1. No longer being able to say, with what feels like complete impunity, “I’m in my early 20s.”
2. Realizing that there was a lot of your behavior and general decision-making that you blamed on being in your early 20s, or at least felt excused from because you were just “figuring it out.”
3. Feeling the ever-growing chasm between the friends who have “careers” and the friends who have “jobs,” and wondering what side of it is even better to be on. (Are you drowning in work that you’re not even sure you love? Are you not doing something “professional” enough? Are you being left behind, or are you giving up a social life in order to feel grown up?)
4. Finally understanding the separations that happen by income amongst adults, and realizing that the reason people who make a lot of money and people who make not so much money don’t really hang out is because it’s often really, really uncomfortable.
5. The fact that you have exes that now have children.
6. Feeling your dating habits go from “Hahaha let’s just float around and see what happens” to “Dear God, please just let me find someone who isn’t a sociopath and will spoon with me on a regular basis.”
7. No longer being freaked out when you see that a friend is getting married, because that shit is just cropping up left, right, and center at this point.
8. Starting to actually see the occasional person in your social periphery get divorced, and realizing that people have acted out entire marital arcs while you were still trying to find a studio apartment that had a microwave in it.
9. The moment when you realize, while waist-deep in various forms that you do not understand, that this “paying taxes” thing is not only real, but something that is only going to get progressively worse for the rest of your life.
10. The declining acceptability of having the cheapest of everything — no more kitchens with entirely mismatched dining sets, no more ordering only the least expensive drink over and over at the bar, no more not sending gifts to all the people who send you one at holidays.
11. Jesus Christ, Christmas presents are so expensive.
12. Waking up in the morning and realizing that, with each passing day, you are less and less tolerant of raucous nights out, and even a few glasses of average wine is enough to give you a small hangover.
13. In a classroom setting, you now completely relate to the teachers, and not the students. All you can do is wonder why kids are such assholes, and hope that you were never that much of an asshole yourself (even though you know you probably were).
14. Being angsty and reclusive now mostly just prevents you from gainful employment, instead of making you all cool and mysterious.
15. The only thing you have to look forward to in terms of societal growth is being able to rent a car, and compared to being able to drink, it’s just about the lamest life milestone you can possibly imagine.
16. Starting to realize all of the things your parents had accomplished, achieved, and decided by the time you were their age — and knowing, without even thinking about it, that you aren’t even close to any of those things in your own life.
17. Wanting, on one hand, to be able to invite family over to your home for the holidays, and simultaneously taking deep comfort in the idea that you get to go home and be a kid again for a week or so.
18. The moment when you discover how expensive weddings are — and not even when you are the one getting married. Every time one of your friends or cousins ties the knot, you’re basically shilling out between 500 and 1,000 dollars, just to watch two people be happy in front of you and get a couple free glasses of champagne.
19. Knowing that this is the time that you should be a help, instead of a burden, for your parents, and feeling ashamed at the fact that you’re not close to making that transition.
20. Acutely noticing when things are not being marketed to you anymore, and not understanding some of the pop culture or internet-based stuff you’re seeing pop up around you.
21. Feeling the growing tenseness in your friends when they have a breakup, because there’s this weird undertone of “How much longer do I have to go through these disappointing relationships, because I’m trying to settle down at some point.”
22. Wrinkles and pimples at the same time!!! I call them pinkles. (✿◠‿◠)
23. The constant, overbearing need to think about and justify “what you are doing with your life,” as though anyone ever had a satisfactory answer to that question.
24. Seeing babies and feeling that clench in the ovaries of “Woah, I want to eat that little baby’s toes off and have it for my own.” (This goes triple if said baby is being carried around lovingly by a stone-cold DILF.)
25. Wanting desperately to retain a sense of spontaneity and adventure, but feeling it become increasingly incompatible with the life you live and the kind of goals you have for the future. It almost feels like mourning a person, because you know there is at least some version of yourself that is no longer really alive.