Things no one told me about being an adult

“I told you to enjoy the time you had as a kid,” she’ll tease, rolling her eyes.

“But you never told me it was going to be this hard!” I’ll whine. And it’s true, my mother did warn me about the horrors of paying your own bills and the stress that comes with finding a job that pays enough to not leave you starving in the street, but there are some things that she didn’t tell me about adulthood. Actually, no one told me these things; I had to figure them out all on my own. So here are eight things about adulthood that people fail to mention when they talk about growing up.

Even the very best job is still a job

There are great jobs, and dream jobs, and jobs that you would kill for, but there is no perfect job. Even the best jobs have something you’ll wish you could change about them, even if it’s just the salary. Trust me. I have had multiple jobs since entering into the thing we call adulthood, and I have yet to find a “perfect job.” The key isn’t to find a job that’s perfect, the key is to find a job that’s perfect for you. I’m lucky enough to have multiple jobs that I love, and a career that I’m pretty sure I’m never going to want to retire from, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes wake up in the morning with the burning desire to play hooky.

You will second guess every major decision you ever make

You think that I’m kidding. I’m not. There’s this thing that happens sometime around when you turn eighteen where your parents stop making every decision for you, and although that sounded great when I was sixteen, there are times where all I want to do is beg my parents to make these big decisions for me. Where do I go to school? What do I want to study? Should I take a semester off? How much money should I be saving?

Budding adults are asked to make a lot of really big decisions early on, and it’s nice to pretend that those choices don’t have the power to determine the rest of our lives, but they sort of do. It’s the kind of pressure that makes you want to curl under the blankets with your favorite stuffed animal and never come out. Every time I make a major decision in life I spend at least a week running that decision through my mind and worrying “what if I made a mistake?” I can’t promise you that you’ll never make mistakes with these big life-changing decisions. In fact, I can almost promise you the opposite, but I will say that if I was really given the choice between having to decide for myself and letting my parents decide for me, I wouldn’t go back. There’s something really satisfying about having the freedom to make those mistakes, even if the process of making life decisions still paralyzes me with fear sometimes. And it’s really important to know that mistakes aren’t the worst thing in the world, as long as you can learn from them.

Living with your parents becomes infinitely harder to swallow the older that you get

I went to boarding school for my high school experience so I got a taste of independence early on in life, but by the time most of turn eighteen we’ve reached a point in our lives where living at home becomes gradually less appealing. Then we go off to college and experience what it’s like to live on our own and it’s both everything we ever wanted and not at all what we expected. Still, over time, you find that extended stays at home feel less and less like the natural order of things and more like you’re putting your life on pause. As a twenty-year-old with limited finances, I’m forced to live with my dad’s family, and even though I love them, I can’t help but feel that the older I get, the harder it is to live under someone else’s roof.

You will actually want those practical Christmas/birthday gifts.

Remember when you were ten and all you wanted was the latest toy or a trip to Disney? Well, you’ll still want those things, but suddenly the thought of receiving a blender for Christmas no longer fills you with a sense of doom. I used to look at the presents that adults got and cringe. Now, my Christmas list last year included baking sheets, a blender, and gas money. When you’re an adult and suddenly everything that you need costs money, the idea of practical gifts becomes less horrifying and more “God please let them have gotten me that new printer I asked for” kind of thing.

Learning how to cook is crucial

Sure you can always order takeout, but eventually eating out starts to dry up your funds and you realize that if you want to be able to pay your bills this month, you’re going to have to learn to operate an oven. Now, I’m not saying that you need to become the next Bobby Flay, but having the ability to not burn ramen is a life skill that every adult should have. Even college students can get tired of pizza.

Your friend group will change drastically

There are those friends that you make in high school that you think will always be a part of your life and there’s no way you guys are ever going to forget each other. But the fact of the matter is, while most of us will manage to hang onto a handful of friends from high school, the friend group that you have in you twenties is not the same friend group you had in your teens. You meet new people when you go to college, you move away from home, your friends move away, people get married, kids are born, and eventually you find that you just don’t have the time to do more than pass each other on Facebook.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Growing up means getting the chance to meet amazing new people, and you’re no longer limited to the people that you see every day for school. So even though you might not talk to some of your friends as often as you did when you were in high school, you’ll find that there are plenty of wonderful people to meet and your new friend group is going to match your adult life much better than the old one.

There will be times when you sit on your couch eating ice cream from the carton and moaning about how you are not prepared

It’s actually kind of sad how many times my roommate wandered into our living room this past year to find me watching an episode of Glee with a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in my hand and crying over how I was not ready to be an adult. Adulthood is scary and messy and sometimes the stress becomes too much to handle without a large helping of comfort food accompanied by a marathon of your favorite romantic comedies from the eighties. It’s important to know that when you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of your new responsibilities, it’s okay to take a break from it all and binge on Netflix or spend a day watching cute cat videos on YouTube. No one will judge you.

Absolutely no one is prepared.

This is the secret that I wish someone had whispered to me when I was a senior in high school and getting ready to take on the world. No one is prepared. No one in the history of the human race has ever been prepared for life as a grown up. Not your parents, not their friends, not even Taylor Swift in all her perfect, shining glory can say that they were ready to be an adult. Something that you realize shortly after you start paying your own bills and panicking about having to make doctor’s appointments on your own is that everyone on the entire planet is just making it up as they go along. So when you’re confused or scared about life, you should know that you’re not alone. We are all scared, but we figure things out, and we end up enjoying life anyways.

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