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7 Reasons Adulting is the Worst!

I just turned 33. I am not sure how that happened because I still feel like I’m in my mid 20s, and I would like to think my face also looks like it is still in its mid-20s. While I have not taken the traditional life path since graduating college (I tried it and decided it was not for me), I still find that at times I am required to adult.

You may or may not be familiar with the term, adulting, and while writing this I see a red squiggly line under the word, I assure you it is a real word. Here is a formal definition:

verb | a-dult-ing | \ə-ˈdəlt-iŋ, ˈa-ˌdəlt-iŋ\
the act of behaving fully grown, developed, mature and sensible
the act of behaving as an adult
Example: “Adulting is the WORST.” or “I don’t feel like adulting today.”

In honor of my constant desire to not adult, I have compiled this list of why adulting is the worst.

1. Playdates become fewer and fewer

When I first graduated college and moved back to Detroit to do pharmaceutical sales, my friends and I would routinely hang out five nights a week. Most of us were not in serious relationships and Martini Monday was a happy hour not to be missed. We spent many weekends in NYC, Miami and LA, just because. On the odd occasion, we grabbed our passports and crossed borders to explore Paris, London or the beaches of Mexico.

The first few years after college were the golden years. We were making money and though we were adults we were just becoming adults and we were not reasonable enough to save a ton of money and skip biweekly shopping sprees. Bills were paid and we did not have much debt. We were young, dumb and enjoying life.

Fast forward to the first three years of my 30s and many of my friends are married, have children or are in serious relationships. While my friends still find time to hang out with me, through rarely, sometimes kids are running around the house and we have to speak in hushed tones about sexual exploits, or I am told, “I have to work late” or “I have a work event tonight” or “I am too tired to do anything, I just want to watch netflix” or “I have a wedding to go to” or “My in-laws are in town” or “I have plans with *insert name of friend’s partner*” or “I can’t go to *insert random country I have invited my friends to* because I am saving for the wedding.” I have certainly been guilty of using some of these excuses, but can we please just go back to the days of not working 40+ hours a week and having to be responsible for the lives of little tiny human beings?

2. Realizing that your parents are not immortal

When we were young, for many of us, our parents were our heroes, our everything. I rarely saw my parents cry, I do not recall them being sick when I was young. In my head my parents were immortal. I assumed they would be there for all major milestones in life because that is how it should be. I always imagined taking pictures with my parents at college graduation, graduate school graduation, walking down the wedding aisle with my dad, having that father daughter dance. I imagined visiting my parent’s home and watching my kids play with their grandparents.

Unfortunately two days after my 19th birthday my father died. Subsequently, I have been to the funerals of many of my parents’ friends and friends’ parents. Thanks to the universe I still have my mom who is awesome and probably immortal.

The aging of parents is an awful part of adulting. Seeing your parents slow down, having to deal with various medical specialists and just not physically being who they were when we were young is difficult. And at the same time, while we are trying to enjoy our own personal lives, it is important to spend time with them because they simply will not be there forever.

When discussing some of his life’s regrets with students in Kuala Lampur, President Obama stated, “I regret not having spent more time with my mother,” He continued, “There was a stretch of time from when I was, let’s say, 20 until I was 30, where I was so busy with my own life that I didn’t always reach out and communicate with her and ask her how she was doing and tell her about things.”

We live life like tomorrow is guaranteed and unfortunately it is not, so call your mom and dad, tell them you love them and remind them to take their medicine.

3. The End of Naps

Remember the wonderful days of Preschool and Kindergarten when there was scheduled nap time? Remember getting picked up from elementary school by your parents at 2:40 pm and taking a nap in the car because you were not the one driving? Remember during college when you could get back to your dorm at 3 am and still be up in time for that 8 am class, knowing that you could come back after class and nap.

