My So-Called Adulthood

A couple weeks ago, I sort of “reprimanded” two undergrad girls who were shadowing a surgeon in the OR. They were talking loudly about their weekend while I was putting a nervous patient to sleep. Feeling silly, but wanting peace and quiet for my patient, I said “Ladies, can you please take your conversation outside?”

Who am I? A nagging teacher? I immediately got nervous that they were going to fire back at me, like, “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? You’re our age!” Well I got no such response. They immediately apologized and were quiet. Um… Am I an adult authority figure?

Becoming an adult has been a long, slow process that flies by in retrospect. I find myself consistently surprised, disappointed, excited, confused and thrilled. All of this blends into an overall neutral feeling of, “Well hey, I’m just doing this life thing I guess.” With another birthday recently come and gone, I’ve been thinking about the biggest surprises and the most awesome things about becoming an adult. Sure, there are things that suck… But I try to turn those around or get past them as quickly as possible. I most certainly won’t dwell on them here, and they can’t be any worse than the things that sucked about being younger. The strangest thing is how I felt like an adult, or like I should be one, right up until I realized I had actually become one. Now I just feel like a really experienced 22-year-old or something.

Surprises about being an adult:

1. Awkward phases continue through adulthood. So do pimples. Ugh. Hair does get a little less frizzy, though.

2. You are really guessing at how to do things a lot of the time.

3. You don’t magically know the answers.

4. You still get your feelings hurt.

5. Sometimes your body hurts, for like, no reason.

6. You start to wake up early because you want to.

7. You find out that boring things really are interesting.

8. People are still looking for friends.

9. People are still really, really funny.

10. People start to look young really, really quickly. And they look really, really young.

11. You never feel old.

12. Gray hairs just sprout on up.

13. Nothing really feels like the end of the world anymore. At least not every week.

14. Staying in is heavenly. Going to bed at 10 on a Friday is luxurious.

15. You understand more jokes.

16. You don’t automatically understand politics.

17. You realize how human your parents are, and how clueless they were when they had you.

18. You really do have to take care of that bod.

19. You still cry. Maybe a lot.

20. You tend to wear the same amount of clothing all year round.

21. Halloween is even MORE fun; whether it be the parties or giving out candy to trick or treaters.

22. Younger people see you as an adult?!


Awesome things about being an adult:

1. You make your own choices, for the most part, and set your own goals.

2. You can get a pet.

3. Sarcasm increases linearly with age.

4. You can call in sick.

5. You can change up your style and no one is really monitoring it anymore.

6. You can have whatever you want for meals, whenever you want.

7. You can go to bed late.

8. You can have a glass of wine to relax – There is no need to binge drink.

9. People appreciate the things that make you different.

10. You can get back into cool hobbies… There are no uncool hobbies (except murder and stuff I guess… But hey, look at Dexter?).

11. Rest assured, everyone is sort of blindly forging their way, and you can help each other.

12. Feeling in control and responsible is actually pretty rewarding, eventually (trust the rebel that never wanted to settle down)!

13. Your parents become an entirely new source of wisdom, as they really do know what you were going through (even though they had NO IDEA in high school).

14. You finally understand what clothing works on your body, and you are comfortable with your style.

15. You learn to admire people instead of envy them.

16. You realize that you can do a lot of things, and that you are really quite strong.

17. You realize and appreciate the people who made you who you are.

18. You don’t really need to care about being popular – Relationships are all about quality, not quantity.

19. Your mom doesn’t hold a grudge for how you put her through hell in high school.

20. Your friendships are ridiculously strong, and remain strong despite getting together even as little as once every couple of months.

21. You feel much more secure in your skin, and place more value on that truly amazing personality and those years of experience and knowledge.

22. You can still totally be a kid and be youthful… But with advantages like money, the ability to drive, a place of your own, the ability to have a drink in an airport bar alone, the ability to go out to eat alone and the ability to make better choices.

So those are my reflections after a particularly adult-like past couple of months. I am realizing I am just an experienced, wise kid having a blast in this adult life. I enjoy life, and my responsibilities to myself and the people and things I care about. Does that sound boring and nerdy or what? Well, surprisingly it’s not. Not at all. Added bonus? Re-watching My So Called Life, I still relate 100% to Angela… And now I also relate 100% to her Mom. I might cover my grays with “Crimson Glow” and cut my hair short.

What do you all like about being an “adult”? Or about being a “kid”? What has surprised you?

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  • Stephanie Rudolph

    I don’t know why, particularly, but this really hit me. Good list to remind me why I should be happy about where I am in life. Thank you!

    • Alexandra

      I wish I had made a list of why every age was awesome!

  • Linda Goodman

    Love this!

    • Alexandra

      Thank you!

  • Karine Groulx

    Love it!

    • Alexandra


  • Dani Marquez

    This was really touching :)

    • Alexandra

      Thank you so much!

  • Patty Housel

    All of this is totally true whether you are 22 or 52. For real.

    • Alexandra

      Yup. I feel like I am 22 and 52.

  • Angeleeta Sosnowski

    This is so very true. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this past year as I approach the big 40 and realize that age is all in your mind. And being older is totally awesome.

    • Alexandra

      Even though we have to get older, we can remain youthful!

  • Brittney Reyes

    i love that i can eat ice cream at any time of the day :) it really makes me feel blissful about being an adult and having ALL. THAT. FREEDOM.

    • Alexandra

      Haha so so true… Kind of like my Sour Patch Kids breakfasts. There have been one or two!

