When I was in school, I could not wait to enter the "real world," where I wouldn't have to take any more tests or write any more long research papers about things no one cares about anymore or sit through 90-minute discussions about early American literature or Irish poetry or the origin of the English language. I think it was a "the grass is always greener on the other side" mindset. Everyone dreams of being somewhere besides where they are. And for a lot of people not yet graduated, that somewhere is adulthood.
There ought to be a manual: a hardcover waterproof collection of diagrams and instructions on tackling the things you never even though about when you lived with your parents.
- Insurance. For everything. And it's not cheap.
- Relocation. Get used to not seeing your friends or family except for a few times a year.
- Bills. You'll learn real quick to stop taking long showers.
- Correcting bills. Stand up for yourself and call customer service when companies inevitably overcharge you.
- Appointments. Yes, you still need to go to the dentist. But your mom won't call and set up the appointment for you anymore. I used to hate doing this, but it's okay now.
- Responsibility. Being an adult means you're held to a higher standard. Follow through and own up.
- Big decisions. Finding a job, buying a house, making a budget, choosing benefits.
- Meeting people. When you move to a new city, you get to start over with making friends. And suddenly you wish your parents had moved around a lot when you were a kid so you'd have experience at starting new relationships.
- Cooking. I miss my parents' cooking. I'm not a great cook. My meals are lame, like cereal or homemade burritos eaten standing up. So, if a Nashville family wants to adopt me I think I would benefit from a quality meal every now and then.
- Marriage and kids. Blip, blip, blip ... Nope, that one's not even on my radar yet.
- Lots of little tasks. Getting your tag renewed on your vehicle every year, becoming a resident of another state, shopping around for the best insurance, maintaining a house (cleaning, yard work, appliance care), dealing with your car when it breaks down on you, and much more.
Some of the "real world" stories you hear as a child are true. You actually can eat ice cream for breakfast and stay up as late as you want. Except when you know you have to get up at 5 a.m. for work and your metabolism has slowed, you won't.
I don't hate adulthood, and I don't necessarily miss being a kid. I just think it's not quite what I expected. It's a little better than what I expected. But no one tells you everything. There is no manual. I came to Nashville and had to just start figuring things out myself. But some things I can't figure out, so I keep my parents on speed dial.
You mean I have 55 more years of this?