Adulthood is one of those experiences that comes for all of us – sooner or later – and that, like most things about life, isn’t exactly what we expected.
When we’re younger, especially as teenagers, it sounds so great to be able to live on your own and to not have anyone telling you where to go, what to eat, how to act, or how to dress…but once all of those decisions are yours alone, you realize the consequences of these decisions are yours, too.
Here are 14 things people say no one talks about with kids when it comes to what life is like on the other side of the veil.
14. What is free time?
That you never really have free time anymore.
Even when you’re not working or studying or taking care of family etc. the ‘free time’ you have almost always needs to be used for general life maintenance.
The kitchen always needs cleaning, the garbage always needs emptying, there’s always something not quite right with your car, there’s always a form that needs filling in, you’re always about to run out of shampoo… it’s relentless.
13. Not just because of the money.
The health isn’t thing you must take for granted. You should care about it.
Take care of your teeth, dental bills are expensive.
12. I miss vacation.
No more holiday vacation, spring break, or summer vacation, unless you save up for them.
Worse is that even if you do get a nice vacation you’ve saved up time and money for, you still have to deal with the fact that where ever you go, there’s going to be like a bunch of other people doing the exact same thing at the exact same time hoping to have the exact kind of experience you are having.
Think you’ll enjoy a nice, quiet trip to Antarctica? Well guess what, so did this family of 8 with a chihuahua and this really rich entitled elderly couple who somehow brought an RV there to park in front of the most picturesque view.
What’s that? You want to eat at the top rated restaurant in Antarctica? Have fun waiting 2 hours for a table and paying $30 for a burger.
Thought you’d book time to hang out with penguins? Sorry, they’re booked solid for the next 4 months unless you want to pay $200 for the VIP pass that doesn’t include anything else other than you get to join that family of 8 that also somehow paid $200 per person and dog.
Enjoy watching Brayden kick a penguin while Kaylee and Coco see who can scream/bark louder.
11. The price of wreaths has honestly dropped my jaw.
Cashews and holiday wreaths are so expensive it’s not even funny.
Holiday decorations in general, wtf.
And especially as a young adult have fun finding a place to store them all!
10. Possibilities disappear.
Life isn’t full of endless possibilities. The older you get, the harder it becomes to choose different life paths, whether you like the path you’re currently on or not.
I remember when I was 17, thinking that there would never be another time in my life when I had so many choices open to me. Then I thought, I’m probably going to make the wrong ones because I have no experience.
I was correct on both counts.
9. It’s really, really hard.
Seeing your mum getting so old, grey and short has been a bit shit.
Realising that your nieces and nephews are now the same age you were when they were born.
8. Your eyes are open now.
You just start seeing the world for what it is and realise that it’s always been this way, you were just ignorant.
7. Sometimes you just wish there was a real adult in the room.
You’re the person you used to look for when you needed help and you’re never ready for that.
Even worse, when both your parents have died, and you and your siblings are now the oldest generation.
6. Anything can hurt you. Any time.
Pain from doing nothing. Just hurting because you’re old.
I hurt my knee getting into bed the other day and thought I tore something. It was sore for two days, and is fine now, but wtf.
5. There’s a good chance you can’t eat it anyway.
Cheese is incredibly expensive.
My love for brie on crackers is financially devastating.
4. No one knows what’s going on.
Sad reality? Being an adult doesn’t exist. It’s just kids that don’t know the f**k they’re supposed to do.
For me you realize not even your parents have their shit together. When they say “it’ll make sense you’re older” they mean it.
There’s a scene in himym that gets me more emotional as an adult once you realize how true it is: Marshall tells Ted that as a kid, his family would always drive to a summer cabin in pitch black in the middle of the night.
Marshall was scared but his dad was behind the wheel so he always felt less afraid. When he has to drive at night with Ted, likely down that same road, he realizes his dad was probably as scared as he was, but he just kept driving and hoped for the best.
3. The bumpers are gone.
Childhood is heavily structured, sort of like having bumpers on a bowling lane.
For the most part, you know where you’re supposed to be, and where you’re going next – this is true both on a daily basis and a long-term basis.
Every day, your parents arrange for your breakfast, then you go to school, you go to an extracurricular, you come home, your parents arrange for your dinner, you do homework, you play, you go to bed. Each year, you have midterms, then finals, then you move to the next grade. You go from elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college or tech school, then to a job.
It’s possible to go off the rails as a kid, but it’s fairly difficult. The system will exert immense force to keep you on track and rolling along to the end, even if you fuck up significantly. There is always somebody to pick you back up and chuck you back down the bowling lane, even if you start rolling backwards. If you skip school and get caught, the police might even haul you in as a truant. The system is that serious about keeping you moving along the path.
Then you graduate, the bumpers come off, the lane disappear, and you’re a bowling ball sitting in an empty field.
here’s no more track. There is no system pushing you along. There’s not even any pins – no obvious goal or objective.
If you fuck up or slack off as an adult, you might literally become homeless and sleep under a bridge. You might literally not eat. You could actually die.
That force that propels kids from grade to grade, promoting them up through the system, does not exist at all in the adult world. There is nothing propelling you into a job, promotions, or raises. There is nothing propelling you into renting an apartment, finding a spouse, or into owning a house.
You have to fight, and scrap, and challenge for everything from money, to recognition, to social interaction. Everything.
The freedom that comes along with this is wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is the way it needs to be. But many people wipe out in early adulthood because they think that the magic force propelling them forward will stick around forever.
Far too many people think that they’re just going to be handed a job, promotions, and a house – for the simple reason that they were handed everything else they needed up until that point.
But that’s not how adulting works.
2. Save your money.
Freedom is financial. I am sure there is a minimilast way of approaching this, and freedom is different for everybody, but being able to do what you want is determined by your finances.
If you can, enjoy your winter, summer, and spring breaks.
1. They assume the worst.
People usually don’t give you the benefit of the doubt anymore.
Also when you accomplish something it’s not “impressive for someone your age” anymore.
It’s just “I’m top 10% in my county’s racquetball club”
Y’all, these hit the nail on the head but listen – we’re all just faking it.
Maybe that’s the real truth the kids need to know, hmm?