I’m a dreamer. This fact was made clear to me at an early age through my tendency to obsessively set goals and see just how fast I could achieve them. I’ve lived most of my life with one foot in the future, allowing my brain space to be consumed by who I would be someday instead of who I was right then.

Though I hate to admit it, the thrill of imagining how I would feel about myself and my life if my dreams were realized was often more satisfying than living in the “not yet” of the present. As a result, it became easy for my dreams to feel more like burdens – ideas and goals that weighed on my mind and heart until they were complete. This was only made more challenging by the fact that I usually had more dreams than any one season of life could hold.

Our twenties are often a time to learn who we are, to try out our talents and gifting in the world, and to develop meaningful relationships. The focus is on moving forward and creating a life that makes you feel alive and getting to know yourself as an independent adult.

But while we move into the next life stage, so do our parents. As we age, so do our parents. Very few of us consider the impact of our parents aging on our young adulthood. How do we create an independent life and stay appropriately connected to our parents? How do we balance our goals with our parents’ needs?

Here are a few ideas on how to navigate early adulthood with our parents in mind.

Some people are energized when they enter a party, maintaining a posture of confidence as they approach each conversation. They remain self-assured and emboldened as they socialize throughout the evening. However, many people do not feel this sense of excitement when they approach large gatherings. Instead, a sense of insecurity and dread settles in at the mere thought of working the room at a party or business meeting.

Whether you are someone who is comfortable with large parties or someone who gets nervous at the thought of even attending one, we are wise to keep a few things in mind that are sure to help us work a room and intentionally connect with other people.