10 Reasons We’re Not Adults Yet

It’s undeniable that, in one’s twenties, you begin to enter a time in your life where you are clearly no longer a child. But much like the demographic-straddling existential crisis that early 2000s Britney Spears went through, we are no longer quite grown-ups, either. And how do we know? Well, amongst many things, there are a chosen few that stand out as undeniable evidence that we still have some serious growing up to do.

1. We don’t know how to manage money.

At this point, it’s clear that there are definite ways to store and use our money that not only keep us from spending it recklessly, but actually might accrue some extra money on top of itself just from being kept in the right places. However, for the time being, we just have one account, “checking,” which is more or less just a giant pile where we keep our money and use it whenever we need it. Granted, it takes a while to learn how to divide things up and put some into “savings” (lol), but we’ll eventually get there. For now, though, we’re at that place where, every morning after going out, we’ll just look emptily at our decimated accounts as tears well in our eyes and we promise we’ll never, ever, ever do that again.

2. We keep making the same mistakes.

While some things, like the ex that took twice the length of the actual relationship to break it off with, and Mountain Dew, might be errors in judgement that we’ve finally left in the past — most still need to be shaken from us once and for all. We are still going to be like, “Whatever, man, I’m rich,” for the first 5 days after our paychecks and basically live like gluttonous medieval royalty. We’re still going to sit in front of an entire pizza and eat it with impunity in front of Netflix. We’re still going to use dishes in the microwave that are clearly not microwave-ready and therefore become 300 degrees hotter than whatever food they contain, and scald the skin off 70 percent of your hand when you try to take it out. We’ll get it right eventually, though, I’m sure.

3. We keep getting life-ruining hangovers.

The formula to not get the kind of hangover that leaves you contemplating gouging your eye out with the nearest spoon is not a complicated one. You just have to eat something before you drink, alternate water with your drinks, and make sure to drink a big glass of water before going to bed. Well, that, and not drinking enough alcohol to kill a large farm animal. And yet, no matter how many times we wake up feeling like we’ve been drying out in the desert sun for the last 40 years, suffering for the sins of humanity, we’re still going to do it again the next time we go out. When is the threshold into consistently taking care of yourself when you go out? Can I pass it soon?

4. We have arguments on the internet.

I was recently having a back-and-forth debate with this guy on a Facebook status about politics of all things, and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror near my desk, and I felt so deeply ashamed. All red and sweaty and flustered, I didn’t even recognize myself. “What am I doing,” I asked myself out loud, “Why do I care about this?” But the thing is, I don’t care. I don’t care about that guy, I don’t even really care about that argument. I just participated in the listless back-and-forth because I felt some strange force compelling me to. That is time in my life I’ll never get back, and I have to live with that. We all do.

5. We don’t consume media the “right way.”

Actual adults take the time out of their day and the money out of their wallet to purchase the various media they enjoy with real people dollars, and God bless them for it. I mean, without boring middle-aged people, I’m pretty sure every entertainment industry in existence would have viciously imploded on itself several years ago. And granted, the adults’ faithful consumption of media means that they get to dictate what goes on TV (f-ck you guys for every insult to our collective intelligence that is CBS programming), but at least it’s still being made. But we’re the people who will in one breath talk about how we don’t own a TV while omitting the fact that we still watch tons of movie and TV shows, just days after they air on our computer screens — and only gotten legally about half the time. Hell, if it wasn’t for Spotify, we’d probably still be torrenting half our collective lifespan in songs — so, I mean, we’re getting better. Eventually we’ll probably buy TVs.

6. We either don’t read books, or feel the desperate need to brag about reading them.

We either have a near-allergic aversion to occasionally opening a book, or we’re one of those insufferable people on Tumblr who can’t stop reblogging comics and quotes that pat themselves on the back for being an ~intellectual~ who knows how to read and does it from time to time (also probably a safe bet that you like tea and cats, but don’t hold me to that). It’s just that reading right now is such a rarity that the people who do it regularly — even though, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing special — feel as though they’ve conquered some otherworldly challenge to mankind. At some point, though, we’ll hit adulthood and no longer feel that we’re owed oral sex just for cracking a John Grisham novel once in a while.