Now if you make the foolish mistake of staying out until 3 am, you still have to be at work at 9 am and fully function in that job until 5:30 pm, if you’re lucky. Then you have that work event that goes until 9 pm and it is 10pm before you can even climb in bed and at that point the sleepiness that had been choking you throughout the entire day finally escaped and you lay awake in your bed until 12:43 am begging yourself to go to sleep. Then at 7 am your alarm rings.

Can we please reinstate naps?

4. Slower metabolism and realizing you have to exercise for the rest of your life

I used to be skinny, and I mean REALLY skinny. I played tennis in high school, but other than that I never worked out much. Post high school I never got a gym membership. I did yoga here and there, but was never really committed to a work out regimen. On May 15, 2014 I turned 30 and my metabolism seemed to come to a halt.

Subsequently, I had to sign up for a gym membership and also bike and run more miles than I care to. There is a constant struggle with myself to get up and work out. Knowing that physical exercise will be necessary for the rest of my life to ensure heart health and to maintain a weight where I feel comfortable, bums me out.

I am confident that in a few years time, technology will advance to a point where we can purchase metabolism. Does that already exist? *logs on to Amazon Prime*

5. Realizing that you cannot hang like you used to

A few weeks ago I was out with friends. We had dinner and I had two cocktails. The next morning I had a hangover. Yes, you read that right, I had a hangover after a mere two cocktails. This liver ain’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when I could down half a pint of cheap Giorgi vodka and wake up at 7:30 am the next day for an 8 am sociology class.

My friends often tease me because I fall asleep at house parties usually around 10 pm. The sad part is sometimes these are house parties that I am hosting. When someone asks me to go out and they mention starting our night anytime after 9 pm, I am usually hesitant, and by hesitant I mean I will say no 90% of the time. I wish I could party likes its 1999 but those days are gone.

6. The end of friendships

As we age, we change. As our friends age, they change. The older we get the fewer friends we tend to have and not because of death but because we realize that we have outgrown friendships.

When we are in high school and college, having a friend to party and gossip with sometimes may constitute a fulfilling relationship. Once those days come to an end and life becomes more complex, we may need friends to ask for financial advice, career advice or relationship advice. Our party friends do not always necessarily morph into the mature friends that we need.

Sometimes the loss of friendship is painful. Sometimes there is a specific event that signifies the loss. Sometimes the friendships just fizzle out with no formal ending but no desire to rekindle that platonic love.

I have grown apart from many friends in the last five years and while the loss of some friendships has been painful, having fewer friends allows me to have deeper and stronger friendships.

7. Financial planning is real

Navigating the world of stocks, bonds, 401Ks, IRAs, blah blah blah. Who really wants to do that? I just want someone to give me an allowance, fill up my gas tank and keep it pushing.

I do not want to calculate how much money I need to save in the event I might live until I am 98. I do not enjoy watching social security payments coming out of my check knowing that the system will collapse by the time I reach retirement age. I do not know what the perfect mix of foreign bonds, commodities, and stocks is to ensure I have enough money to live on for 30 years without working.

I miss the days when I needed something and it only required that I go into my parents room and politely tell them how much I need for what. Now when I peruse J Crew’s website I have to think to myself, do I really need this? I still haven’t managed to control my spending on travel, but I keep promising myself that next month, I will put together a budget. Next month never comes. 🙁

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. Adulting hit hard in my 30s, transitioning from Martini Mondays to navigating work events and family responsibilities. B complex has been my energy lifeline, helping me stay sharp and focused even during hectic schedules. I highly recommend it to fellow professionals!

  2. Congratulations on traveling to every country in the world!!!
    You are so past being on the right path…You ARE the right path!!

    I love and respect every single thing you have accomplished.
    And being an adult…it’s so overrated. I’m 47 now. Two marriages, two kids, and countless jobs later, I’m just now figuring it out.

    Hugs from a fellow native Detroiter,

  3. I found your blog after reading the Bloomberg post and randomly selected this entry to read. (and BTW, stunning blog!). I’m 56 and find it incredulous that I should be this age, so your concerns at 33 seem charming to me. But your list is accurate and it just gets worse (except naps – you can still do naps, in fact, the need increases! its not a skill you lose as you age).

