7 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became An Adult

I've seen a lot of blog posts and articles on the Internet about topics like "things I wish I knew before I started college" and "20 lessons I learned in 20 years." And my 24-year-old, college-graduate self is given no new information. Meanwhile, my first two years of living in the "real world" have thrown me all sorts of surprises that leave me grumbling, "why doesn't anyone tell us about this?! Why are all new adults left to figure this stuff out on our own?!" Because honestly, college is school. It never really felt like my world was completely different; there was a big transition, sure, but you still have all sorts of resources available if you need help. But becoming an "adult" is a whole different ballgame that I went into feeling completely unprepared. So here's some wisdom I wish I'd had before I graduated college.

1. You spent your whole life taking your mom's cooking for granted. My mom cooked dinner for my family every night, and it was always really good. That was normal. I never really thought too much of it. But now that I'm an "adult" and I have to do it myself??? GOOD JOKE. When I come home from work, all I want to do is get into my pajamas, eat and go inert on the couch. What's all this "cooking" nonsense? You mean I have to spend money on ingredients? And then, like, take the time to make them into something edible? And then wash the dishes and wipe down the counters before I can even enjoy what I cooked? Get outta here. I'll just make myself a pot of pasta and reheat leftovers for the rest of the week.

2. Sitting in a cubicle all day? Exhausting. In college, I spent all day running between classes and my job and my internship and my friends' apartments and various meetings and the food court and and and... so I was expecting my first real, full day in an office to be a complete piece of cake. But after my first day at USA Volleyball, it was all I could do to drag myself from my room to the dining hall to eat dinner. I was SO. TIRED. Guys. Cube life ain't easy. Running around is exhausting. Being sedentary is exhausting. Life is exhausting. So just go to bed earlier, please.

3. Friday nights are for sleeping, not partying. (Are we noticing a sleep theme here?) Granted, I was never a partier in college, so maybe you wild things still want to hit the town after a long week of work. You do you, friends. But me? I get progressively more and more tired as the week goes on, so by the time Friday rolls around I'm in bed by 9:30. (Note: that's around two hours earlier than I go to bed on a weeknight. PARTY HARD.) And for the most part, the people I know are the same way. There might be a happy hour right after work, but more often than not, people are ready to get home and unwind. And even if you are the kind of person that wants to go partying, the "every Friday and Saturday night" lifestyle really isn't sustainable.

4. Ramen is definitely still a thing. It's a "broke college student" stereotype for a reason: it's super cheap. But now I'm a slightly-less-broke non-student, and Ramen is still a fairly regular player in my life. Why? It's still super cheap, AND it's super easy. If I'm looking for a dinner option I can have ready in less than 10 minutes, I make some Ramen, beat an egg and stir it in (bonus points: get a few splashes of hot sauce in there), and I've got a poor man's egg drop soup. Really fast, really tasty, and the whole thing costs like zero dollars. Pair that with a salad. Boom. You're welcome.

5. Nothing is guaranteed. I spent my whole life thinking that, after high school, I'd go to college and graduate with a job, and that would be that. LOL, the joke was on me. I graduated college with an internship (barely. Nothing like some last-minute plans!), and figured that I'd definitely finish my internship with a job offer. LOL, more jokes. I moved home, and then moved right back out here for a temporary job and thought, "when this one ends I'll DEFINITELY have found a permanent job already." HAHA, false. I was unemployed for a month and a half before finding yet another temporary position. That old idea of getting a job and working at one company for the rest of your life? Completely dated, my friends. For the most part, at least in the field I'm in, it just doesn't work that way. I once read somewhere that the sports industry isn't like climbing a ladder, it's like climbing a jungle gym. But as long as you're growing, challenging yourself and gaining experience, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm not quite where I thought I'd be by now, but I sort of like this weird, winding road I'm on. Appreciate the journey.

Me after getting my first temporary USOC ID badge! I'm currently on my fourth.

6. You're going to learn a whole lot about yourself. I had a great handle on who I was when I left college (and have always been pretty blessed with a completely solid sense of self and personal intuition). But something about the "real world" and the work environment threw everything into sharp relief. I now know I'm the most introverted person on the planet, and all those weekends in high school when I just wanted to stay home were because five days of nonstop social stimulation exhausted the crap out of me. I know that I work a million times better and more efficiently when I have a deadline. I know that I'm not that person that can wake up and immediately be productive; I need to ease into my day. I know how to make myself happy. And, most importantly, I know how to handle myself. Throw me into any situation and I know I'll figure out how to be just fine.

7. Nobody ever really knows what they're doing. I figured that at some point I'd eventually start to feel like I'm not just faking my way through life. But then my parents let me in on a secret: everyone feels like they're faking it. My parents said they still don't really know what they're doing, but they just have more practice than I do. WHAT. My whole life is a lie. Here I was, feeling inadequate and waiting to feel like a real grown-up, but apparently that is a thing that doesn't exist. This blew my mind. So if you're trying to do the adulting thing and feel like there's some big secret you missed out on... don't. Everyone else is as lost as you are.

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  1. Love this so much! Oh my gosh when I was younger I really thought that I'd have it figured out by 25 and now I still feel 20 - still kind of poor and not figured things out at all! And it's so true how a cubicle life is exhausting - and also fattening sadly!

  2. This speaks volumes! It literally encapsulates my entire experience of growing up during university and outside of it too. I think there's this idea that you really grow up during university, but it's truly just the start. Life is a learning curve, that just never truly stops. Brilliant post with such truth!

    With Love, Fatema | creativeinthearts.blogspot.co.uk

  3. Friday nights ideally are quiet nights for me too! When I was working an office job that was non-negotiable but now I'm a bit more lenient as I'm in control of my schedule. Regardless though I totally enjoy unwinding that night, sometimes with a movie, sometimes with a book, but pretty much always with a glass of wine ;)