7. We take pictures of our alcohol.

There is clearly about a 10-year period between the time we first start drinking and the time the fanciful novelty of the act has fully worn off. Not a one among us is immune from the occasional snapshot of a bottle of whisky next to our open laptop (we’re working and drinking, aren’t we just Mad Men adorable?), a glass of wine during our Photobooth shoot, some outdoor summer beer, a celebratory flute of champagne, or this fancy-ass cocktail in this fancy-ass bar that cost about half of our food budget for the week. I mean, let’s be honest, if you get an awesome alcoholic beverage and no one on the internet saw it, did you really get drunk? I think you’ll find that the answer is no.

8. We make terrible relationship choices and then blog about it.

I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find a 65-year-old widower who’s getting his second wind over on eHarmony sitting down at his PC to tell the whole world about how Agnes from his last outing at a restaurant turned out to be a huge dud who just talked about her cats the whole time, right? I mean, it would be awesome if it actually existed, and grown-ass adults probably have by far the most juicy and thoughtful stuff to say about their dating foibles, but they have at least an ounce of self-control and can pump the brakes on their unbridled exhibitionism for five seconds, usually. Therefore, it’s only us semi-children who will scroll endlessly through our inbox at OKCupid and go out with anyone who seems at higher than an eighth grade reading level because, hey, if nothing else — it’ll make a good story. But you know that feeling when you go through the blog you kept as a teenager — I’m guessing Xanga or Livejournal, but I don’t know your life — and have this acute, near-painful embarrassment wash over you? I have the distinct feeling we’ll have similar sentiments about all these diatribes on our tortured love lives in a few more years.

9. We still get pissy with our parents over nothing.

Though we’re most definitely getting there, I think the wave of realization that your parents the only people in the world who love you unconditionally, and put up with years of your angsty bullshit only to still actually be interested in what you have to say, has yet to really hit us. We still get in their faces over minor squabbles and bitch about having to go see them at certain times when it doesn’t fully convenience us. At a certain point, though, we’re going to just fall to our knees and be like, “You gave me so much goddamn money and I still stole ten dollar bills from your wallet occasionally!” It is then, and only then, that we will know the meaning of maturity.

10. We are constantly debating deleting our Facebooks,

But never do, because we are enormous losers. TC mark

image – Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.


More From Thought Catalog

  • http://www.facebook.com/neusdadt Arbie Baguios

    Fucking spot-on. All of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=598182642 Zachary Birney

    Truth. You got me with ” I mean, let’s be honest, if you get an awesome alcoholic beverage and no one on the internet saw it, did you really get drunk? I think you’ll find that the answer is no.”

  • Anonymous

    This is pretty dead on. Especially the part about Facebook. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve professed to my friends that “I’m seriously gonna delete it this time guys, so lame.”

  • Lemoncardi

    I’m too old for this article.

  • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux


    Now the question is: WHY are we not adults yet? Our parents were marrying at our age. Our grandparents had grandchildren at our age. So why are we stuck in limboland?

    • Victor Sawyer

      I think our parents enjoyed that free-love, college is cheap, explore the world if you want post high school life.  We went through the do as much extracurricular (for nothing), college has broken your bank, party hard but hide it repressed post high school life.  Definitely will create a different mindset!  We will also live considerably longer so there is some trade-off.

      • Danielle G

        Actually, we’re the first generation (I’m 24) in a long time that is believed to not have a longer life span than our parents. 

      • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

        I read that yesterday. I blame snacks.

      • http://twitter.com/vdsawyer Victor Sawyer

        Damn…that’s a drag.  Might as well party til the end then!

