5 Things That Real Adults Do

Age is just a number, they say. And by they, I mean 14-year-old girls who are trying to convince anyone over 25 to take them seriously. Also me when I realize that I’m about to hit up my 10-year high school reunion this summer and I have nothing to show for myself except for a high quality robe that I bought on Treat Yo’ Self Tuesday and a dream diary that I’ve inconsistently written in for the past 4 years:

“February 12, 2013. Last night I dreamt that I died, was cut up, deep fried and fed to the homeless. This probably has something to due with my diet… or my finances.”

Believe it or not, you guys, I’m an adult. The future of our country.  At the very least, the future of my neighborhood. I am old enough to drink, smoke, rent a car and sign up for a reality TV show. Except, I don’t really feel like an adult. Responsible, controlled and appropriate are all adult-like adjectives and I wouldn’t use any of them to describe myself in an online dating profile. I created the following list to separate the Real Adults from the Impostor Adults because I’ve been living the last nine years as a full on, falsified impostor of an adult who should not be doling out morsels of wisdom to anyone younger than me, but I do all the time. So, if you do these things, you are a Real Adult. Congratulations!

Updating Software: I feel like a really adultish thing to do is to keep your computer up to date. My iTunes is still from like, 2007. I can barely open it up without crashing my entire computer. I completely understand that it would only take a couple of hours and an Internet connection to turn it all around, but I never can bring myself to go through with it. ‘Would you like do update Adobe Reader today?’ No. No, I would not. I feel like now I’m setting some kind of record and I should just keep it up for as long as possible. You know, for posterity’s sake.

Oxford Commas: Punctuation can be tricky, but real adults have opinions about punctuation. I feel like I would instantly marry any guy I met who had a secure handle on the Oxford comma situation because a man who can handle an Oxford comma probably doesn’t forget to pay taxes or refill parking meters and I need that in a man. Homophones go in this category, too. A dude who can keep there, their, they’re straight is probably someone I want to mate with. Last November, I mixed up ‘there’ for ‘their’ and it’s still the last thing I think of before I go to sleep at night. Real adults don’t mess up their homophones.

Shower… Every Day: Like, even on the weekend. Even on a rainy Sunday when you’re going to do nothing else except order takeout and pretend to workout but then never end up doing anything except watch TV shows in marathon form. And don’t even get me started on daily hair washing. I mean, a 10 minute shower is one thing, but who are these magical women who wash their hair daily before work? And blow-dry it? And probably use some sort of heat protectant and finishing spray? I mean, this is just never going to happen for me. My arms get too tired and the blow dryer just makes me too sweaty and then I need a shower again.  I love the look of freshly styled hair, unless it’s 6:00 a.m. and then, magically, I love the look of disheveled bedhead.

Vacations: Real adults take vacations. They use their paid time off from work, they plan in advance and they go on vacations with other people who go on vacations.  They set up email messages to let everyone else know they are out of the office. And, most importantly, they don’t sleep on their friend’s floor while they are vaycaying. Oh, no. They book a hotel… ahead of time. They don’t roll through town looking for a vacancy sign and then go in and ask how much it is for one night and then decide that it is cheaper to sleep in their car. No, they don’t do that. I would really like to vacation like an adult because I’m at that age where sleeping on the floor has lost it’s novelty and makes my back all cracky.

Planning: It was only recently brought to my attention that some people plan their meals ahead of time. That way, they only have to go to the grocery store once a week. And that way, when they have unannounced guests around dinner time, they can offer them something for dinner other than microwave popcorn and Girl Scout cookies. They set themselves reminders about people’s birthdays and due dates and they write down important information on things besides napkins and McDonald’s hashbrown wrappers. The last time I got my online banking password right on the first try was never. I never get it right. And I can never remember the answers to my own damn security questions. I bet real adults keep a spreadsheet, or servant, or some kind of locking safe for that kinda stuff.

