Gina Vaynshteyn
October 13, 2014 6:30 am

Being a grownup is not something that just happens naturally. You stumble for a while, probably lose a lot of money at some point, fill out the wrong form, or end up washing your hardwood floors with shampoo. You’ll learn weird things about your body at the doctor’s office and wonder if they’re normal (they are). You will simultaneously feel alone and claustrophobic, and those are strange feelings to deal with.

We’re all bad grownups at first. Adulting is an adjustment, and to be honest, some stuff will be confusing for a long time. Maybe forever even, I’ll have to let you know. For now, here are 16 things about being a responsible adult that (probably) no one ever taught you.

Credit cards will judge you forever

Did you open an account when you were 18, spend your limit of $500 on drug-store makeup products within a span of three weeks, and then forget to pay the bill? That seemingly harmless stint put a major dent in your credit, and as it turns out, good credit basically reflects on your ability to be a responsible human being. These things are totally reversible though, so DO NOT WORRY. Just pay your bills on time. Don’t max out your credit cards with no means to pay it off. Be smart about your dolla bills.

Sometimes, running errands will feel good

After a super busy week, sometimes all I want to do is go to Target and pick out a new shampoo. Or craft a dinner menu for the week and go grocery shopping, making sure to walk down every aisle for no reason.

You will take comfort in lists and rejoice whenever you cross something off said lists. It will feel satisfying in ways you have never imagined.

Your hair physically changes, and I’m not just talking about grays

Sometimes you hair becomes curlier. Or straighter. Or flatter. Or frizzier. Or less frizzy. Or lighter. Or darker. The hair you knew when you were 15 might not be the hair you know now. And that’s okay. Also yes, the gray hairs. ARGH.

Your relatives will start asking when you’re going to have a baby

You will realize, sometime in your mid-20s, that you are well past the age to be a teen mom. Getting pregnant now is not something your family will consider shocking. In fact, many family members will probably encourage a pregnant you. Which may or may not be freaky to think about.

You definitely need Drano on hand, because you never know

Your hair will clog the shower, or your toilet might not do its usual, mighty job. Maybe your apartment is having plumbing issues and some vile liquid seems to be backing up in your sink like a horror movie. Invest in Drano. It is truly a miracle goo from the gods.

Or at least a plunger

Don’t let your toilet overflow. Because it will eventually happen, and toilet water is the worst kind of water.

You’ll always feel like you need a chaperone

From time to time, it will still amaze you that you are able to fly on a plane without getting lost at the terminal. Or book a hotel room for a business trip. Or plan a vacation–all by yourself. With no one to help you or guide you along the way.

Alone time becomes exquisitely sacred

You could go out for a few drinks tonight. . .or you could stay in and take a bath and read a magazine and paint your nails dark blue while listening to No Doubt. Let’s be honest with ourselves. The latter sounds one billion times better.

Your back will inexplicably hurt

It might be because you were hunching over at your desk all day (didn’t your grandma warn you to sit up straight? GURL), but it also might be because your body is not as agile as it once was. Sadness.

Buying a car is slightly surreal, but mostly boring

Just the fact alone that a car is usually over 20k is crazy, but now this expensive bundle of sheet metal on wheels is ALL YOURS. . .After, you sign a few hours worth of paperwork that basically assures everyone you’ll pay off your loan or monthly lease. And after that, you are then introduced to like five more people at the car dealership who will then try to up-sell you fancy alarms and some sort of rust-proof undercoating. And then a very long time after that, you are finally given keys to your new car. Not as magical as you once thought.

You get more and more alienated from new music

Every new band will start sounding exactly the same, and it will annoy you that every band name includes words like “mice,” “dragons,” and “weekend.” It didn’t used to be like this, though. When you were in college, you bought a new album weekly; now you maybe listen to the “new music” category on Spotify once a month. You still love music. But you love YOUR music.

You need to be selective about trash bags brands; trust me on this

Do not get generic. I learned the hard way–garbage juice everywhere.

Insurance is always going to be a pain in the ass

There are deductibles, and copays, and sometimes doctors don’t accept your insurance, and other times they’re not contracted with your insurance, and it’s all stupid and corrupt when you really think about it, but try not to. Oh, and a trip to the emergency room is not free (as I learned when I turned 20 and sliced my finger open with a serrated knife because I’m awesome). It’s very expensive, so look up an urgent care that takes your insurance.

It will be 4pm and you will feel exhausted

A part of you will desperately want to change into your sweats and curl up in bed, but you will also realize it’s not even six yet. And you have to make dinner. And do the dishes. And walk your dog. And woe will be you.

Everything is too expensive

Such as: printer ink, razors, perfume, curtains, picture frames, bottled water, California dairy, sunscreen, real olive oil, cable, and paper.

You don’t actually know what you’re doing

I think the biggest secret of adulthood is that no one actually knows what they’re doing. I mean, I’m sure some people have a very confident clue. But especially when you’re in your 20s? Your head will be all over the place for a while. You’ll be insecure. You’ll feel like you’re a faker. And that feeling doesn’t necessarily go away, you just go with it. You do what feels right for you, and you learn what makes you happy and successful. You still challenge yourself, but you know that if you fail, you will eventually be given more times to succeed. And you will.

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