sad about growing up. Just sad that I will never get to experience the childhood that my friends and colleagues experienced.

  • Associate 1 in RE - Comm
Jul 26, 2022 - 5:36pm

I also had a rough go of it as a kid. I have a great job with a great company and great colleagues. But damn I'd love to be 10 again. Not even to change anything in my past, just to relive childhood. Silver lining I guess is being an adult makes me excited to have kids one day.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 23, 2022 - 9:47pm

There's really no magic in being a young professional. I feel like the next new and exciting thing to look forward to is raising kids, and then when you send them off that's extremely bittersweet and kind of equivalent to the feeling you and every other person this age has

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2022 - 10:31am

There's the initial period of excitement being out their own your own, but I agree it's very much a means to the end of having more financial security which will enable you to do and see more. Still, we can manage to always appreciate the small moments and good times when they present themselves.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2022 - 2:42am

Tell me you were the bullied nerd without telling me you were the bullied nerd.

Jul 26, 2022 - 6:51am
Hayek, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Same. There's a lot from childhood I miss but for the most part I've just been getting happier as I've gotten older.

  • Analyst 2 in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2022 - 5:36am

Watch the movie "inside out". This was all about what goes on in a person's mind as they grow up.

Most Helpful
  • Associate 2 in PE - Growth
Jul 24, 2022 - 6:52am

A few things here and advice for younger posters. This is a great post because this feeling is real, very common, and sucks! 

  • This is normal and acknowledge it is normal and you are not alone in these thoughts. You can look at happiness graphs and generally childhood and the period right around college is the first peak of life happiness. Afterward, it declines and tends to decline for awhile until a second peak around retirement age. It can be brutal accepting this reality that statistically, being a kid is a happier time for most than adulthood and facing the real world.
  • Right after college specifically tends to be a really brutal time for many kids. There is a brutal realization that hits where you realize your friends are likely all in different cities, there aren't "events" planned every weekend and tons of recreational activities and parties like college, and you basically are working doing the same tasks and will do so Monday-Friday (or more in this field) until you die. Also, your job post school is likely more of you being a cog in a machine than you expected.
  • The world gets real and serious very fast. Rent and expenses become a concern and you realize career moves and decisions can significantly impact the rest of your life. I think my friend once said it best with "Up until your first job, you really are only opening doors. Post that decisions are so brutal because while they do open doors, they also close them and that is hard to accept" Put another way, going to college was only going to open doors not close them. If you take a job in marketing however, getting into private equity might be very hard. Additionally, career plans as an adult might take decades to pan out or you might have to stay in a role for a year that you don't love. Making this worse is there is no right answer for charting a career since it is individualistic to you. This causes almost every adult anxiety because you don't know wtf you are doing or if you are making good decisions.
  • Now the good news: here's how you shake this feeling and where I would argue adults find happiness if they are smart as they age:
  1. Ask yourself what you are looking forward to. This applies to both life broadly and in the short run. For example, even if you are getting worked like a dog in IB, you should be able to find something that brings you joy each week. It could be a Saturday basketball league, or lifting weights/ going for a run, or a weekly brunch/smoke sesh/ super smash bros get together with friends. The point is, the happy people I know all have something they do once a week at least outside of work that they look forward to. Additionally, find medium term things to look forward to. The amazing part about being an adult is the lack of restrictions. This is the time to grab your friends and go to Europe. Or, plan a road trip to Nashville. It can take awhile for this to shake out (this is hard to do the first year out of school, since the world hits people like a truck). However, after the first year, the happiest people I know reached out to friends and began planning trips and coordinating aligned vacation days. 4th of July trips, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day, etc. all become highlights of a year where you get to reconnect and remember just how lucky you are to have amazing friends. Lastly, long term goals. Ask yourself what you want from life? Is it hard? Absolutely. But, the happy people I know have things they are working toward in the long run and things they are looking forward to. My dad once told me the only thing better than being a kid and having an amazing childhood is having a kid (planned) and providing them with a childhood better than your own. The cool part about being a parent is you relive all your childhood memories, but this time on the other side with now a spiritual connection to your parents and an understanding of what they went through being your parent. The magic of Christmas or the Easter bunny, the excitement of birthdays or even silly things like a kid successfully potty training become a major source of joy and fulfillment. These are things I am looking forward to. For you, you might not want kids and wish to sit on a beach somewhere at 40 and hang out with 18 year olds it doesn't matter. The point is, if you believe the best days are yet to come and work toward getting there, your childhood doesn't have to be your peak. Also, even if it is-there are so many crazy fun and cool and exciting adventures and experiences left. Have faith and look forward to those-you might meet a guy or girl that changes everything or a friend that you never realized you needed in your life.
  2. With the above, take stock of what makes you happy and lean into it. Another realization of life that happens as you age is how fleeting life is. There is an unlimited amount of problems and issues in the world and let me save you the suspense, you are going to get rocked in the next few years. You might tank interviews, have abusive bosses, someone you care about probably will die, but if you focus on that, life sucks. Instead realize that when you are on a great date, or hanging out with old friends you are peaking. Do everything you can to cherish those moments and appreciate how lucky you are fully acknowledging internally how happy you are in those moments that certainly will never happen again.

