When we dreamed of being grown-ups as children we thought of all the things we could do, not all of the things we would have to do.
We thought about driving and teaching, not car payments and grading papers.
Little did we know that we were wishing away the wistful days of youth when our parents paid the bills and our responsibilities were limited to keeping our rooms clean and hair combed. Growing up we all thought that being an adult meant doing what we wanted, when we wanted and how we wanted to do it.
Surprise! You do not have the money or the time and there will always be someone to answer to. Welcome to your 20s.
#1 This has been the “real world” all along.
There is no distinct point where you enter the “real world.” Life just keeps on moving and you keep thinking “I would be happy and want nothing more if…” But there is always another “if” because that if was not as fulfilling as you expected it would be.
#2 Just because you have a degree does not mean you are going to use it.
Just because you majored in psychology does not mean that you are going to work in the field of psychology, nor does it mean that you are going to have a job that requires a degree. My college roommate majored in history and minored in art and guess what she is doing now…she works in a bank.
Many jobs simply require a bachelor’s degree and the job description does not specify any particular field; they simply want you to have that knowledge base. Employers want you to know how to cooperate with others and have critical thinking skills, but do not be shocked if you are doing work you could have done right out of high school. Keep in mind that you are likely doing the job a whole hell of a lot better than you would have as a teen.
#3 Some of your exes were actually right about you….gulp.
Remember that guy who said you were selfish? Well, he wasn’t totally wrong. As much as we want to believe that we are not the problem sometimes we actually are. These experiences give us the push we need to do some deep soul searching and change for the betterment of ourselves and our future relationships.
#4 You aren’t done living with your parents (just because you graduated college).
With the price of rent rising it is becoming even less affordable for young adults to live on their own. In some locales, it is less expensive per month to buy a house and pay the mortgage than to rent. Renting was initially created so that those individuals who could not afford to buy could reside in more affordable housing.
With the existence of slums and ghettos in low rent facilities in the past few decades, landlords have raised the prices of rent in order to circumvent low income renters in an attempt to maintain their properties. In doing so they have out-priced many new graduates who are attempting to work their way up the income ladder and forced many of us in our early twenties back into our childhood abodes, still adorned with sparkly pink feather boas and little league trophies.
Okay, so not everyone is forced back into the cradle right after school, but likely you are still not done living with your parents. It may come down the road, in your 30s, when your new house is under renovation or in your 40s or 50s when your parents move in with you because they can not climb stairs as well as they used to. Long story short: you are not in the clear.
#5 Full time work is not all you thought it would be.
You were so excited to graduate so you could actually work in your field, which we discovered may or may not happen, but you did not take into consideration how little free time you would have. If you are living on your own, getting off work means cooking dinner, doing laundry, making that phone call to your lady doctor you could not make while you were at work and making lunch for the next day because oh by the way…#6.
#6 You are still broke.
You thought you were broke in college? Ha! That is a laughable thought. Wait until your student loans exit their grace period. In college you could tack your housing onto your loans. Well, guess what it is time to pay those loans back plus rent, utilities, insurance, cell phone, internet, Netflix…shall I go on?
#7 Being a grown up kind of sucks (at least sometimes).
You don’t have time; you don’t have money. Being an adult is not at all as glamorous as you thought it would be. You thought after a long day of work you would partake of the glamorous, Hepburnesk, scene of drinking wine in the bubbly depths of your claw foot bathtub as you pored over the latest Nicholas Sparks book.
Well, surprise! not only do you not have time to read for pleasure, but you can not take a bubble bath because: A.) Your dingy little apartment does not have one. B.) You still live with the rents and others need to use the washroom and you cannot occupy it for that period of time without being interrupted. C) You do not have the time to draw a bath and sit there and steep or D.) Life is cruel and you cannot take baths because they give you urinary tract infections.
So, you settle for the quicker, less expensive option (Oh, I forgot: E. Wine is expensive.) and drink beer in the shower.
Author: Erika Stafford
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own