Sometimes you don’t realize you’re growing into a real, live adult because it’s all happening so fast, but there are several defining moments I’ve had since graduating college a few years ago that have actually made me stop in my tracks and think, “Wow. What is happening to me?!” Our elders sure weren’t lying to us when they told us that youth is fleeting. I’m only in my early twenties, and I’ve already seen just how quickly we’re all growing up.
Here are some of the absolute weirdest moments I’ve had as I ascend into my life as a twenty-something:
1. When your old college buddies decline to go out because they have to meet a client in the morning
Big Tim, who you have personally seen participate in at least 32 keg stands in his college career, is not only choosing the responsible path of not going out on a weeknight, but is also saying the words “client” and “meeting.” What the hell? This guy couldn’t even make it to a group “meeting” in college for a class project. One of the weirdest parts of being in “the real world” is realizing that the friends you’ve seen puke in the bushes a thousand times actually have their shit together now and regularly use adult corporate words such as “clients”, “spreadsheets”, “invoice”, “equity”, and every other boring term you can think of.
2. When YOU decline to go out because you have to meet a client in the morning
What’s even weirder than seeing Big Tim taking his entry-level job seriously is realizing that you’re actually taking your own job seriously, too. The first time I found myself uttering the words, “I can’t, I have to prepare this proposal for my boss’ big presentation at work tomorrow,” it took me a second before I realized what I had said. It’s easy to call out your friends for starting to become lame and responsible until you recognize that no matter how much you try to deny it, you are also becoming slightly lame and responsible.
3. Seeing friends get married/willingly have children
I could have made this into two separate categories but decided to combine them for all of our sakes. I’m so damn tired of reading blogs and articles from single people with jobs yelling at people for getting married too young (I’m looking at you, “23 Things to do instead of getting engaged at 23” blogger girl) and then seeing a million rebuttal articles of the said young engaged/married, and/or knocked up people with babies yelling at all the single people for being selfish. How about we all just shut up and do whatever the hell we want? Young twenty-somethings who are married or have children, you do you. I’m honestly impressed that you have come so far so quickly—it was only a year and a half ago that you ladies were drunkenly crying in bar bathroom stalls because your boyfriend looked at a girl who was directly in his line of vision; and only a year and a half ago that you gentlemen were bragging to your friends about how Jenny could never tie you down because there are just so many girls out there, and so little time. Look at you lovebirds, now. All jokes aside, seeing Big Tim get married and pop out a Little Timmy is one of the strangest experiences. It’s also one of the most expensive. Can everyone please postpone getting married and having babies until my student loans are paid off and I can actually afford all the presents you’re forcing me to give you?
4. Seeing just how easy it is for old friends to grow apart
This is one of the sadder moments of postgrad life. Graduating from college often means moving away and having to find new friends. What’s worse than having to find new friends is realizing that some of your old ones are starting to slip away. One of the worst moments is seeing some of your oldest, closest friends posting pictures of their replacement You, and getting insanely jealous.
Who is this bitch at happy hour with MY friend? Happy hour was OUR thing. How dare this random girl come in and steal my friend away from me?
Even though it’s sad to lose friends you thought were going to be there for you for life, it’s a lot easier to filter out the people you thought were close friends from the people who truly are your close friends, and will be there for you no matter how far the distance.
5. Conversation topics such as the local housing market, taxes, employment benefits and how Obamacare personally affects you are not only occurring, but you’re actually finding yourself interested in said topics.
This kind of goes along with item #1, but I’ll say it anyway. I don’t think it will ever stop feeling weird to be at happy hour or at a dinner with friends and realizing that we are actually initiating these conversations, and even worse, not wanting to change the subject. Okay, obviously there are times when no one wants to talk about Adult Shit, but it’s weird to find these topics pop up more and more in everyday conversations with friends. WHO ARE WE?!
6. When you start to prefer staying in on the weekends instead of going out
Another aspect of postgrad life is being tired. I am tired every day when I get home from work, and I am still tired every day when I wake up. And I am tired on the weekends when I still wake up early even without an alarm because my body has set a dreaded internal alarm for 7 a.m. So it’s actually not all too surprising when I find myself going out only one night a weekend now, if even, because I am so tired. And then, on Sunday night, when I have finally mustered up enough energy to actually do something, I have to go to bed early because literally all of the pent up energy from doing nothing this weekend will be used up after one Monday at the office.
Whether we like it or not, this is the reality of postgrad life: we become responsible workaholics, go to friend’s (and possibly our own) weddings and baby showers, stay in watching Netflix on Saturday nights, and bring up the boring conversation topics we always promised ourselves as teenagers we would never actually talk about willingly. But I’m thinking we should appreciate what’s left of our youth while we have it, because soon enough we’ll all be the old people with canes terrifying the neighborhood children off our lawns.