As a 21-year-old, there are many aspects of being an adult that I don’t understand yet (like stocks and super delegates) but there are some significant, embarrassing realizations we all go through while emerging clumsily out of childhood.
1. Being rich is a choice
My friend May and I would play dress-up and say things like “when we’re grown-up we’re only going to wear designer clothes.” We envisioned a huge apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with stunning skyline views and remotes to control the lights, curtains, fridge and everything else. I was going to be a teacher and she was going to be an artist. Then we grew up and realized that only a very, very small percentage of society gets to live that kind of luxury life and it most likely won’t be us. (Side note: when my mom got money out of the bank I had no idea it was connected to an account— I thought anyone could just walk in, choose any amount and walk out).
2. Teachers live at school
I don’t know anyone who didn’t seriously think this at a certain point in their childhood. As previously stated, I used to really want to be a teacher but the only caveat was that I would have to live at the school. And I wanted to share that crazy, high-tech apartment with my friend May… So I truly wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Come on, we can all relate to that utter feeling of disbelief seeing your fourth grade teacher walking around your neighborhood in a tank top and flip-flips, grocery bag on arm.
3. Unhealthy food actually tastes bad to adults
For the life of me I couldn’t understand why my mom didn’t make a beeline to the Oreos, Nutella and Lucky Charms at the grocery store. How is it possible!? I felt helplessly in love with this junk food yet my mom seemed unfazed by the various forms of sugar and corn syrup that the aisles boasted. I assumed that magically when I turned twenty my taste buds would radically change and all of a sudden salad and broccoli would start to taste like snickers. Growing up is realizing that you still want the sweets just like you want the bad boy you never quite got over in high school; all being an adult really is is forceful, often painful self-control.
4. Cigarettes are disgusting and I’ll never, ever smoke them
I used to snap the pretzel rods in half and suck on it’s salt-crusted end lazily, mimicking the cigarette smokers I had seen leaning on the doors of NYC streets. But simultaneously, I swore by the fact that I would never, under any circumstances actually try one of those horrible things. Then the cuffed-pants boy with cerulean eyes offered me one on the rooftop of a party sophomore year of high school and the myth was debunked.
5. There is only one soulmate out there for you that you will marry and have kids with
I do recognize that a huge part of the reason I believed this was because I watched all the disney princess movies on repeat throughout my childhood and I thought my heteronormative, happily married parents resembled Ariel and Eric from “The Little Mermaid.” But I truly did believe that when I was twenty-five (to be exact) I would be in a long flowy sea-foam green dress standing in the middle of the dance-floor of a party alone when a tall man with chiseled cheekbones would tap me on the shoulder and I would just know— that’s him. But it doesn’t really work like that. There are so many different forms of love between every type of person and every single one of them is probably more exciting, less shallow and more real than any prince anyway.