While being a Real Adult seems pretty magical and serene, I think it’s probably best to have a good mix of both, right? But definitely the vacations. Vacations are where it’s at. Are there any adulty things that I forgot? And are you a real adult? Or are you Club Impostor?

Featured image via ShutterStock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1380021309 Christina Martinez

    Once I set up online bill pay, cleaned my fridge on a regular basis, started paying for life insurance and switched to whole grains; that’s when I became a real adult. Oh and also when I had kids and got real good at keeping them alive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509485829 Rebekah Joy Drabenstot

      I LOL’ed at “got real good at keeping them alive”. That IS the most important thing about kids. haha

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10027862 Justine Craft

      I have no idea how anyone was able to pay bills on time before online bill pay. That would be Adult: Master Level.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=42113507 Kara Jay

        Agreed, but if it’s true, I must be a terrible adult. I have issues even paying them on time with online bill pay, even though I can afford it. I just mostly can’t afford navigating away from Netflix.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=528514018 Maggie Skarich Joos

    Fact: the older I get, the less interested I am in showering on a Sunday. Perhaps I am the Benjamin Button of personal hygiene?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10027862 Justine Craft

    I am missed one on this list. I am almost an adult.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=76200829 Jessica Jeffers

    On meal planning: I have all my favorite recipes (and ones I want to try) on index cards, each with a list of all the necessary ingredients on the back. In theory, I’d pick a week’s worth of meal cards out on Sunday or Monday and use that as a grocery list.

    In reality, I often buy the ingredients then end up eating peanut butter sandwiches or a box of Wheat Thins while all those veggies turn to liquid in my fridge. Planning? Got that shit down. Execution? Needs some work.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002031174626 Jessica Fette

      LOL too funny must be a Jessica thing I do the exact same… and then cleaning out the veggies is totally gross after giving up and leaving them in for a week when you decide to just eat frozen pizzas and hot dogs that take less time cooking! I do much better baking than cooking meals.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=801766461 Annalisa Marie

    I’m “Club Impostor” all the way, and it’s extra scary because I have kids. Not only do I feel like I really ought to have my act together by now (I’m your age – 10 year reunion this summer ACK!), but I also feel like I need to be EXTRA on top of things because I am officially responsible for how other people turn out in life. So much pressure. I cope with the responsibility by cutting out other things like using liquid eyeliner or wearing pants with zippers. Some things just can’t make the cut into my busy day. Also microwave breakfast burritos are a great way to make me feel satisfied that my children are eating nutritious food, and it’s totally just as easy as popcorn or Girl Scout cookies. And a daily shower is NOT happening unless I’ve gone to the gym. If I’ve been sitting around being lazy anyway, why not be even lazier and keep it at a manageable every-other-day pace? I’m not Superwoman.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=24616754 Jessica Monique

    I think it is toys R us’ fault for brainwashing me with their song, “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a toy R us kid” lol! I still feel mentally the same as I did in high school, only with a college degree. Oh well haha!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1468550942 Rebecca Hansen

    I’m glad I’m not the only “adult” who doesn’t feel like an adult. I’ll be thirty next year, but I feel no more adult-like than I did at 21. And while I definitely have an opinion on Oxford commas (English minor) I canNOT bring myself to wash my hair every. single. day. Madness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002031174626 Jessica Fette

    the shower thing. what the……? how can someone NOT shower everyday, yes i may not blow dry my hair everyday but most days i do after washing everyday, and most days all i do is stay home… It just makes me feel better, plus i’m not a lucky lady that doesn’t get bed head and it’s totally unfixable unless washed. :/ I do however wish i could feel comfortable enough to skip it LOL. i just don’t

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1376882641 Nicole Arce

    Oh God, I can’t believe I’m almost an adult! According to this list I’m just missing vacations (because I take vacations but I spend them doing absolutely nothing in my house lol) and planning… I just think of hypothetical situations that may or may not come in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1117419432 Anamaria Davila

    I think the fact that I have a contact file in my outlook w/ all my passwords makes me a real adult! And I’m thoroughly excited for my 30th birthday vacation in 3 weeks I planned/booked/paid off back in Feb. And the fact that I’m using my vacation days is just the icing on my birthday cake.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1533702186 Lisa Morningstar

    I refuse to wash my hair everyday. Aside from it being an unnecessary task unless you’re oozing excessive oils from your scalp or rolling around in dirt on a daily basis, I can’t imagine the time it takes me to wash, dry, and style my hair being factored into every single day of the week.

