5 Moments That Prove You're An Adult Now

(a post I wrote in 2012, resurrected and made better for postgradproblems.com)  

emma's thing

They all warned us. They all said, “Enjoy being young, because it only gets worse.” They told us our youth wouldn’t last forever and soon, we’d be paying bills and griping about our health, just like the rest of them. We didn’t believe them. How could we? We were young and vibrant. The world was at our fingertips. We were ignorant to the fact that one day, we would be considered adults. It was too far away to seem inevitable.

Well, guess what?

That day came and went, and when it did, it hit me straight across my face, helplessly knocking me onto the ground. When I came to, I was occupying a cube, wondering when the party had stopped, and questioning if I would ever know the pleasure of $2 beers and $1 shots ever again.

You realize you actually like wine.

In college, you don’t sit around and drink wine on girls’ nights. In fact, you rarely have girls’ nights, because everything is so coed driven and ridden with an inescapable mash up of penis and vagina. You try to keep boys out, but there’s an invisible magnetic force that’s unstoppable in collegiate coeds. The extent of your wine tasting pallet doesn’t extend past Franzia of the Zinfandel variety until you’re AT LEAST 20. Then you slowly shift to super cold white wine. (It’s like juice!) Around the time you’re fresh out of college and employed at your first real job, you realize you’re drawn to red wine for the kind of comfort not even human touch can provide, and you never, ever look back. You realize white wine was child’s play for your not-yet-matured palette, and that it’s really only suitable to drink when the outside temperature is at least 90 degrees. When red becomes your go-to and you find yourself splurging on bottles that exceed $10, you’ve crossed over from girlhood to womanhood. Not to mention, the night you finish an entire bottle on your own in one sitting is when shit gets super real. This is what I like to refer to as “the point of no return.”

The first time you leave the bar by 11 p.m.

This is unheard of before 23 years of age. I say 23 because we all try so desperately the first year out of college to keep up our shenanigans and spend weekend nights partying ‘til dawn like the only optional obligation we have come Monday is class from 11:15 to 12:15. When you’re a good year into the real world, you grow weary of bar hopping. You become uncomfortably aware that three quarters of the people in any given bar are total strangers, the smell of stale beer and spilled Fireball shots is cloying, and you can’t expect your school’s marching band to show up around midnight to give you a second wind and keep you going until 3 a.m. Your week was long. You’re tired. How you’re tired from literally sitting in a cube for 40 hours, you don’t know. But you are, and you want to go home. The thought of, “What am I doing? Just drinking to drink? It’s not like I’m going to meet anyone. This is so stupid,” hits you, and, almost in a daze, you pay your bill, silently slip out, and Uber it home BY YOURSELF. FOMO is a thing of the past. All you want is your bed and 12 hours of solid sleep. THIS, my friends, THIS means you’re a fucking adult.

Your sudden and morbidly depressing weight gain.

No longer can you blindly shove food into your mouth and complain about being bloated for the next 24 hours until your stomach magically flattens itself out again. No. Now, a piece of pizza instantaneously forms an actual triangle-shaped lump on your right thigh. No longer is it hilarious that you finished an entire personal pizza from Papa John’s on your lonesome and washed every bite down with ranch–it’s gross and sad. You pretend to laugh about it with (Twitter) friends, but inside, you’re crying. You question every meal in which you choose to indulge. The no-brainer option of fries over a salad is suddenly an internal battle that stresses you out more than any Excel spreadsheet ever could. Never has not being naturally, beanpole thin been so awful to endure. Working out during college was a joke, but now, if you really want to make love to that burger for dinner, you must preemptively decide how you’re going to work it off tomorrow with an extra set of burpees and cardio, and it SUCKS. Your metabolism has made you its bitch.

You’re broke and overdrawn.

There’s nothing quite like being up the proverbial creek sans the proverbial paddle. Having to call your parents when you’re a college graduate and explain that you maybe might have acted like a true $40K millionaire by dropping dollars on meals and clothes you can’t afford and are now incapable of paying to keep a roof over your head is a low point a lot of us have most likely hit. This, on top of waking up one day and realizing you’ve used all your savings to get yourself out of completely irresponsible situations, perfectly drive home the point that, yep, you’re a stupid, young adult and it’s time to get your act together. STOP SHOPPING AT WEST ELM AND ANTHROPOLOGIE. YOU CAN’T AFFORD THEM AND THEY CAN’T AFFORD YOU.

You run so many errands.

All my life, I wanted to grab my mom’s steering wheel and veer us off the road when I got stuck “running errands.” I dreaded it. I dreaded getting in and out of the car, handing my mom coupons, pushing the cart for her, and growing unreasonably bored and hungry. Now? Now I dedicate full Saturdays and Sundays to getting all the crap done that I don’t have time for during the week. I actually write down all the errands I need to accomplish and map them out via the most efficient route. “I would, but I HAVE to go to Target and Walgreens and get my car detailed before it rains this week” is no longer just a bunch of bullshit to get out of friends’ invites to be social. The errands never stop when you’re an adult. There’s ALWAYS something to be done. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. You find yourself wondering how this is even possible. You’re a young adult, living on your own. It’s not like you have a family to provide for, and you certainly don’t have kids to take to soccer practice. But, somehow, here you are, running infinite errands during every spare moment you have in life. You’ve become your mother.

It’s hard, y’all, being all grown and stuff. That’s why it’s so important to always remain just a quarter bit immature and get violently drunk at least once every two months until your body completely shuts down on you. That’s my motto, anyway.

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