Thought Catalog

The Dos And Don’ts Of Becoming A Grown-Up

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Being a grown-up is hard, hard work, but there are always a few obvious things to avoid, as well as a few things to embrace, when you’re on the path to adulthood. Here, a few of the more essential dos and don’ts.

DO cut down on the amount of furniture you have that turns into other furniture. If your couch serves as a bed, your desk serves as a cutting board, and your chair serves as a storage unit, you should probably consider investing in a trip to IKEA.

DON’T rely entirely on IKEA to furnish your house. While having various products hilariously named Grundel and all manner of particle board filling your house is awesome and cost effective, you will come to a point where you realize that you have the same apartment as literally every other twenty-something in the tri-state area. That little cube desk thing? We all have it. That round lamp with the cool switch? We all have it. That headboard made out of packing peanuts and a little black paint? Yep, we all have it. Try as much as possible to mix things up with a few items that only 79 percent of your peers have, at most.

DO maintain friendships with the people that matter. Spending some time semi-frequently to stay in touch with the people who care about you and will, should the occasion arise, help you move with minimal complaint is of the utmost importance. As we get older, our lives are filled with tedious acquaintances who sap our will to live by bombarding us with small talk over watered-down drinks at happy hour. Counteract this by keeping close with the people who love you for who you are, and letting them know they matter to you.

DON’T keep treating your body like it has the resilience of a sixteen-year-old wood nymph. No one hates exercising more than I do, and eating copious amounts of things like quinoa and tofu makes me question the reason we were put on this Earth if only to suffer, but even I know it is true. The older we get, the more we need to sprinkle some vitamins amongst our diet and move around when the occasion calls for it. I know it sucks, but it’s necessary.

DO learn how to do money stuff, no matter how scary looking it is. Things like savings, budgets, and “making your money work for you” — the mantra of crusty old white men everywhere — are actually somewhat useful and important in the long-term, I’m finding. The more control we have over the money we have and how we use it, the more comfortable and secure we’ll be in life. Nothing is worse than constantly having to decide between eating and rent, but it’s a situation anyone can find him or herself in without proper planning.

DON’T save all of your pertinent conversations for when you are wobbly drunk. Your ex, your boss, your friend with whom you are engaged in some kind of dispute, your parents, and your irritating neighbor can all wait to hear your pearls of wisdom until you’ve sobered up and had some breakfast. Avoiding the urge to send a bitter or desperate text message when you’re mid-screaming about the issue at the bar with your friends may be the most tangible sign of entering adulthood. When you have the good sense to re-think your message in the light of day, you’ll know you’ve made it.

DO make good use of your time outside of endlessly scrolling through the internet, actually using your youth to contribute to society and make the future brighter for yourself and humanity at large. As soon as this is achieved by a confirmed human, science will let us know.

DON’T be consumed by jealousy. Even though modern technology has basically served to bombard us with endless photographic and text-based proof that our peers are more successful, more beautiful, and more well-adjusted than us, we have to let it go to some degree. If we spend our time immersed in social media, over-analyzing every new detail about how much more fruitful the life of that dude from high school is than ours, we will literally go insane by the age of 25. We can’t let this happen.

DO start dating people who are right for you. Whatever your definition of a good time is with a romantic partner, you figure that out and you start dating accordingly. There is no point in wasting your time with someone who is not interested in the same future, who doesn’t define a relationship in the same way, and who is only minimally interested in making you happy. Want just an awesome friend with benefits? Find someone who’s gonna hit it like it owes them money with no expectations of all that love bullsh-t. Want a future with monogrammed towels and a golden retriever in your family Christmas card? You find that WASP who’s gonna make all your Connecticut-based dreams come true. Want a person who is at least going to set up a toothbrush in their apartment to acknowledge your presence in their life? Stop dating the crunchy-vegan ass hat who doesn’t “believe” in “ownership” and thus bangs seven other people at the same time, much to your dismay.

DON’T continue to spurn your parents with the unforgiving heel of adolescence. Now is the time to embrace them, apologize profusely to them, and reaffirm that they are a) people and b) actually kind of cool, when you think about it. This is the opportunity for a beautiful new “adult friends” stage in your relationship, one in which you can get drunk with them and hear humiliating stories about their/your past. Embrace it.

DO develop some hobbies outside of drinking, recovering from drinking, and reminiscing about drinking. The world is full of awesome, strange, exciting, cool things to do — why limit yourself to seeing how much abuse your liver can take before it commits seppuku? Learn a dance, join a club, pick up a language, or even just get really into writing terrible fan fiction — whatever tickles your fancy. The point is to expand your horizons and meet new people, as adulthood unfortunately means the only opportunity for forced socialization is at work, and it has been proven in a recent study that 87 percent of coworkers are enormous tools that you want nothing to do with. A hobby is a perfect way to supplement the “bearable people you see on a regular basis” count in your life.

DON’T start taking pictures of every edible thing put in front of you from here on out. Just because you are an adult, and have learned how to use a stove with some degree of competency, does not mean that everyone you’ve ever come in social media contact with needs to see a picture of the eggs you just made. It’s the adult equivalent of proudly showing your kindergarten artwork to your parents and expecting to be received like Van Gogh. You don’t need the internet’s approval, we get it, you can put a decent-looking ham sandwich together.

