Lisa Lo Paro
May 12, 2015 5:32 am

I’m 23. I’m a college-educated working writer, and even though I have been in the work force since I was 13 — as a waitress, bartender, then as an intern in half a dozen offices, an SAT tutor and finally as a freelancer — there are still so many aspects of being an adult that just go waaay over my head. Like, how can I know so much about the internal structure of a plant cell but still have no idea how to file my own taxes? THESE are the kinds of lessons we should learn in school, as well as things few people ever need, like pre-calculus. (Kidding, math teachers.)

Becoming an adult comes with a lot of awesome milestones: at 18, you can get a tattoo, serve your country, and rent a hotel room. You can drink at 21 and rent a car at 25. But there are still so many things about being an adult and growing older that still scare the absolute daylights out of me. Like these things:

Paying a mortgage

Paying rent I completely understand—you need a place to live so you pay someone for that space. But buying a house involves all sorts of scary and confusing things like a down payment, thirty years mortgage, being in escrow, and a whole host of other things no one tells you. Because seriously, who even knows what “escrow” means anyway? I know it has to do with loans and bank accounts, but my knowledge stops there. I’m going to need a pamphlet or an e-course before I dive into that deep end.

Saving for retirement

Um…I have a savings account? Does that count? Whenever my sisters talk about 100% contribution matching and 401(K)s I’m all like *snooooooze.* But then you see these commercials on TV about these stately gentlemen who have only enough retirement money left for half of their lifespans, or news items about how no one can retire at 65 anymore, and how Social Security is spiraling toward bankruptcy. I will retire at 84, if I’m lucky. *Sigh*

All of the insurances

I refer the recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians when Kylie Jenner is spooked out of buying a house because of all of the crazy-type insurances she needs and has no idea how to manage. Things like homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, earthquake insurance, fire insurance, homeowner’s association fees, and  rattlesnake fencing are totally crazy things that I never even thought existed, let alone needed. Except perhaps for the rattlesnake fencing. I’ll definitely need that.

Being married (not so much getting married)

Getting married I am totally excited for, from a strictly fashion-and-party perspective. You get to buy a pretty dress! All of the flowers! Everything is about you! Open bar! But…being married? Like, having a potential spouse? Being a wife? Just thinking of myself as a “wife” is enough to give me the shivers. I am totally behind my friends who have taken the leap, but it still feels so distant and incomprehensible for me. I’m used to be a onesome, not a twosome—and making a lifelong commitment is hard to imagine at this point in my not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman state of mind.

Being full-time responsible for child

BABIES! Who doesn’t love babies? They giggle all cute, they’re squishy in the best ways, and when they cry you can just be like, “Take her back!” Except…the mother is you. And you’re entirely responsible for the well-being and future of a whole other human being, and that’s provided you only have one child. I’m still a child, so becoming a mother is perhaps the most frightening thing I can think of. It’s also, I’ve heard, the most rewarding thing—and I totally admire moms who are fielding their 20s with children. But I’m not ready yet.

Paying off massive debt

How am I ever going to save for retirement if I am still paying off my college tuition when I inevitably retire at 84 years old?!

Turning into my parents

I love my parents, but the slow descent from my young, carefree personality into someone who has to worry about the tax code and the national debt and asbestos in the ceiling will be terrifying in the extreme. Simply agreeing with my mother is a new experience I haven’t entirely gotten used to yet.

Not getting in Chipotle ten times a month, because you need that money for retirement

And perhaps what’s worse: putting your guacamole money into your retirement account…I think I’d rather have guacamole on my burrito bowl than a 401(K). Is it just me?

(Image via HBO)