      • http://www.facebook.com/ashlei.tiffani AshLei

        soo true victor!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      This is the new norm~

    • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

      because “real adults” try to pretend like there is such a thing as being a real adult/pretend like they know what the heck they’re doing. our parents were just as loco as we are now, but they put the whiskey on the nipple enough for our pretty baby heads to forget all about that. hehe

  • Dia Dalsky

    This is awesome. Seriously one of the funniest articles I’ve read.

  • Noah

    I’m guilty so I’ll try to change but of course, I’ve been saying that for years now.

  • Euler Voidson

    you forgot one:
    11. we make lists about why we’re not something that we think we should be and act like everyone should relate and eventually accumulate one or more troll(s). 

  • Rosiemccapp

    Yes yes YES to everything said here.  I was just waiting for someone to say it.

  • Tory

    I’m 21 and the only part of this I still do is watching illegal TV…

    I feel old now.

    P.S. Oh, I still have my Facebook though. But I never say I’m going to delete it. I use it to socialize and share things with people. I don’t see why it’s a problem. It is actually possible to use Facebook in a halfway mature way, FYI.

    • Anonymous

      Girl if you are telling me you have never put an Ikea plate into a microwave and have it come out as a molten ball of hate while your food is ice cold, you are a liar.

      • A.Dub

        I’m one of those weirdos who checks to see if dishes are microwave safe.  Blame my mother.

      • Tory

         Okay yes, but I don’t do it *anymore* because I check now. See?

      • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

        one time i tried to make a grilled cheese sandwich on a plate on the stove

  • Guest

    I have been facebook sober for a month and not planning on going back! =)

  • Jye

    I really want to go to my Xanga account now…. 

  • Anonymous

    Why does this have to be “why we’re not adults” and not “Adults, redefined”?

    Every one of these are phenomena experienced by people of all ages, in one incarnation or another.  For instance, “Facebook” can be substituted by some other social circle. “We take pictures of our alcohol” is a combination of our need to document when we have fun times and the trend that everyone is in one way, shape, or form, a product reviewer. 

    I appreciate a good piece of satire, but I don’t think that that was the intent of this article. I also don’t mean to say life is best portrayed through rose-colored glasses. However, this type of pessimism – I just don’t see the point. 

    • guest

      her writing is so base that there’s really nothing to analyze here

  • http://themakeuptrain.com/ Chris

    My life fits this article to a T. Thank you for posting it. :)

  • Nishant

    You’re forcing a negative “not grown up” image here. Most of these things we can’t comment upon as childish or grown up by comparing to previous generations simply because they didn’t have access to such options. How do you say our parents would NOT have been more like us if they also had Facebook? Or how they would have been if media sharing was as easy as it is now? Or how they would have reacted to media-consumption options other than a television, radio and audio cassettes?

  • http://twoseconds.tumblr.com/ Jesse Vaughan

    Payday is in 3 days, I’M ‘BOUT TO MAKE IT RAIN. DRINKS ARE ON ME.

  • sarah12345678910

    i agree with the financial management learning curve, but aside from that, i don’t believe the author of this article has earned the right to impose a “we” on the world. 

  • Guest

    My father texted me at 8:00 a.m. this morning asking if tuition was due this week and I replied, “Yes and stop texting me so early.” I am a child.

  • Katy

    Maybe not the blogging about relationships, but other than that, this list pretty accurate.

  • http://twitter.com/shoshkabob Shosh

    Firstly, if one doesn’t like to read, it doesn’t make them any less smart. I really don’t understand the intellectual stigma that surrounds literature. Film and music can be just as enriching, if not more at times. And in this age, literature isn’t our only informative source.
    Secondly, one’s cultural preferences aren’t necessarily indicative of “adulthood”. 
    Thirdly, I think you just insinuated that my parents and grandparents are not adults, as they all have Facebook.

    That being said I definitely agree with the rest.

