I’ve been an adult for a few years now. I’m 24. I’ve lived on my own, paying my own rent and my own bills, for about two years.
Being an adult is stupid. It’s the biggest nope that ever was.
So far I’ve discovered that even though your peers are all adults, the playground bullies haven’t left. They’re just taller, and usually they have more money and influence than you.
Everything you thought would be great about adulthood when you were a kid comes with strings attached. You can eat whatever you want, but you also have to pay for it. You don’t have to go to school anymore, but still have to park in front of a desk for eight hours anyway. You can go wherever you want, but you need to think about how much gas will cost and where you have to be tomorrow and whether or not you’ll be fired if you go away for too long.
Being an adult apparently requires having a lot of Stuff even though Stuff isn’t really necessary for a happy existence. If you don’t want a huge house and want to build a tiny one, there are laws against that. If you don’t want to pay a huge power bill and switch to solar, there are laws against that. If you want to start a small business or be self employed so you can skip the rat race and have a job that allows you to escape the articifical and stressful environment of corperate America, you’ll get taxed out of doing that pretty quickly.
Your whole life you’ve been told to go to college so you can get a job. So you go to college and learn to do something you’re good at. Trouble is, the new expecation for entry-level positions usually requires 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 years of experience in that particular job field before they’ll even think about hiring you. You need both a college degree and real-world job experience before you can get paid so you can eat and pay rent. While you were busy studying away, making As, and working part time to ease costs a bit, all the jobs you care about have decided your degee isn’t good enough for them anymore. Most of us take the first job we can find, even if it’s a job we hate, and we don’t get the chance to gain experience for the jobs we’d actually enjoy.
You discover pretty quickly that renting a living space eats all the money you could be putting towards a house, especially since rent costs as much as a morgage payment if you want to live close to where you work. So you don’t buy a house and you don’t buy a new car because you don’t want to be in debt. Yet, as a newer adult, you’ll probably get flak for not going into debt for things you can’t afford in an economy you didn’t ruin. You’ll want to skip it all and live in an RV or live out of your car so you can actually go see the big world you live in, but refer to paragraph 4. Also, gas prices.
Even if everything is going well for you in your corner of the world (relatively small rent, a job you enjoy or at least tolerate, a fairly healthy social life), there’s the rest of the planet. It’s exploding. If there’s not a plague, there’s an earthquake. People are killing other people because they’re different from them. Rapists go free while their victims are punished for being victims. Human beings are still sold as slaves. Children die for the crime of being conceived. Riots. Wars. Rumors of wars. And you can’t do anything about it.
The worst thing about adulthood is that even though everyone who is an adult has experienced adulthood and knows how hard it is, very, very few adults have any compassion for other adults. You can’t talk about the injustices and absurdities of this oversized playground without some snot-nosed kid in the sandbox yelling “Grow up and deal with it!”
Oh, sure, we’re growing up and dealing with it, but that doesn’t fix a single thing.
The only thing about being an adult that’s worth talking about is marriage.
Marriage is the best.
Because at the end of a long day of dealing with all of the above, you can come home, and your Spouse is there. You can make dinner together, talk about little things or big things or medium sized things, laugh together, dream together. You can shut all the nonsense out for a while. You don’t have to be what anyone expects you to be. You can be kids, sort of, for an hour or so before bed.
And somehow, by some sort of deep magic, those few hours are worth all the rest.