When you are young, (and stupid) you can’t wait to grow up. Every single day of your young life is an inch closer to freedom and adulthood. You dream of the days where you no longer live under your parents’ roof and rule. Someday you will be out in the big, wide world, traveling, partying, living your dreams out in sunny California or in the Big Apple. Maybe once you’re fully grown you will spread those new wings and soar across the world seeing sights that once only existed for you in the pages of books.

Eventually, you will realize that adulting is none of those things. Being an adult is hard, exhausting, and not fun at all. Congrats kids, you have made it to the promised land of bills, weight gain, and dark circles under your eyes. Here are some ways you will know that you have indeed entered adulthood:

You know you are officially an adult when…

You have a job.  You are not traveling the world snapping pictures of amazing sights and selling them in some fantasy realm where you become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. You are not the VP of Cosmo or the pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. You work retail; you hang on the lowest rung of the ladder in your advertising firm; you are a first-year teacher making pennies; you work twelve hours shifts at a hospital; you pay so much money in taxes that upon your first “real” paycheck you think this deduction is either a cruel joke or a massive mistake. It is a bit of both actually.

Meeting your own needs comes last… way last… like, after feeding the cats and scooping animals feces, last.  Your status as the center of the universe has imploded, and now you are an adult here in the real world. You are not special. There are pets to care for, a house to maintain, bills to pay, obligations at work that must be met and maybe even a spouse and kids to attend to 24-7. You don’t matter. Your mom isn’t walking through the bedroom door to ask you if you want a grilled cheese sandwich. No one cares if you eat, shower, or sleep. Welcome to the world of selflessness. Now go walk your dog and mow your lawn.

You can no longer skip carbs at a few meals and lose ten pounds. You are an adult now and losing five pounds becomes just about as difficult as learning to fly. All of a sudden everyone you know is in some sort of “bootcamp.” Bikinis are more likely to be used to wash windows. Adulthood will wreck that bikini body. Stress, late work hours, birthing tiny humans, feeding the tiny humans – all of these stages that you will pass through as you embrace adulthood will move you further and further from the bikini bod of yesteryear. Welcome to the age of the one piece.

11 pm is late as f**k and hangovers are brutal. You will know you have crossed into adulthood when you look at the clock, read that the time is 11:31, and fly into a panic dreading the thought of trying to function tomorrow. At 11 pm adults turn into grumpy pumpkins. In the event that you do stay up waaaaaaay past your bedtime and consume alcohol please know that you are going to feel the effects of this ill decision for days, maybe weeks. You are no longer able to wake up after a long night of partying, throw back a few glasses of water and some aspirin and carry on with your day. Cancel all of your plans for the next 48 hours, stupid.

You have to buy your own groceries. You schlep out to the supermarket once a week, load up your cart, spend way too much money and then you have to unload it and cook it all at some point. The whole mundane process is a total slap in the grown up face. If your mother no longer comes to your apartment on a Sunday afternoon to take you to Costco and pay for thirty boxes of Ramen Noodles… Surprise! You are a grown up!

Bills, bills, bills. If no one pays your rent or mortgage, your car insurance, health insurance, phone and internet bills or any bill for that matter, then you are probably an adult now. You are also really broke and probably pissed because there really is no solid preparation for this adulthood blow. You’re working harder than you ever imagined, living frugally and have about thirty extra bucks a week for spending. This is the grown up world now, and it is cruel.

Here are some other adulthood honorable mentions worth noting:

  • You spend a quarter of your life in a vehicle of some sorts commuting to and from work or carting tiny humans around town.
  • You social life is sad. Really sad.
  • You miss your parents… a lot.
  • You eat Kale, drink Kombucha and take a daily multivitamin.
  • Suddenly you realize that you can no longer shop at Forever 21, Aeropastale, and American Eagle.
  • You prioritize drinking water over drinking vodka.
  • You consider your pets to be your babies and you treat them as such.
  • You wake up one day and realize that you are just about half way to death.

Happy adulting guys!  Now go forth, find some youngster who thinks they have things so bad.