Best is yet to come if you want it to and hold out long enough you guys, I promise.

Jul 25, 2022 - 10:04pm
Faustian, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Cheers, one of most thoughtful and honest comments I've seen here. Struggled with a lot of what you mentioned right after school, but it got better and I became very thankful for what I have and the people in my life (even if they're all in different cities).

A lot of being happy requires taking a step back and recognizing all you have to be happy about. It's never going to be perfect, but it's often pretty damn good.

  • Associate 1 in CorpDev
Jul 24, 2022 - 9:57am

In summary, adult life is serious, consequential and unfiltered. Our world as kids was largely silly, especially as you reflect back, inconsequential and filtered for harshness. Life was easy and happiness was simpler to achieve. I had a decent childhood but one thing that always bothered me was a lack of influence/power. This feeling wasn't in the maniacal sense, but I always felt a lack of freedom and control. I was one of the kids that always had older friends because they incrementally represented this desire to grow up and achieve more control over my life.

Now as an adult, I have full autonomy over my life. Specifically, I have financial freedom - relatively speaking -  and a general sense of being able to manifest my life however I see fit. This control brings me joy when short term and long term plans come to fruition but also pain when they don't. In aggregate, I'm probably not happier than I was when I was a kid, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Autonomy and responsibility are deep desires and as long as I'm satisfied and overall happy in an absolute way, I've achieved what I wanted as a child which was to be a "big kid" without too many downsides. I never yearn to be a child when so much of the world and possibilities are now in grasp as an adult.

I could see one wanting to be a kid if life is overwhelming and unsatisfying. I had those thoughts for a period of time in my 20's, so you are not alone. However, I partially overcame them when I reprioritized and readjusted my goals. The other part that helped was purely luck driven but had to do with stumbling upon hobbies/interests that I enjoy and a career that is generally starting become more fulfilling. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2022 - 10:11am

I've felt this way many times. I remember when I was 16 or 17 feeling sad I wasn't a 12 year old now. In college sometimes I missed high school. Now I graduated college and once I start working I'm going to miss college. I still find happiness sometimes in the present, but the more aware I become of my surroundings the more often I find myself feeling down. 

One part that's hard for me is seeing my parents and siblings age, they're still all healthy and working and our relationship is honestly better now than it was compared to when I was young, but still makes me sad sometimes, and they're not even really old yet (mid 50s, siblings mid to late 20s).

I stay in touch with my family including grandparents and visit whenever possible and make sure to try and be a good friend, son, and brother however possible.

The childish excitement I found easily a few years back is harder to find, but going to new beautiful places, seeing amazing landscapes, meeting new people and traveling with those I love brings those feelings back sometimes.

I'm excited to be a dad someday, my parents as first generation immigrants did a lot and achieved their version of the American dream including financial security So I don't really have to work if I didn't want to, but I have a different vision for my next generation and want to branch out for a few years to develop and mature.

One thing I feel my parents could have done better was cherish my own and my siblings childhood, but my dad worked so hard in the corporate world and my mom had to run the house with 3 kids and grandparents living together through health ailments and all, we often ate dinners alone and only travelled together if others were visiting us, never together as a family.  We had all the private lessons we wanted, but my parents were so busy they couldn't be there to cheer us on and enjoy the small moments much. I want to give my kids the world and also be there to foster their growth into hopefully virtuous and talented people. 

