How to Become an Adult

older-people-the-web1Quick story: My toilet broke and my dude friend had to take me to Lowe’s to point out what part I needed to buy. The item in question was called a “shank washer,” and, through some kind of great cosmic misfortune, the brand that made it was Ballcock. Put those two phrases together and you get comic genius. I, a thirty-year-old editor, was giggling for the rest of the day, so much so that my buddy decided to leave me at the hardware store.

I’m in no way harping on folks who have the sense of humor of a prepubescent boy. But the ability to break out in maniacal laughter after someone says the word “balls” is an indication of stunted growth. Real grownups surely wouldn’t snicker at some saccharine term for the male genitalia.

Gen Y has been dubbed the unabashedly coddled, microwave-dependent and entirely too selfish generation. And we are! We totally and undeniably are a bunch of adult infants waddling around with our flies down and our heads up our asses.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn how to figure out this thing known as “adulting.” Here are a few things I’ve learned about being a grownup along the way.

Credit Card Debt

I took myself on a vacation to Mexico while I was in college, all paid for by Mr. Mastercard. I drank fruity adult beverages with tiny umbrellas while hot, semi-naked cabana boys fanned me with palm leaves. Seven years later, I am still paying for that fucking trip.

The Aesop fable? Pay your debts.

Tell the Truth

Do you want to know why 70% of Americans are “depressed?” It’s probably because a.) They’re married to somebody that they hate; b.) They’ve been slaving away at a job that they could care less about for way too long; c.) Their friends suck.

Being honest with yourself and others is one of the easiest ways to live a happy life. Don’t cheat on your boyfriend. I mean, why would you? Are you a giant sniveling piece of chicken shit who’s using him as a scratching post for your own loneliness? Just dump him and the next thing you know, you could be naked on all fours in a cabin in Aspen with Ryan Gosling.

Living with Significant Others

Just don’t do it. Ever. You’ll end up with the cat that they just had to have or else they’d die. And believe me, cats are the worst parting gifts ever. It’s 10-20 years of having to live with a creature that hates you.

Friends

The older you get, the less effort you’ll put into making friends. By the time you’re in your late 20’s, you basically know who you want to keep on Friendship Island and who you want to kick off. So be sure to start picking your tribe wisely.

Travel

Many things have gone wrong while I was traveling. I’ve been robbed.  I also had a French guy vomit in my suitcase and passed out in the bed of a Russian stripper. But all of these add up to awesome stories you’ll want to share with everyone in the end.

Before you’re tied down to a career or kids, dive headfirst into this big, bad lonely planet to gain some perspective.

Boundaries

If you’re the kind of person who thinks it’s totally okay to trade dick pics with a married woman or bail your friend out of prison for the fourth time, you definitely need to learn a little thing called boundaries. These imaginary lines in the sand will come in handy in regards to your self-respect and intrinsic worth.

A Dog is Good Practice for a Baby

If you want to see if you’re up for the challenge of reproducing, puppy-sit your buddy’s dog for a weekend. Watch all of your carefree time watching YouTube videos on how to communicate with zebras circle the drain. Become comfortable with the fact that you have to clean up another being’s huge, warm pile of shit. Remember that you need to come home early from the bar and you can’t go home with Mr. Tall Dark & Handsome because you need to let the dog out.

Going Out

The need to be a mover and shaker 24/7, do things in public and document those things on 23 different social-networking sites is overwhelming, especially in your 20’s. As human beings, we have a huge desire to be accepted by the pack and fit in. And if that means a night of heavy binge drinking while listening to some awful Bauhaus cover band while goth kids are grumpily hula-hooping, then so be it.

Facebook

One of the most important things to learn is that nobody’s life is as fantastic as the way it appears on the internet. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all self-indulgent mini-me websites that only document the fun and exciting times in a person’s life. I mean, nobody is going to tweet about how they just got stood-up or Instagram a picture of their face during a menstrual-cramp session.

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