Candace Ganger
May 06, 2015 5:30 am

When I was younger, I begged, pleaded, and bartered to sit at the “grown-up” table every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Sitting at that table meant you’d really made it; no more kid-table squabbles over who could fit the most green beans up his (or her) nose or conversing in depth about who was better: Ren or Stimpy. I wanted so badly to be at the long, rectangular-shaped oak that was surrounded by all the adults who’d much rather discuss things like finances and health over Nickelodeon characters. It was all the way back then I felt I was truly ready to rock the wonderful world of adulthood. It all sounded amazing! Staying up late, driving whereever I wanted, not having to answer to anyone if I didn’t want to. If that’s what adulting meant, I was all about it.

Not only am I the adult but it’s soooo different than I thought it’d be. Like hard different. Back then, I hadn’t thought of all the obstacles that come with being older and having tons of responsibilities. Of course, it’s amazing to be the boss of my own life, but I have had to learn some important lessons about adulting to survive. Here’s what I never realized about being an adult…until now.

1. Staying up late is, like, a terrible idea

It never fails. I make plans to go out and somewhere around the 11 p.m. mark (if not earlier), I’m ready to peace out. When I was younger, I could go on a couple hours of sleep, stay up all night, and do it again the next night. Those days were fun but now? Sleeping is fun. It’s the funnest. And I want to get as much of it as possible. Otherwise, the next day I’m riding front seat of the struggle bus.

2. There are SO MANY BILLS

Everyday I open the mailbox and *hope* for piles of cash or a letter stating I’m the Royal Princess of Awesomeness but alas, it’s almost always people demanding money for things like car insurance and taxes (with the occasional junk inserts). When I was a kid, it didn’t even cross my mind that things like electricity and water had to be paid for. I thought they just…happened. But now, with every hopeful trip to the mailbox (maybe today’s the day I’ve won Publisher’s Clearing House!), another bill for a random magazine subscription I don’t remember signing up for is waiting for me.

3. That snooze button is your mortal enemy

Much like staying up late, if you hit the snooze, you’ll never get out of bed. Not really, anyway. The whole day will feel like a fog because you didn’t jump up and start the day on that first alarm. This was a hard lesson for me and though I will never really be a morning person, I know grabbing ten extra minutes will likely send me for another overpriced latte, not help me jump start the day.

4. You have to order off the adult menu, exclusively

This might sound glorious but if you’re anything like me, the smaller portions (and smaller price) sound more appealing that the regular menu. While I never thought twice about ordering a kid’s grilled cheese meal at age 12, now I feel the need to explain excessively that it’s not for me (even though it is) or that they can charge extra if they have to. It’s a battle I rarely win because, as most have noticed, I’m not 12 anymore.

5. If you’re hungry, you have to cook or spend money

“Mom! What’s for dinner?” Nope. Not anymore. Being hungry means I have to get off my butt and get in the kitchen. Or, I can open my wallet and say goodbye to my hard-earned money because I couldn’t get off said butt and get in the kitchen. It’s a tough dilemma because honestly, I just want dinner to magically appear the way it used to when Mom (or Dad)  was the one who made it.

6. Driving wherever you want is a waste of gas

Instead of “cruising” around on a Saturday night, now all I’m thinking about are two things: My carbon footprint and how much gas costs these days. I even find myself saying things like “when I was a kid, gas only cost…” As an official adult, I now have to compound all my driving into one chunk to be environmentally AND fiscally responsible. And yes, I hear how all that sounds.

7. Your home won’t stay clean — unless YOU clean it

Luckily, I’ve always been a misnomer when it comes to cleanliness. I like to be organized and tidy – mostly so I know where everything is. However, there are those days when I see things piling up and think can’t someone clean this? And then I remember. That someone is me.

8. The Laundry. Never. Ends.

Every time I think all is clean and put away, NO. There’s ANOTHER basket. I took this for granted growing up because I can’t remember a time something I’d wanted to wear wasn’t clean. Yet another magic trick of adulting! I had no idea there was someone (aka Mom or Dad) washing clothes 24 hours a day. Lesson learned.

9. All those tedious errands rack up

Remember that gas you don’t want to waste? When you’re all grown up, sometimes your list of “to-do’s” can grow a mile long if you don’t tend to it. Those are the days I end up frazzled with a triple espresso, ready to call it a day by 10 a.m. But it all has to get done. No one will do it for you and you can’t use the “but I’m just a kid” card — believe me, I’ve tried.

10. You spend more time at work than hanging with friends

Since the mail person won’t bring you piles of cash or your Royal title, you have to make money to pay those never-ending bills. This usually means putting in long hours which can dip into the time you’d normally spend with friends. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s just part of growing up. Eventually, you’ll find little bits of time here and there to schedule hangouts but the non-complicated schedule you had as a kid is here no more. The good news is, one less late-night out with friends means you’ll get that extra sleep you were so stoked about.

Some of the things I’ve learned during my transformation from clueless kid to slightly less-clueless adult are still a work in progress. I mean, are there any real perks to adulting other than Netflix binges, choosing your own hairstyle (no more perms), and having a say regarding your life? Absolutely — you don’t have to eat all the vegetables to leave the dining room table.

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