To be fair, literally nobody said becoming an adult was going to be easy. There was no one pulling you aside at graduation to say, “Well, now that you’re through the hard part, you get to relax and just enjoy life’s endless bounty of fun and opportunity.” Flip the halves of that sentence and maybe we’ve got a start.
Not to say that being an adult doesn’t have its perks (see you later, 10-page essays!), as parts of growing up and becoming an adult are really fun. Having stacks of bills that aren’t part of the game Monopoly? Awesome. Embracing the phrase “strong, independent woman” because you finally really feel like one? Hell yes! However, there are certain parts that we worried about and, as it turns out, we were right.
1. Waking up.
This will be easy, you thought. I did this all the time in high school, you justified. Except your memory glossed over the fact that waking up before 6:45 a.m. everyday was, and still is, a piping hot cup of Hell. Just for funsies, commuting is thrown into the mix. You’ve accepted that feeling like an iPhone at 29% battery is your life now.
2. Not spending money.
Odds are your first paycheck was more money than the balance of your bank account spring semester senior year so you are STOKED to see the little money bag emoji get some action every once in awhile. And while you know you should be saving (with Dad’s “Let’s talk about 401Ks” speech fresh in your head), you sometimes spend it on frivolous (but freaking awesome!) brunches and Sephora trips.
Don’t lie—you know that when you were still in college listening to recent post-grads describe how “hangovers seriously get so much worse,” you rolled your eyes. I’ll always be able to hang, you thought smugly. Now when two glasses of white wine suckerpunch your soul and the weekend version of yourself should really come with a sign that says “Closed on Sundays”, you get it.
4. Student loans.
People told you that they would suck, you suspected that they would suck and now here they are, sucking. Each month they gnaw into your entry-level salary, leaving you with less funds and less fun(s).
5. Eating well and eating for cheap.
Pinterest, I love you, but stop selling me lies about this “Healthy, Delicious and Totally Affordable” grocery list. ~iT dOeSn’T eXisT~ Get real and pick two of those adjectives. It’s either a spinach and quinoa dish that is supposed to leave you healthy and happy (apparently?) or the temptress that is a 2-dollar slice of pizza that makes a pass at you everyday on your walk home from work.
6. Taxes, bills, and other financial mumbo jumbo.
A lot of your free time gets sucked into this black hole of cautiously sifting through a growing pile miscellaneous financial paperwork. Bills, taxes, and credit card statements, oh my! Real thoughts you may have had: “I think I set this up online, but I don’t remember. If my credit score was a letter grade, what would it be? Is there a curve? If I accidentally mess this up, is the FBI going to come after me like Leo in Catch Me If You Can? Fuck W2s.”
7. Staying in touch with friends.
In college, it was odd if your roommate didn’t describe, at length, the salad she got from Panera that day. Now even checking in on the big stuff is challenging. I’m sure, “Thank God for this group text!” was never something you pictured yourself saying, but it’s true, because group texts help you stay connected with friends as you all make valiant attempts at adulting. Plus, nothing leads to a warm fuzzy feeling like a round of “I seriously love you guys so much!!!” texts bombarding the Drunk Betches chat at 3 a.m. on a Friday night.
8. Pretending that it feels totally normal.
Your license says you’re 23 and your heart says, “I think there’s been a terrible mistake.” How did so much time pass that suddenly you’re expected to know adult things, like when daylight savings is? Sometimes you feel like you’re just playing one big game of dress up and the cup of coffee in your hand and the professional-looking elevator are just serving as super legit props for your take on “young professional adult.”
The truth is, noticing that you’re becoming a real adult can be kind of a weird, out of body experience. But, it’s not necessarily a bad weird. Maybe even a good weird, as you expand your mind and grow as a human being? The whole transition is kind of a lot to handle, like an existential rollercoaster, and that, as it turns out, is half the fun.