    But here’s the thing – when I was your age I followed your same path but w/out the text/social media/digital pub stuff. I’m here to tell you that you are not only doing all the right things, but because of it, you will NOT ever really excel at adulting. You can try, and probably will be able to bluff your way through, but the window on that has basically closed.

    Financial planning is fundamentally wise, but so is excessive spending on travel, so you’ve already mastered that.

    Pace yourself, do good deeds, eat well and bring a sweater wherever you go, whatever you do. Thats the best adult you need to be!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and for letting me know that I am on the right path! I love your tips. Pacing oneself is important and I often am doing toooooo much.

      Cheers to bluffing through adulting!

      1. I’m only reading this now – two years after you’ve published it. I’ve really enjoyed your post.

        I have a daughter your age and many of your comments resonate with what I’ve experienced myself and watched in her. At your age, parenthood was my new adventure. I took my child with me everywhere – and asked her about her thoughts and feelings about everything. Kids are a wonderful entertainment source and place to give and receive love. Yes, you lose your parents eventually, but the next gen will keep you hopping if you stay connected.

        I love the way you treat your adventures. I am sure you will treat your life changes like that, too.

        Middle adulthood is also an adventure. You gradually acquire limitations, but the family relations remain when the friendships have gone. If you have a great life partner, a long and comfortable friendship can also be there for you. Toward the end of my middle adulthood adventure, I started a PhD program after sending my daughter to college. It was a great way to keep busy and avoid being sad when the house was too quiet.

        Your final world adventure, if you are fortunate enough to have it will be Senior Adulthood. This one is not for sissies. Your arm can freeze up on you for no reason and your memories of how fast you can run or how much you can do will really no longer match what you can actually do. But! This, too, is a wonderful adventure, if you choose to make it one. In mine so far, I’ve enjoyed assisting with labor and delivery of a granddaughter — and learning a new language while visiting her in Japan. I was a world traveler when I was young – and so is my daughter. It’s made me a global citizen. And we have technology today to make Nanny visits easier across the ocean. Yes, I’ve lost many people in my life – my mother and sister are gone – and life is so different, but as I enter my seventh decade of life, I have great adventures with my daughter and granddaughter – and the friends I’ve made along the way. Even if I didn’t have my child, I think I’d find a young person in need and give this to them.

        When I was in my early 20s, I was an American Airman living in England. I joined the military to escape poverty and domestic violence. I met a woman who was born in the century before the last. She had had a blackout in a village square. The farmers standing around her thought she was “gone,” but I saw her hand reaching for the cane beside her. I helped her get to her flat and we became fast friends for the last 3 years of her life. We had such great adventures. We even flew across the Cotswolds in an ultralight hang glider and “took tea“ in a farmer’s field…until we saw him angrily waving his hands and climbing onto his tractor to come after us. She survived two world wars, an economic depression, and the loss of both of her boys – one in ‘33 to The Consumption (TB) and the other in ‘40 to a Nazi sniper. Her husband died a few years after that. I once asked her what kept her going. She said that after World War Two, she had no more children, so she took teenaged girls “under her wing” who’d lost their families during the London blitz. She called them “My Girls.” I actually met the Girls when they were in their 50s. She told me I was her Last Girl…and to always remember that “when God closes a door, He opens a window.” The effect of her love on my life has been immeasurable.

        I think you are wise to notice that Young Adulthood is over for you and that there are many changes in your life today. You can also use your tremendous optimism to generate a new reality for yourself in Middle Adulthood. You are very intelligent and accomplished in your life. You can do many different things now that you didn’t have the maturity to do when you were younger. Your life is your Great Adventure. Changes will always come – but so will opportunities. After all, “when God closes a door, He opens a window.” 😉

  4. Right! Sometimes I look at my son and hope it’s not to obvious that his moma just as lost as he is.

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