One thing I try to make sure is I don't miss the present. It's easy to keep feeling bad about yesterday or anxiously awaiting tomorrow, but we live here, now. So try to find some happiness in that. 

I try my best to refuse to become numb, and i often fail. We are here for a blink in time, I think we need to do all we can to appreciate that and make an impact wherever we can, the end of our lives are all guaranteed after all. 

Jul 24, 2022 - 10:55am
Cedar on Mid, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So I was born in 2001, and I feel like I am one of the few people that doesn't miss being a kid. I had a fantastic upbringing and I have a lot of great memories, but I love where I am at in life so much more

  • Partner in PE - Other
Jul 24, 2022 - 11:39am

Everything you are feeling is normal. I am about tweny years older than you and have felt the same as you many times.

I was sexually assaulted when I was 8 and also had a crummy childhood without having parents. Enjoy the ride that is this crazy thing called life - make the most out of every day.

Jul 24, 2022 - 7:42pm
HardestOfHardos, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't know why, but I really love that phrase. 

Enjoy the ride that is this crazy thing called life

Stokes feelings of excitement and joy. The intrigue of the unknown experiences, people and places to come.

I've been going through some mental hardships recently and whenever I feel down, I think about the crazy thing called life and realise how fucking grateful I am to be here. No matter what happens, there is always another door to open. Another turn to take. Another experience to be had. 

That's why I fucking love life and cannot wait to see what it brings me next. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2022 - 10:58pm

You're just creating more cognitive dissonance brother. Going through mental hardships while incessantly trying to convince yourself that you should for some reason be grateful for merely being in a specific time and place... the hyperbolic, Reddit-like style of writing doesn't lie. Telling people to be "grateful" for what they have is a vicious poison, some opium that's there to subsume any man's desire to strive to improve his situation. It's the great lie of therapists and Americans, something a female would say - be happy with what you have, don't try anything, be static, be feminine.

Jul 24, 2022 - 1:01pm
ADTIBE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Being a kid has its perks, but I love being an independent adult. I suppose being educated and having a high paying job helps.

For example, as a kid, I was always mesmerized by cars at the Auto Show. Now I actually own cars that would be on display. Best part is, sometimes random kids will come up to me to check out one of my cars. I'll let them sit in the driver's seat and take a picture (if their parents allow).

I hope those kids get to be like me when they grow up. 

  • Teller in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2022 - 11:51pm

I think the hardest part about this is coming to terms with how fast life goes by. It devastates me realizing that my parents have gotten old. It's so sad for me to compare pictures of when I was a kid with my mom and dad and siblings vs now. Everyone has aged so much and it just never stops. It sounds pretty dumb when I type it out, because duh, time goes by, but damn if it is not the most heart wrenching thing to think about. Sometimes it legitimately brings me to tears.

Enjoy every second you get with the people you care about. In the end, thats what will matter the most to me I think.

Jul 25, 2022 - 11:39am
joejoejoerogan, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Same here, I still remember the day I accidentally discovered a couple dozens of photos of my parents when they were from 6 to 15 y/o. I don't know why but all of a sudden I found myself crying like an absolute mess. I guess it's just realizing how someone I've always beheld as "cornerstone", or "someone who can always come and save my ass" is just a kid that is 30 years older than me after all. Now as my parents are back home in China, and I'm here in the states realizing I gotta stick around for quite a while, it's just very sad.Time is fleeting, and all I can say is cherish every moment you have.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 25, 2022 - 9:19am

I get you but at the same time, now instead of watching movies on Saturday nights you can actually live these movies:

- Looking for excitement ? Sign up to a skydiving course. I have done so and a friend of mine did 300+ jumps in 2 years. This is more fun than watching iron man trust me. 

- If you're still hung up on this iron man thing then go to Dubai and try these flying backpack things, problem solved. 

- You like travel movies ? Go spend Christmas at Punta cana and spring break in Tulum. Take your girlfriend/boyfriend to Italy or France. 

- You're single ? Go to Vegas for the weekend and be ready to mingle. 

- You like dancing ? Go to salsa classes after work and then attend salsa congresses in Croatia or Morroco

- You love your parents? Invite them on a holiday or send flowers to your mom. You can actually afford this now. 

