All My Friends Are Getting Married and I’m Still Eating Chicken Nuggets

What even is adulthood?

As I grow older into this “not a teen but certainly not an adult” phase of my life, things only get more and more confusing. This is not your standard “hit-11-here-comes-puberty,” or “hit-18-buy-your-first-lottery-ticket-slash-cigarette.” Everyone is taking 19-24/25 at incredibly different paces. Honestly it’s a little frightening. Here are just a few things I’ve noticed are significantly…varied.

1) Housing

Some kids are in dorms. Some are in apartments. Some are at home. Some are probably homeless. And we’re all reaching these milestones at very different times (maybe except for the homeless thing.) For example, I know kids that got their own place right after high school graduation. Some went to dorms, like I did, and moved off-campus their sophomore year. Some people didn’t get apartments/their own place until 22/23. I’m not saying one way is right, or better, or anything like that. But it’s weird seeing your twenty-four-year-old ex-coworker buying their first place as you sit in your first place…at eighteen.

2) Relationships

Why in the hell are some of these kids married? Okay, wait, that sounds really harsh. I don’t mean it like that; if you’re happy and in love and want to get married, great. That’s fantastic. Congrats. But we were dipping chicken nuggets into our mashed potatoes in the cafeteria what feels like just a little while ago. I so often see photos of people I knew in high school getting married, getting pregnant, celebrating their kids’ birthdays, etc. Meanwhile, I’m watching American Beauty alone, eating dry Froot-Loops in my Batman pajamas, resisting the urge to go back on Tinder. (If you’re single, never get on it. You’re welcome.) Do you notice any inconsistencies?

3) Socializing

Okay, I don’t even care if I sound mean: some of you guys went insane. You got three minutes of freedom and you whip out the fake I.D. To be honest, I like partying just as much as the average person. But when I’m living in a dorm and you wake me up at four A.M. because you drunkenly tried to open the wrong door? You very likely have a problem. You’re also breaking the law, but I’m not gonna snitch on you. I’ll let you do that on your own when you pass out on the quad.

Please balance work and fun. You don’t have to drink to have a good night. Eat some ice cream. Watch a bad movie on purpose. Lay outside with your friends and tell them your dreams. I don’t know. Just do me and your liver a favor and lay off on the margaritas.

4) Interaction With Other Adults

I’m talking real adults. Established jobs, a spouse, the whole shebang. This is especially prevalent to me in university where, yes, my T.A. may only be four or five years older than me, but I still feel the need to call them “sir” or “ma’am.” It’s a difficult time when your generation is becoming people of authority and you’re unsure if you have to treat them as such. Another would be talking to older people—some of my peers talk to professors like they’re best friends. They’re totally comfortable, feel equal, and share a mutual respect as adults. I’m still sending e-mails because I’m too scared to piss them off. Yes, we’re all adults here, but you’re still teaching me. Where can I draw the line?

So while we all struggle in this odd stage of post-adolescence pre-adulthood, let’s remember just that. We’re all struggling. I don’t care how established you are. It took a hell of a lot to get there, didn’t it? So be kind to one another; don’t let your friend do something super stupid if you can help it. Motivate one another to get that essay done, or work through that final hour of their shift. We’re all in this together, and yes, please feel free to sing that aloud. Your peers will join in.

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