1. Your strongest friendships become unbreakable, especially with the friends you don’t see all the time.
Some people get jobs, others get bored. Either way, some of your friends are bound to move away. Group texts and Facebook chats become your way of keeping in touch on the daily, and they’re surprisingly effective. They save your life when you’re bored at work, and when you feel alone at a crowded party, you remember that your best friends are still around. Whether your friends are near or far, the post-grad, new job stage of life makes it clear who will stick around and who won’t, and it’s a blessing to finally know that for certain.
2. Fair-weather friends fall to the wayside.
The people you used to dread hanging out with become the people you never see. The arguments end and the drama stops. You both say “let’s get lunch sometime!” in a cordial and “but actually never!” way, and that feels perfectly fine.
3. You learn to appreciate quality and start to seek it out.
Say it with me: “Fuck Forever 21. Forever.” You realize that when it comes to clothes, electronics, furniture, and people, it’s best to find good ones that will last and invest in them ASAP. Of course, you still see the beauty in a balls-to-the-wall, impulse buy bonanza Target run, but you know that these are necessary binges and not a regular part of your life.
4. You learn how to really take care of and maintain your relationships.
You start to actually keep a record of birthdays that isn’t maintained by Facebook. You know when big life events are happening in the lives of the people you care about, and you can actually afford to treat them to nice things when things go well. And maybe even nicer things when they don’t go well, even if it is just a late night phone call or a long drive that ends in a hug.
5. Two words: Happy. Hour.
College happy hours are to adult happy hours what Atlantic City is to Las Vegas. Adult happy hours are classier and better, but still somehow serve as a guilty pleasure and reward for all of your hard work and boring hours before them.
6. One word: Brunch.
You brunch more after 22. You just do. And it is good.
7. Two more words: skipping brunch.
After a certain age, though, you don’t feel bad about skipping a $40 plate of eggs. Fuck those eggs. You’ll eat avocado toast and watch Netflix and it will be just as glorious.
8. You start to slow down and make slightly healthier choices.
The college weight falls off of your body once you start treating your body like a body and not a 24 hour diner’s garbage can. It’s pretty incredible, and you look at yourself like, “wait, did I really wait this long to be hot? I really could’ve used this in high school when I actually cared.”
9. You meet people who know you for what you do, not who you were as an adolescent.
It’s really nice to relate to someone about your passions, work, and aspirations rather than your worst drunk moments or when a paper is due. The connections you make after 22 can make for hundreds of those wonderful “did we just become best friends?” moments, even if they don’t pan out.
10. You watch your friends become ‘real adults’ and stop having to play babysitter.
Weekends are far less nerveracking when you don’t feel like there’s a 50/50 chance you could end up in the waiting room of a hospital.
11. You become part of a work family.
Work wives are a real thing. So are work Moms, Dads, step siblings, and pets. If you’re lucky, these relationships become some of the most fun you’ll ever have.
12. Horrible people come into your life, and you can finally see why they’re toxic.
Yeah, you know now that you don’t need to be friends with the person everyone says is “so much fun! But kind of crazy.” You know what that means now and you are not buying a cheap ass ticket to get on that struggle bus.
13. You get rid of your most unnecessary and embarrassing ‘novelty’ items.
Your shot glass collection, sombrero, and Bob Marley poster get kicked to the curb. You won’t miss them, trust me.
14. You can laugh at your teenage years and actually see how you’ve changed.
You used to cringe at your old journals and pictures. Now you embrace the TimeHop. After all, for every embarrassing moment of your own, there are 300 of your best friend’s out there, just waiting for you to ‘like’ them.
15. You get nostalgic for the past without getting sad.
You can miss your ex without wanting to be with them. This is a weird feeling that warrants fewer playlists. God bless.
16. You start to know your personal staples and ‘go-to’s.’
You no longer need to fill your pockets or purse with an entire two days worth of supplies because you aren’t sure where you’ll end up. You’re pretty sure you’ll end up at home, and you know what you like and actually want on your person.
17. Sleep hygiene becomes an actual thing instead of a weird myth you read about once.
Naps were great, but eight to ten hours of quality sleep is now essentially your favorite drug.
18. You look the way you feel, for better or worse.
The dissonance between your appearance and your state of being isn’t so pronounced. You can see your hangover in the mirror, even though you used to go to class and think no one could tell that you spent every second thinking about vomiting. You’ve grown up enough not to call yourself “fat” whenever you feel fat, and trust me, everyone around you appreciates that.
19. You become unaware of whatever the fuck is happening on social media this week.
The Harlem Shake was a trying time for all of us. After 22? Facebook becomes a place for people to brag, announce engagements, and have cultural debates that never go anywhere. And it is beautiful.
20. You can actually pay for things without checking your bank account ten times to see if you’re about to incur the dreaded ‘overdraft fees’ of hell fire and doom.
The best things in life might be free, but the greatest food deliveries are not.
21. You start to relate to your parents on a strangely terrifying, yet totally comforting level.
Yeah, you know how every old person used to form a Greek chorus of “one day you’ll understand” and you were like “please stop following me around, I am going to live forever?” You’re starting to see what they mean, and even though it reminds you of your mortality and makes you feel painfully uncool, it’s nice to see your parents as both friends and the people who told you what not to do for 21 years.
22. You hear the beauty, confidence, and power in the word “no.”
You used to feel like you had to say “yes” to everything: dates, classes, friends, purchases. You felt bad when you turned anything down. After 22, you see that saying no just means knowing what you want and understanding how to avoid the things you don’t want, and that, my friends, is what adults do.