    Showering everyday is a MUST. I don’t even understand those people who roll out of bed, throw on sweats, and run a bunch of errands *before* heading home and showering.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1460746174 Melissa Elaine Mead

    Fyi, since the hair washing every day seems to be such a huge one:
    It is not good to wash your hair every day unless you need to! (i.e. have an oily scalp that needs it) You are stripping the natural oils out of your hair and that is not good for it!
    (I am a cosmetologist)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584403691 James de Moss

    I would say that you are correct, astute, and thorough on your listing of important grown-up things to do. Also, there’s your Oxford Comma Excellence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513730885 Laura Fred Michael

    Not a fan of this one

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=29607006 Lauren Kinker

    I’m not trying to be a troll, but……seriously?! what is going on in the world that 30 yr old human beings are still doing the same things they were doing when they were 21? I just don’t get it. Believe me, I did my fair share of partying it up, not planning, sleeping on floors, and staying in for days at a time without a shower, but there comes a point in your life where you have to get fed up with your lack of forward motion.
    This year is my 10 yr high school reunion — I have a college degree, two children, a great job, a fabulous husband, I just bought a house, etc… do I care how that compares to my peers? Not in the least, but I care that I’m making progress, making my dreams come true, and planning for my future that no one is in charge of but me. Oh and I don’t “feel” like an adult either, in fact, I question most everything I do, wonder if it was the right thing for me, my kids, my future, I constantly wonder if I’m just messing everything up – but at least I’m trying.

    What is everyone waiting for? Your lives aren’t going to just develop themselves. Question: what happens when all our 50-60 somethings retire from industry jobs and all our 30 somethings are still wandering around waiting for something to happen wondering why they don’t “feel” like an adult yet and blaming their adolescence for why they can’t commit to anything or really work hard at something.
    I’m so over people saying, “I’m just not ready yet.”

    And might I add that caring about punctuation doesn’t mean you’re an adult, it means you care about communicating properly. I’ve cared about that since I was 10.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1483400573 Fabio Onofri

      Well, Lauren. Im older than you. I used to have a job (not wonderful, but well paid). I’ve bought my first home at 23… Now i’m a pennyless freelancer with no future and no home!
      I don’t live in the U.S., so maybe the situation is different there, but here we’re simply screwed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344176798 Katie Lister

      Hey hey….she’s not 30 yet, assuming Ali wasn’t 20 when she graduated high school. Let’s not age the poor girl, Lauren.

      That being said, there is some planning that should be done as soon as possible in life. You will not get a second chance to save money for retirement, children (if you choose to have them), a home, and vacations. The last of which are amazing, ESPECIALLY if you have the second. I would argue, though, that some degree of levity is needed in life. If I worried about everything I did being ‘the right thing’ all of the time I’d be a basket-case. I also wouldn’t have any spontaneous moments with my daughter, husband, or my friends, which usually make for the best memories as they did in my 20’s.

      I’m only 31, but I’ve been married almost 6 years, have a home, daughter, am pregnant, pay life insurance, meal plan (dude, I HAVE to or else I’m screwed), work a regular job, and I have a side business on Etsy with my husband. I’m pretty confident I’ll be ok when we retire (someday) and that my children will have at least some of their college paid for. I know that that life isn’t for everyone, and some people take longer to get there (if they ever do) than others. If you don’t care about how you compare with your peers, then let up on the ones that aren’t as ‘advanced’ as you. Perhaps they have different dreams than you do.