- You have friends ? You can now have real conversations and real friendships vs. teenage flings. 

Your whole life is ahead of you. The good thing is that now you have 1) money 2) skills and 3) more freedom to do whatever you want. Set goals, achieve them, enjoy the ride. 

Jul 25, 2022 - 2:02pm
bawstin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I feel like every summer and every semester is the best one I ever had. It gets better and better. But now reading the comments, I dont know if this is gonna last :(

Jul 25, 2022 - 2:08pm
adm98, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Can't really relate. My childhood sucked. I love my freedom and financial independence. Plus I now get to experience lots of the fun things I never got to as a kid due to financial constraints, like travelling, going to NFL/NBA/NHL games, etc.

Jul 25, 2022 - 7:55pm
John Stone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wake up! You're an adult now! It's time to move on and do something with your most precious commodity…and that means making an ish ton of money before you take that dirt nap 😉

Jul 25, 2022 - 7:55pm
John Stone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wake up! You're an adult now! It's time to move on and do something with your most precious commodity…and that means making an ish ton of money before you take that dirt nap 😉

Jul 25, 2022 - 7:55pm
John Stone, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wake up! You're an adult now! It's time to move on and do something with your most precious commodity…and that means making an ish ton of money before you take that dirt nap 😉

  • Analyst 1 in PE - Growth
Jul 26, 2022 - 12:40am

Slightly older but probably a similar stage of life. I've actually felt like my life has progressively improved since childhood in a few ways:

1. Gained professional clarity - I grew up in a town where few kids went into finance, and going to a large university helped me find friends/mentors that gave me a spark. Subsequent internships allowed me to explore almost everything I wanted to within the realm of PE and helped me land a great gig out of school. Is it an office job like any other? Sure, but I chose it because I'm at a growth fund and genuinely enjoy my day-to-day of speaking with entrepreneurs, diving into new tech verticals, learning to structure deals, etc. I chose the profession because I thought it was something I might have a knack for and enjoy, the money was secondary (but nice).

2. Self-discovery - through the process of growing up and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, I grew into my own skin overtime and figured out what kind of person I wanted to be and who I jived with. There are always things that I wish could be changed, but overall maturity helped me build a better relationship with my family and keep the S/O and friendships that matter.

3. Having fun - I grew up in a pretty boring community and had friends, but kept very few of those going after high school. As many have alluded to, simply having much more freedom and money has significantly bettered my quality of life, whether it's taking the S/O away for a weekend getaway or a Vegas trip with the boys. I'm not much of a material person but I can finally have a nice space of my own (not a shitty college apartment), a car, and treat myself to a classy meal or fashion item from time to time without feeling bad. 

Just my 2 cents I'm throwing out there, obviously know this differs from person to person. Cheers mate and hope you keep your head up

Jul 26, 2022 - 5:58am
Kevin25, what's your opinion? Comment below:

you know you can still watch Star Wars and ironman. if you want it to be more real, take some edibles.

now mom doesn't switch off your tv and tells you go to bed. now you can bring girls over and watch Star Wars with them. life is better as an adult, if you make good money.

Jul 26, 2022 - 11:39am
rf949, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Odio facilis dolores blanditiis nobis. Et reprehenderit voluptatem recusandae recusandae quia consectetur. Autem qui iure et repellat sunt esse nihil. Rerum reiciendis quis ut necessitatibus. Maxime minima voluptas est.

Start Discussion

Career Advancement Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲03) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (= =) 99.2%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲04) 98.8%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲08) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (+ +) 98.0%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲13) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲05) 99.2%
  • Greenhill (▲07) 98.8%
  • PJT Partners (▽03) 98.4%
  • Macquarie Group Limited ABN (▲22) 98.0%

Professional Growth Opportunities

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company (▲05) 99.6%
  • Lincoln International (▲03) 99.2%
  • PwC Corporate Finance (▲14) 98.8%
  • RBC Capital Markets (▲11) 98.4%
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch (▲04) 98.0%

Total Avg Compensation

August 2022 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $613
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (311) $414
  • Vice President (38) $392
  • Associates (205) $256
  • 2nd Year Analyst (126) $164
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (18) $159
  • 1st Year Analyst (416) $151
  • Intern/Summer Associate (80) $148