DO learn to love yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, and as trite as the sentiment has become, there is an enormous amount of truth to the idea that loving yourself, and being proud and comfortable with who you are, is the gateway to all the myriad kinds of happiness we can experience as we grow. How can we ever expect to be happy for others, to truly love our friends, to care for a partner, or even maintain a fulfilling career, if we’re crippled by self-hate and insecurity? Of course we shouldn’t become that guy who walks into the office carrying his bike over his head in his ridiculous lycra outfit, telling you about the awesome breakfast he had and the charity marathon he’s running this weekend — that guy loves himself way too much. But a quiet appreciation of all that is wonderful and unique about yourself, as well as all the good you can put into this world if you try, is something we could all do with a little bit more of. TC mark

All information provided in this article is for reference purposes only.

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    • Nishant

      Agree! Agree! Agree! Yep, that sounds about alright. :)

    • Anonymous

      eat it, don’t tweet it. 
      PREACH 

      • Rishtopher

        Except I still love to see pics of cupcakes people baked, haha.

        • Charlotte

          I think cupcakes can be the exception. They’re a pretty, special occasion food. 

    • Adamcrittenden

      Haiku #?

      One day I fell off
      the fence and melted into
      the sand below. Why (not)?

    • Megsweetie

      I love you Chelsea! You have the best articles that have such a deep pull to them while at the same time they always make me laugh. And….FYI, I can’t get over “ass hat”. Love it :)

    • Saradio

      Oh I definitely dated that crunchy-ass hat vegan.  Listen to the above advice.  ’tis true.

    • Saradio

      and I hear you on the Ikea bit too.  I’m gradually incorporating non-Ikea stuff into my house but I still have that white bamboo chair and green shag carpet like everyone else I know. 

    • Veronica

      Solid. Thank you for this, Chelsea :)

    • http://www.about.me/tanyasalyers Tanya Salyers

      All of this, especially drinking as my only hobby…

    • http://www.facebook.com/isabellealexandra Isabelle Alexandra Conceição F

      maybe part of growing up also involves realizing that your furniture ,whether from ikea or from your neighbors curb does not define your creative being. 

      • Andrew Rowland

        Jesus, what does that even mean… furniture… creative being… ughhhhhhh

    • http://baileypowell.com/ B

      “DO develop some hobbies outside of drinking, recovering from drinking, and reminiscing about drinking.”

      Dope.

      • Mike

        is this an agreement or a suggestion?

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

      I will go ahead and make an open apology to the internet for every photo I’ve taken of a fried egg and posted to some form of social media. I am truly sorry.

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

      Do other places sell furniture with umlauts in the product names? Because I’m there.

    • http://www.sweethealthnut.com/ Marlee

      I agree with most of this article, but I must say, your argument for ceasing to buy IKEA furniture is pretty weak! As an adult, shouldn’t you care less about what people think? Your argument is solely based on the fact that everyone else has it. Who cares about that! Just because everyone else does it, doesn’t make it a bad decision. The fact that IKEA furniture often has a pretty short lifespan might be a better reason as planning and forward-thinking is kind of an adult-like thing to do. Alright, that is all! I hate being a bummer so ending on a positive note: I liked all the other points! (Says the girl who may or may not instagram all her food creations/purchases….)

    • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

      “The point is to expand your horizons and meet new people, as adulthood
      unfortunately means the only opportunity for forced socialization is at
      work, and it has been proven in a recent study that 87 percent of
      coworkers are enormous tools that you want nothing to do with”

      Yes.

    • Eatadick

      Also, no need to use any type of birth control or protection with anyone at anytime. Once you are over 30, even if you screw a herpes ridden 22 year old- you are immune to everything. Even AIDS. FACT. 

    • Clitty McLabia

      Buuuttt I thought drinking was a hobbbyyy….

    • http://twitter.com/teeceli Timur Celikel

      Rule #10. Don’t read pointless blogs about what adulthood should mean for you. Opinion is over, be whoever you wanna be.

    • Maybeemily

      Pretty sure real adults don’t care if they have the same furniture as other adults. JUS’ SAYING.

    • franneh

      This is excellent.

    • Dunstalkme

      Very well thought and well written!

    • J

      “DON’T start taking pictures of every edible thing put in front of you from here on out”
      …I actually LOVE taking pictures of food, food and inanimate objects, but mainly food. That was the hobby that I created for myself when I turned 24. I get the whole “I don’t give a damn you know how to cook” thing, but taking pictures of food actually became a hobby of mine. I even bought a semi-DSLR camera for it. I get not bragging about your at-home-cookings, but nonetheless, it hurt a bit. 

    • http://twitter.com/vickstahs Vicky Nguyen

      the last point- yes yes yes.

    • http://highhopesandevenhigherheels.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/the-dos-and-donts-of-becoming-a-grown-up-thought-catalog/ The Dos And Don’ts Of Becoming A Grown-Up | Thought Catalog « highhopesandevenhigherheels

      […] The Dos And Don’ts Of Becoming A Grown-Up | Thought Catalog. Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailPrintDiggLinkedInRedditStumbleUponTumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tags: Grown up […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Erin O. Sarmiento and commented:
      I love Thought Catalog so much. Great article.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on and commented:
      Wake up, shut up, and grow up!

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