The 20 Most Important Realizations I've Had As An Adult

To sum up your adult aesthetic using the words of Ina Garten: “Store-bought is fine.” Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash.

To sum up your adult aesthetic using the words of Ina Garten: “Store-bought is fine.” Image: Annie Spratt/Unsplash.

Most of the time we’re all weird together, feeling like we’re weird alone.

I’ve been 20 for, like, a whole month now — which is the most adult I’ve ever been. I’m certifiably ancient.

Upon reflecting over these two years of arbitrary official adulthood, I thought to myself, “Self, you have so much to offer the world! People certainly want to hear what you have to say!” And so here we are. (Approximately 3 out of 5 Republican uncles will think this intro is dead serious.)

Here are 20 real-life, actual things I have realized as an adult.

I know it would make more sense to do one thing for every year I’ve been an adult, but this isn’t flash fiction. This is Serious Journalism.

Think of it as getting 18 bonus pieces of advice.

You’re welcome.

1. Registration and car insurance are two different things.

Registration is the sticker thing with your car’s expiration date, and insurance is something else.

You have to show both of them to the cop when you pull into the “shoulder” to rearrange the 12 cups of Sonic Happy Hour slushes that just flew across your car, only to be informed that the shoulder is actually this thing called the “right lane.” (According to WikiHow, anyway.)

2. Having a room of one’s own to dance in without shame or judgment is one of life’s greatest pleasures...

...but it is, in fact, possible to bop too hard to “Partition” and pull a hamstring that will haunt you for two weeks.

3. Taxes.

4. Don’t sign up for Fabletics.

Their leggings are cute and stylish slacktivewear, but you will at some point(s) forget to “Skip This Month” and be charged the $49.99 you’d reserved for groceries.

You also have to talk on THE PHONE to cancel it. And the lady is all, “We don’t charge you $49.99 onto your card! We simply reserve a store credit for you!”

Cynthia, please. I may have not been born that many yesterdays ago, but I know what -$49.99 means on a transaction statement.

5. A multipurpose screwdriver is a perfectly acceptable wine corker.

It also helps to fervently whisper, “Hufflepuffs don’t give up” as you attempt this great feat of athleticism.


7. Mold comes in so many colors.

Even pink kinds.

8. No matter how thoughtfully you’ve cultivated your tastes to result in a very breezy Gwyneth Paltrow In An Urban Outfitters Grown-Ass Lady vibe, ABBA and House Hunters end up happening.

You also end up hating said breezy Gwyneth Paltrow In An Urban Outfitters Grown-Ass Lady vibe.

This is inevitable and ultimately good.

To sum up your adult aesthetic using the words of Ina Garten: “Store-bought is fine.”


This is also probably not good for your skin.

10. People mouth-breathe a lot more than you think they do.

Including you. When your mouth is touching their mouth.

Case in point: Humans are all very weird, not just you.

Most of the time we’re all weird together, feeling like we’re weird alone.

11. Those dryer sheets from doing your laundry? Your mom must’ve spent a third of your childhood picking those bastards up off the floor…

...thus leaving you with no skills to handle the monsoon of crispy half-tissue slices that make it out of the hamper.

Bless her, though. She taught you how to do the laundry part, at least.

You will show many affluent friends how to pour a small cup of soap into a large box of clothes, and they will be very impressed.

12. The great thing about growing up poor is that you’re already totally down for ramen and tortillas.

The not great thing about growing up poor is persistent money anxiety and a terrible gauge for acceptable pay.

13. Never judge someone for being “wasteful” and using paper plates ever again.


14. Spring for the salt and pepper that comes in the grinders.

Quality of life goes up exponentially.

15. William Shatner is the Priceline Negotiator. William Shatner is also Captain Kirk.

You know these things. What you don’t know is that the Priceline Negotiator is Captain Kirk.

16. You bought that crockpot more for self-esteem than for actual utility, which you’ve found to be an appealing sort of utility in its own right.

17. You have a lot of hair.

18. Some packages of Double Stuf Oreos taste different from other packages of Double Stuf Oreos.

19. It is entirely possible to write a 5-page paper on Byzantine art history in two hours if you believe in yourself hard enough.

If you know you can do it, you can do it. Like a Patronus.

This is very sound logic and you are a very reasonable person. Also, you got an A+ on that paper, so, like, keep telling me children’s fantasy is not a good source of life advice *rides Aslan into the sun*

20. Everyone else’s list looks a lot like this.

You’re golden, kid (which is how you still feel, AKA: the best evidence available that you really are an adult-ish person).

Bronze, at the very least.

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