1. The troubling realization that you can in fact accomplish anything in life, if only you could figure out exactly what it is that you want to do. It feels as if you had a menu in hand and anxiously, hungrily waited for 20-something years, then when the universe came over to take your order, you didn’t have the slightest clue what you want.
2. Your high school reunion isn’t far away and you’re not quite sure where those ten years went. Maybe in 2-3 years or so, when it actually happens it’ll actually feel like a decade ago, but right now? Not even close.
3. This is a complex stretch of life because when it comes to big screw-ups, you aren’t young enough for youth to be an acceptable excuse but you also don’t necessarily feel like a full-fledged, sufficiently equipped, capable adult.
4. You’re losing friends and it isn’t because of immature drama or a falling out. It’s because people are finding boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, careers in other cities, children – numerous life changing things, and free time is a hot commodity. Friendships aren’t dissolving out of anger, they’re dissolving because life.
5. Sometimes you’re just faking it and casually mimicking others, not because you’re a follower, but you want to blend in while you figure this thing out for yourself. Don’t fret, y’all — 60% of the time I’m basically a kid sitting on another kid’s shoulders, wearing an oversized coat and pretending to know the drill.
6. Understanding that if you’re not careful, “a little time off” from something can easily turn into a couple years. Skipping a semester or a leave of absence from your job (if you have that luxury) can be risky decisions that tend to play out extra painfully because there are no refunds on time (unless you’re trying to return a clock or a watch).
7. The things you loved as a kid are constantly at risk of being remade/ruined. Recently there were rumors of a Space Jam sequel and I was in the fetal position rocking back and forth singing “Everybody get up, it’s time to slam now…” for 45 minutes. Luckily it proved to be nothing more than internet lies and I made a hasty recovery.
8. Slight frustration with your parents for not making you learn how to play instruments or try really hard at sports or something that you could’ve turned into a lucrative career. I had blind confidence as a kid Mom, if you would’ve just taken me to some casting calls, surely I would’ve gotten on All That and I’d still be resting on my Nickelodeon laurels to this day.
9. Birthdays are no longer enjoyable because they’re all just another year in the books after 21. You may try to convince yourself that something awesome comes with turning another year older, but the 25-to-rent-a-car thing is your last glimmer of gratification and even that one is a stretch.
10. Some of your favorite superstar athletes, actors, actresses, musicians and such aren’t even old enough to drink, which makes you feel weird about enjoying their work. I think this is because we’re used to admiring our favorite artists & sports players but it’s also unusual to lookup to someone younger than you.
11. Your body and health are becoming these needy, high maintenance problems that are all like “Eat more stuff that isn’t greasy & dipped in ranch” and “You should run or something because it was hard to get up that flight of eight stairs.” You just can’t get away with some old habits, unless you’re willing to endure cholestorallofthe consequences. Also, it’s increasingly difficult to get back in shape after letting yourself go.
12. Wearing pants more often than you’d like to because of professional environments. And not just any pants — the fancy kinds that require ironing and sometimes even *GASP* dry cleaning.
13. Catching yourself snarling at those hooligan teenagers who are actually a lot like we were at that age. The other day I heard noisy street youths from my apartment and I looked out of my window to see a group of ‘em were boxing. I was annoyed at first like some kind of get-off-my-lawn-yelling-old man, but then I realized – wait! — this is awesome, and I prepared my phone camera in case there was a sweet knockout. Still, that initial annoyance is likely a sign of things to come.
14. The lingering effects of any debt acquired over the years. Whether it be the constant reminders of school loans when Sallie Mae blows up your phone or being stalked in your mailbox by credit card companies, there’s a good chance somebody out there wants to snatch a few zeros from your bank account.
15. Constantly learning lessons firsthand that you can recall an adult warning you about in the past. It makes you wonder what valuable, nuggets of wisdom you’re not recognizing right now, that could save you some trouble in the upcoming years.
16. You’re getting favorite laundry detergents, dish soaps and other products that’ll be used to perform depressing around-the-house chores that you’re 100% responsible for.
17. Slowly recognizing that you’re no longer developing into someone, but you’re identifying the someone you’ve developed into.