1. You believe in monsters.
Like the ones that’ll bite your toes off if you don’t cover them at night. And the ones that try to sneak up on you in the hallway after you’ve thrown out the garbage and are running back to your apartment door. You know they exist — partially because of shows like MonsterQuest and Keeping Up With The Kardashians — just waiting for you to forget about them. You know they’re still there because you haven’t seen them yet.
2. You give stuffed animals personalities.
But only after you’ve given them an age, pet peeve, food allergy, and a lover who got away. You can’t leave a stuffed heart-holding puppy sitting by his lonesome forever alone at Hallmark considering the strong bond you guys created within the past three minutes of knowing each other — who else will love him as much as you?! As a kid, you give stuffed animals personalities because you honestly believe they have these personalities. They’re the best friends you’ve always wanted; they’re always there, they don’t judge you, and they won’t leave you. As a 23-year-old, you desperately try to hold on to Snowball and Mister Grumpy Toes because, honestly, you wish you still had friends like that.
3. You drink coffee.
“Oh look at me, I am an adult and I am drinking coffee. Lots of coffee, and it’s black, too. Black coffee ‘cause milk is for babies and sugar will overwhelm that roasted bean coffee taste, and I really need to taaaaste it! LOOK AT ME, I’m holding my cup from [insert coffeehouse chain name]! I gotta drink my coffee. Roasted Arabica beans and fair trade from Kenya — but no milk! No milk! No sugar!!!! IamdrinkingcoffeeIamdrinkingco
4. You delete someone from Facebook…
… only to send them another friend request four months later. It’s like that time in third grade when Tina kissed Alex, even though that bitch knew you really, really liked him. So you start a rumor that Tina eats fish for breakfast and desert every day, and that if you ever talk to her close enough her breath will smell like a fish market. But then you heard that she actually kissed Alex Espejo, not your sweet baboo Alex Tymoshenko, so it’s totally fine. Oops!
5. You’re like “so drunk!”
Remember when you were little and you used to steal sips of wine from family members’ glasses and the world suddenly turned into a crazy party for one because you were wasted? Yeah, you do. Not much has changed, seeing as you still get trashed off two beers at a party and you think it’s a little risky to eat penne alla vodka on an empty stomach. What it was, actually, was an excuse to have fun, an excuse to laugh, cry, and yell, to act a fool without having to deal with the consequences.
6. You still pinky-swear.
The wrap and lock of all things solid, forever, crucial, a vow to be best friends until you die or stick a needle in your eye. It’s a truth sealed in the face of a world big and scary, but you guys will never, ever let each other down. One day you’ll get married and make another oath, the greatest pinky-swear of all — but for now you’re crying about your failed future as a writer and the crappy economy and the undergrad loans you’ve still got to pay off. It’s the promise of knowing that you’ve always got a spot on a couch. You’ve pinky-sweared, and it means everything.
7. You think you know everything.
You’ve experienced it all, and no one can tell you otherwise because they don’t know the full story. Mars is 300 degrees on its surface, The Beatles are literally the best band that ever existed or will ever exist, and Tina is a slut. Now we have Wikipedia, Radiohead is your sunshine in the dark of night, and it was a different Alex or something. Things change — except for you being constantly and forever right, the enlightened center of a wrongly wrong universe.
8. You still watch South Park.
It’s been on the air for 15 years, so you’ve watched it from elementary school through college, and maybe even beyond, because farts will always be funny, and loud burps are not only rude but also hilarious and, at times, impressive. The day you stop giggling at the word “boobs” and “poop,” and the occasional Freudian slip will be the day you’re an “adult”… or dead.
9. Mommy will always be Mommy, Daddy will always be Daddy.
Mom, mama, mommy; dad, papa, daddy — whatever you called your parents growing up is probably what you’ll call your parents forever. And when you’re under the same roof, you’ll still expect sandwiches brought to you while sitting on the couch watching South Park. And those times that, without any inhibition, you’ll begin to sob and whine and reach out for hugs, possibly with snot running down your nose and drool spilling down your chin. You’ll always seek approval and want congratulations because there’s a small line between graduating elementary school and being promoted at work.
10. You are you.
Being 24 and gazing at a photograph of you in fifth grade wearing your favorite ugly jeans, smiling like a loony from double-pierced ear to double-pierced ear, sporting that cute bob that you thought made you look super Posh Spice, it’s easy to regret the decisions you made. And you will continue to regret the decisions you are making. But it’s those decisions, that regret and the inevitably that make you… you.