      I currently know more 50-somethings that are lacking in life-planning skills than 30-somethings.. I’m pretty sure most of them will not be retiring in the near future. If they do, then kudos to the 30-somethings that are ready, as they’ll be getting a good, high paying job. I hope that they will continue to have fun in life, otherwise, there isn’t really much point.

      Lighten up, life’s too short.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=837750444 Adam Caron


      I think what you need to understand is that it is all relative. While your dreams and aspirations are more focused on family and normalcy some people strive for different kind of adventure, which may include living in LA to be a writer, in that case it is much harder to book hotel-stay vacations than working X job in a Texas, or Midwest suburb.

      We all “try” in different ways. “Making it” in cities such as LA, NYC, or San Fran requires an incredible amount of energy, social participation, and financial strain just to live a “normal life”. I guess my point is just that we should all respect each others life paths, not everyone dreams of a white picket fence in the suburbs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=769705605 Stacy Roberts

        Agreed, Adam! It bugs me when people assume their life-goals are the only way. Not saying the author is assuming that, but we know many who do. The reaction to news that I plan to move to L.A. from friends and family in a small, suburban town, or even just people who already have their cookie-cutter life is quite comical. It’s just such a foreign idea to them, I guess. The same as being settled with kids is foreign to me. It’s definitely all relative.

        My biggest pet-peeve is when someone says, “I seen it.” :-\

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1181111463 Empty Blank Page

        Testify! and Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=18703830 Derrick Christopher

    I always put the last comma before “and” in any list of items…otherwise, to me, it feels like the last two items are lumped together somehow. Also your/you’re and there/their/they’re are two of my major grammar pet peeves. This is all giving me the urge to re-read Strunk and White.

    But anyway, the point is, when do I pick you up for our first date? (Assuming you don’t just wanna shotgun it but I’m up for that too…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1483400573 Fabio Onofri

    Well, Lauren. Im older than you. I used to have a job (not wonderful, but well paid). I’ve bought my first home at 23… Now i’m a pennyless freelancer with no future and no home!
    I don’t live in the U.S., so maybe the situation is different there, but here we’re simply screwed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=29607006 Lauren Kinker

      I’m sorry to hear that, Fabio. It appears to me that you don’t fall into the category I was speaking about. It sounds like you were motivated to make things happen and you’ve had a tough go at things. Do you really think you’re “screwed”? Where do you live?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000148086321 Cathy Ryder Thomas

    I just had to comment on this! I am more then twice your age so my being an adult is assumed by now.
    I still don’t give a darned about the proper little marks and squiggles that I was supposed to learn to employ in grammar school (pun intended).
    Vacations are sometimes much more fun if you go places without every detail planned although I do like comfy places to sleep.
    Never have learned to care much about what I’m eating until I’m hungry. I go to the store and buy the things I like to eat, have stuff in the freezer and just make up my mind the same day. Most of the time anyway.
    I have raised 3 successful people who mostly seem more organized and proper than I. Maybe the secret to their success is to do what I didn’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1114140022 Michael Allen

    Ali, you are both insightful and hilarious! I followed a link to this post from a friend, and I’m so glad I did. Number two on the list struck a chord with me. The fact that serial commas are rarely used in journalism drives me up the wall.

    I get in slightly punny moods, and I was so tempted to use incorrect homophones throughout this message (e.g., “Ewe our hilarious;” “struck a cord”), but even beginning to write them bothered me so much, I couldn’t send it. I figure it would have similarly grated at your nerves.

    Also, I feel like I’ve gotten so much better with planning stuff in the past couple years. I actually host dinner parties on occasion, at which my past self would have balked and claimed impossible. Adulthood might be around the corner.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading more!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503454636 Holly Leber

    Not a fan of the Oxford comma. I’m an AP Style girl, but I allow that there are times when it helps with clarification. Homophones are another story. There is no wiggle room there. Mix up “waist” and “waste” or “lose” and “loose,” and you get serious demerits in my book.

    And about the daily hair washing…. I actually washed my hair more regularly in my teens and twenties. Since I hit my 30s, it’s a lot less oily, so every other day washings are now ideal.

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