  • Sarax Bezdek

    You don’t really notice the change until something like that hits you. I’m 25 and don’t feel like an adult. It only hits me sometimes when I’m sitting alone in my apartment looking around, and it’s just like “holy crap, how did this happen?”

    • Alexandra

      OMG totally! It happens to me while driving, too… Like WOAH, here I am driving MY car to MY job. Whaaat?

  • Liz Haebe

    Sometimes, I have a hard time realizing I’m an adult. I vividly remember last year, standing with my Aunt and all of the sudden realizing, I’m no longer a 15 year-old girl, and she’s not in her 30’s anymore. Suddenly, we were having an adult conversation, and it was great. I forget, sometimes, that I’m me but grown up. And, no matter how much I may ‘want my mommy’, the only one who has control in certain situations is me. That’s way, way, way adult!

    • Alexandra

      Yeah… A couple weeks ago my Dad told me that my age made HIM feel old! Haha. I still think he’s like 40.

  • Alycia Lourim

    I love that I can buy a bottle of wine and drink most it to myself and my mom finds it funny and my dad will ask at dinner if i want a beer. i love that my mom is starting to realize that I am going to eventually move and no matter how much it scares her she is starting to see me as grown woman and not her little girl anymore. I love that I do go to bed early and it feels great knowing that the next day I will wake up early and get more of my day to myself. However, it does surprise me when I see that Emma Stone turned 23 yesterday and she has a full-fledged career and I am only a year younger her and still am struggling to find a second job so I can actually move out of my parents house and make my future happen in LA. Oy.

    • Alexandra

      Don’t let the Emma Stones of the world get to you! She is doing things, yes, but so are you! You will make it happen. It just takes time and work… But then you look back and it flew by!

    • Britt Bulens

      I can so relate!

  • Elisabeth Miller

    Yes to this post. When I hit 30, all of a sudden I just didn’t care what other people thought. I dress how I want, go out or don’t go out and no longer try to fit in. I’m me.

    • Alexandra

      Seriously. For whatever reason, when I turned 30 like every molecule in my body just chilled out a little. I am so happily me now!

    • Brittany Foote

      God I hope I get there. I’m 28 and just moved back home to my mom’s house (which I haven’t lived in since I was 17) and feel like the biggest failure. I had to move home because of ending a 6 year relationship. I’ve been on my own for 10 years and feel like I may never feel like an adult again. Seriously at this point how does an adult even act? ugghh sorry I’m kinda intolerable right now. Yeaaaa adulthood!

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Um, I wish I could move back in with my parents quite regularly as a matter of fact! Living at home to regroup is necessary sometimes! I know it’s silly and annoying to hear, but this is making you bullet proof strong. Ending a relationship that long is traumatizing! Stay strong.

    • Brittany Foote


  • Samantha Smith

    Agreed! Thanks for sharing!

    • Alexandra

      Thanks for reading!!

  • Cynthia B. Robles

    it’s funny but i still watch my so-called life on the regular and still relate to angela but that was the beauty of the character she was your typical teenager full of angst and completely immersed in all her emotions but she was also wise beyond her years.

    also i am on a snail’s pace at finishing college and getting a so-called “career” which really used to bother me but it’s true, as i’ve gotten older (while i still have important goals I’d like to achieve) I do feel a sense of accomplishment for what I have done in my 27 years of life and have more confidence in my abilities and myself that only time and experience could have give me.

    p.s. where is that pic of Claire and Jared from? it totally delighted my television nerd self!

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Yes! You should be proud of just being a kickass 27 year old! Finishing college is just gravy. The really important stuff is becoming who you are in my humble opinion.

  • Miranda Robertson

    I love your posts! (I think I say that every time, but you always say shit I agree with, so I blame you :p) I totally agree with this. Both days just this past weekend I got up at 8 because I wanted to. I don’t even know who I am any more.

    My favourite thing about getting older is that things aren’t such a drama anymore. Nothing is the end of the world. I don’t have to have makeup on before I leave the house – or go to work. I don’t have to go to a party if I don’t want to go. I don’t have to be friends with people I don’t like. And the world will not end. I also think I say yes to things more. I don’t like my figure at all, but I ran around like a maniac in a wetsuit out on the Great Barrier Reef for everyone to see because who cares what you look like when you get to go scuba diving at one of the most magical places in the world?? I do miss university, though – we were always on break. I am considering a Masters, but somehow I think working full time it won’t be quite the same…

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Hahaha! I agree 100%. The freedom to leave the house without makeup is thrilling (that’s kinda sad), but ironically my skin is better than ever because I wear less makeup haha. I have totally become more of a yes person too! The Great Barrier Reef sounds so amazing!!! I also always think about going back to school someday… I love it!

  • Bethany Kramer

    This made me smile! I could definitely relate to the surprises and the awesome things. Thanks, Alexandra!

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Thank YOU! Thanks for reading!

  • Kati Ber

    just the other day i stood in the middle of my apartment and looked around thinking: “All of this is mine… how the f*** did that happen?”
    Being an adult is so awesome! 😀

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Haha it’s crazy, right?

  • Stephanie Titus

    I was going to a game at the college I graduated from… and realized I was older then most of the kids walking around the school and the athletes… Weird!

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Oh I know! College students look sooo young to me now!

  • Julia Wade

    loved this! made sure to share it on fb as well :)

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Thanks girl!!!

  • Heather Mckown

    This was great, and really gave me hope about being an adult as i am still a child in many ways even though i am 26…though everything has been changing this year slowly pushing me out of neverland and into reality. Also this year i re-watched “anywhere but here” and instead of relating with the natalie portman character i related with the susan surandon character and a movie i had remembered as being funny now seemed heartbreakingly sad.

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