  • guest


    Chelsea Fagan wrote this:

    I’ve never understood feminism. I know, like ice
    cream, it comes in a cornucopia of flavors and melts away quickly when held in
    a man’s hand (just kidding, ladies!) but I never understood its more…
    paradoxical expressions. I’ve been accused from time to time of being a woman
    hating woman (occasionally here on Thought Catalog) but that couldn’t be
    further from the truth. It is simply that, as a woman,  I am often
    expected to agree with general sentiments that don’t sit easily with my sense
    of reason, never more so than with things like this.

    For those of you who haven’t heard, there was a “Slutwalk” yesterday
    in Toronto where women took to the street to raise
    awareness for their right to… dress like sluts. Apparently, a police constable
    made the unfortunate choice of publicly saying, “Women should avoid dressing
    like sluts in order to not be victimized.” I think we can all agree here that
    this was not the most delicate phrasing, but I would be lying if I said that
    there wasn’t a good amount of truth to what he said.

    We can all laugh when Dave Chappelle does his
    routine about women dressing like sluts at clubs getting offended when men make
    unwanted sexual advances, especially when he makes the apt comparison of
    dressing like a police officer and then getting offended when people ask for
    help on the street. That, to all of us, is funny and relatable. “Yeah,” we seem
    to think, “women shouldn’t dress like prostitutes if they don’t want to be
    propositioned for sex by a stranger.” Yet when a police officer makes a very
    similar assertion, we no longer see what he’s saying. We can only think of it
    in black-and-white terms. This is an officer of the law, and anyone who is
    victimized should immediately be 100 percent innocent and showered with
    sympathy and understanding.

    As he does not specify in his statement what
    “victimized” means exactly, I’ll assume it runs the gamut from being cat called
    on the street to being raped. And just like a young man dressed like a
    gangbanger and walking through a bad neighborhood with a menacing, threatening
    stance could be met with verbal aggression or a gunshot wound to the chest –
    all things are not created equal. He does not deserve to be murdered because he
    walked down the street, but he (as an adult) understood the risks he was

    The truth of the matter is that rape, murder,
    battery, verbal assault, and everything in between have existed for as long as
    humans have. There is a constant threat, especially in concentrated urban
    areas, that you will be a victim at some point. I myself live in a relatively
    dangerous urban area where men are quite verbally forward. You learn quickly to
    not make eye contact, to keep your posture upright, and to keep walking. And
    beyond that, if you want to further increase your chances of remaining safe and
    flying under the radar, you do not dress like a prostitute. You do not dress
    like someone who is out tonight to find sex by any means necessary. You can
    look pretty, feminine, elegant, attractive – without stripping your appeal down
    to its basest, most physical level. Women know the kind of attention they
    attract when they dress like that. And just like the Supreme Court can’t define
    porn but knows it when it sees it, we know
    when we look into the mirror before we go out if we look like we’re trying to
    lay down for the first man that looks at us. Even if we don’t want to admit it.

    I have, like pretty much every 22-year-old girl,
    gone out looking like a slut occasionally. And I got a significantly higher
    amount of leers, cat calls, and uncomfortable attention. I was not surprised; I
    had no one but myself to blame for the sudden nervous feeling that flared up in
    my stomach as I walked passed men checking out my shape in my revealing dress.
    I don’t dress like this anymore for that very reason. I want men to look at me
    and have thoughts other than, “I could have sex with her tonight if I wanted.”

    And perhaps the most compelling reason to put at
    least some of the responsibility on women here is that often, dressing in an
    extremely suggestive manner can be the tipping point in a sexually charged
    situation. Not all sexually aggressive acts are perpetrated by a violent repeat
    offender hiding in an alley. Often times the situations that can make women the
    most uncomfortable, and in some ways the most vulnerable, are in situations
    where alcohol and socialization are involved. Women are pressured, followed,
    and hounded by men who, when sober and in the light of day, often would never
    do such a thing. And for a man, a sexually and visually driven man not in full
    command of his wits, having a woman tell him “no” while wearing the most
    provocative, arousing, blatantly sexual outfit possible is, to say the least,
    confusing. And while that does not give him the right to violate her, it also
    cannot be claimed that women are entirely innocent in this situation.

