Please Stop Talking About Not Knowing How To “Adult,” It’s Embarrassing

I’m not going to sit here and chastise anybody for not having an effortless flow of knowledge about home maintenance, traditional French cooking and career development by 25. Nobody is saying that you have to have everything figured out. Nobody is even saying that you have to have a whole lot figured out. But as the most educated generation in history, we can do better than laughing about not knowing how to complete basic tasks.

When one of our longest running jokes is that we don’t know how to “adult” (lol!) we can’t sit around and bemoan older people who stereotype us as lazy and selfish.

… Because in some ways, we are lazy and selfish.

Being an adult is not hard. You know what’s hard? Dealing with a parent who has a terminal illness. Being bullied for 12 years of your young life. Losing your spouse a year after you married them. Losing your child before they’re born. Never finding a spouse or having a child when you want those things. Learning you have cancer.

And these things happen, all the time, every day, to everyone, at every age.

It’s humiliating to keep talking about how we don’t know how to be grown ups (which is code for “be able to complete simple tasks and exist as functioning members of society.”) And it’s embarrassing because the world is designed for idiots. There are thousands, if not millions, of people with half the education, a fourth of the opportunity and an incalculably small degree of intelligence who likewise have to file taxes, get cars repaired, pay bills, navigate travel, and cook. And you know what? They do.

Your 20s are the decade in which you should pride yourself on what you learn. Now is the time to figure out how have responsibility. There’s probably a correlation between the degree to which we feel insecure, and the degree to which we seem to just want to throw our hands in the air and laugh about how hard it is to be a real person.

You know why we feel generally like we’re too far behind in life? Because we are, and not in the own-a-business-millionaire-by-27-fairytale-love-by-29-overcompensate-for-our-anxiety kind of way.

In the basic grown up kind of way.