I can eat whatever I want, dress however I want, buy whatever I want. I might spontaneously grow a muffin top, be cold in my tank top in March, or struggle to buy lunch at the end of the month, but I get to make choices myself. However, all of this means I have to pay bills, get a job, take care of myself when I’m sick, and more.
As a kid, I was semi-prepared for the known costs of adulthood, but there’s so much that comes along with being an adult that I was never aware of. Here are seven things I never expected would come along with adulthood, but unfortunately do.
1. High school drama does not end in high school. It continues in the workplace.
You thought high school was over. Well, surprise! As Bowling for Soup pointed out, the drama continues, especially in the workplace. We care about how our coworkers perceive us, because we want to move up the same damn totem pole that we did in high school.
You tell yourself that you’re not going to care, but you end up knowing who is dating who in marketing and who the boss’ favorites are anyway. And before you know it you’re preaching about how Jared always takes credit for your ideas, how your company’s lack of microinclusions is hurting your company culture, and accessing which of the four levels of politics that your company fits into.
2. The older you get, the busier you become, and the harder it is to see friends.
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you and your friends happen to all word jobs that are 9-5 Monday-Friday. But you all have lives outside of work that are complicated and jam-packed. In addition to work, you have to go grocery shopping, pick up your nephew from soccer practice, work on your side gig, make it to spin class a few times a week, take your car to the shop, etc.
Trying to coordinate your schedule with your friends’ schedules is basically impossible. And this is the reality of everyone working at the same times. If one of you is a waitress, a nurse, a student, a full-time mom, etc., then start following Facebook closer.
3. No matter what you do, you will become out of touch with “what’s cool and hip” when you get older.
I never understood how adults could fall so far behind on pop culture and technology. Did they just never listen to the radio or read tech news?
Now, I get it. I can’t relate to those new top 40 songs, so I tune them out. I don’t need the newest gadgets, so I keep with my 5th generation iPhone. It’s hard to care anymore. If there’s some great controversy or tech revolution, it’ll pop up on my Google news feed. Otherwise, I have better things to do… or at least that’s what I tell myself when I can’t sing along to the songs on the radio.
4. Romance is the worst.
As a kid, I thought that you met the right person (like, at 25 tops) and then from there it was happily ever after. Yeah, no. Instead, we’re all hoping to randomly bump into our soulmate in a bar or see swipe the right way on their dating profile. Odds aren’t looking good.
And then even if you find them, then what? Well, there’s a long list of must-dos that will take up your time as well, but what about the stereotypical dream? Get a house? Have kids? We still think about those things, it’s just that buying a house or having children is becoming more and more unattainable in a world where we’re expected to be worse off than our parents at the same age.
5. We all have to diet.
“I just won’t get fat,” said seven-year-old me. But I didn’t realize that fat has nothing to do with it. We’re all our own worst critic. We can always lose more weight, get more toned, or be healthier. Whatever. It sucks, not only because figuring out which food is actually healthyis a lot harder than third-grade health ever let on, but because we have to give up pizza and beer. And most of us just can’t.
6. Booze is almost always the center of socializing.
“Adult beverages” were for special occasions. Mom and Dad only had one or two while I was with them. Even when I gradually caught them with several empty bottles in front of them, I didn’t understand how much alcohol really affected. Now, booze is central to meeting up with friends, dating, even just relaxing after a day at work. It’s everywhere now, for better or- no, definitely for the better.
7. You won’t have it all together when you turn 30.
We’re still wondering what we want to do with our lives. We choose Netflix marathons over learning some marketable skills. We make bad decisions and splurge (financially and emotionally.) We’re still lost, calling our parents to guide us when we swore we’d never need them again. And when Mom doesn’t answer, being able to eat mac n’ cheese and ice cream whenever we want should soothe reality. Hopefully.