    I know that the knee-jerk reaction to this kind
    of scenario is that women are unequivocally the victims, but they are also
    adults. They are also capable of assessing risks, the kind of risks that we
    live with every day. And if they choose to ignore these risks, to feed into
    them, to put themselves further into danger – they are not being the most
    intelligent, capable adults they could. They are
    being, to some degree,
    irresponsible. That just may not look quite as catchy on a pink sign. – Chelsea Fagan

    • lalala

      Wow. This is horrible. It is never the victim’s fault.

      • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

        1, unrelated what?? 2, back off ya’ll, cFagz has come a long way since this and she readily admits it. i think anyone who sits down and really thinks about/grapples with rape/assault/etc is going to go through periods of blaming the victim or perpetrator or society for not being better. 3, NUMBER FOUR WE HAVE FIGHTS ON THE INTERNET

    • guest

      boycott fagan 2012!!!1

    • Anonymous

      Hi, Guest, I definitely did write this article — more than a year ago now. And you’re absolutely right, there are a lot of sentiments that I expressed here that I not only don’t agree with now, but am upset with myself for having written in a moment of anger and, frankly, ignorance on the topic.

      But it was also one of the first articles I’d ever written, and I’d like to think that I’ve grown, both as a writer and as a person, in the year plus since. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a woman, women in general, and the responsibilities that come with a public outlet to express one’s opinion. I understand your frustration with the piece, and mine are probably similar, but I hope you understand that in the hundreds of articles I’ve written since, both on Thought Catalog and elsewhere, I’ve reflected on this and changed my opinions a lot — as I say in this article we’re commenting on, I still have much to learn.

      I know that we all can say things in heated moments that we don’t look back on fondly (and I specifically mention in the above article doing exactly that), and I hope you will be kind enough to forgive something I wrote that was stupid, hurtful, and wrong.

      Thanks for reading,

      • Archaicsmurf

         Chelsea. Everything you wrote is 100% correct. These are things you, and others, should be angry about. I’m ashamed at how well you captured my own behavior and things i’ve done. However, that’s also a wake up call. Thank you for what you do.

    • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil Caillaux

      Welcome to Thought Catalog, Guest, where people are allowed to recant their viewpoints if they have the guts to sign their name on the things they wrote.

    • Randall T

      While I don’t think I agree with everything in this article, I think Ms. Fagan’s point about personal responsibility and thinking of the consequences of your actions or decisions remains very valid. Is a sexual assault ever the victims fault? I don’t think so, nor do I think any decision the victim made about appearance or anything else would ever justify sexually assaulting that person. But I also don’t see the author making that point. I think she’s just trying to point out that people should stop and think before doing things that will create risk. If I’m taking a walk through cracktown, do I wear my suit made of $100 bills? Probably not. If I wear it and get robbed, is the robbery my fault? No. Not the best example, I know, but still as Fagan says, an irresponsible decision to some degree. Awful crimes will always be committed against others, but why make yourself a more attractive target? A difficult topic to discuss, and I applaud the author for her efforts.

  • Veronica

    I really enjoyed this article :) Though, as I was reading it, I quickly knew I shouldn’t look down at the comments because they’d be full of “Points A B and C do not describe me personally because I am good at X Y and Z and therefore your argument is invalid, also you are Chelsea Fagan so I’d like to whine about you some more blah blah.” 

    Of course I read the comments anyway because, well, see #2 above. (Was pleasantly surprised though!)

  • brn

    LOLL story of my goddamn life

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VP3CHR42CVTVD56OFZ6XZXZWUM Jill

    I LOL-ed while reading this. Thanks for writing this Chelsea.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1509113492 Hannah Levin

    #10 is me eternally 

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