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This Is What Being An Adult Really Is, Because It’s More Than Paying A Mortgage And Getting Engaged

Instagram is the fucking worst when you’re in your 20s.

Yes, intellectually we are aware that our feed is not a complete picture of everyone’s lives. We know that everyone is just posting the highlight reel, the best parts of their everyday lives. We know that because we do it, too.

But when your best is getting a really good batch of eggs and bottomless mimosas for brunch and someone else’s best is getting married to the love of their life or buying their first home, it’s impossible to not kind of feel a little like shit.

It’s hard not to feel left behind.

And let’s also not forget the constant commentary from older generations about how millennials are The Worst™. That we’re entitled, lazy, and are totally off track to adulthood because so many of us are in no rush to settle down. That less of us are investing in real estate and getting married than ever before.

While these milestones are absolutely markers of success and adulthood for some and completely lovely and exciting times in many people’s lives, why does this have to be all there is to say we’ve “made it” as adults?

We’re all in a rush to prove ourselves as functioning members of society by showing how “adult” we really are with refurnished living rooms, beautiful wedding photos, and freshly printed business cards. We’re all trapped in this constant comparison trap that is fueled by our belief that we aren’t really adults until we reach milestones x, y, and z.

And honestly, that’s bullshit. Because there’s way more to being an adult than paying a mortgage and getting engaged.

Maybe being an adult is breaking up with someone, even though you were totally convinced they were the love of your life because you realized that love is not always enough to make a relationship work.

Maybe being an adult is realizing that maybe marriage isn’t meant for you and your partner at all and that it’s not a failure or a lack of commitment to your relationship that you don’t have a diamond ring to signify it.

Maybe being an adult is recognizing you need to quit the job that looks great on social media or on your resume but is slowing tearing you apart in order to find one that is healthier for you, even if that means the prestige or status is gone.

Maybe being an adult is putting together a spreadsheet to pay off your debt before you even think about looking for a home or going on that vacation or even buying that new pair of shoes.

Maybe being an adult is knowing that life is really fucking hard and it’s never going to look the way you thought it would. Maybe being an adult is being at peace with all of that.

I don’t know.

There is still so much growing up I have to do. I have enough self-awareness to know that there are so many questions I do not have answers to, there are still so many things I can’t do without Google, and there is so much I still have to experience. There are so many things I should probably know by now and all that. I still call my parents for advice and the possibility of buying a house or getting married are nowhere close to where I am at right now.

But I’m still an adult even if I am single AF and have no plans or ability to purchase a home in the near future. I’m still an adult even though I’m only at the beginning of my career. I’m still an adult even though I feel lost and unsure most days.

Because the truth is, I’m doing just fine. And so are you.

We all are. TC mark

Molly Burford

Writer. Editor. Hufflepuff. Dog person.

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