Becoming an adult sneaks up on you

IMAGE: Cropped edit of Spy vs Spy by Tony Fischer, from Flickr, licensed underCreative Commons

When you’re a child you never really think about growing up… When you’re a teen, you wish and hope with ALL of your might that you’ll grow up… When you hit the age of a legal adult, you know you’re NEVER going to.

Until you do. Kinda.

I’m 27 next week. On Monday. You’re hopefully celebrating a birthday this year. If not, my condolences to your loved ones in advance. I really hope you make it though. I’ve been dreading this day for a while. “Why,” you might be asking; “it’s only 27 — it’s not like 30 or anything — 30 is when you actually need to worry.” Sure — this might be true for a lot of people, but for me it’s 27. 27 is when I’ve realized and accepted that I’ve become an adult.

Becoming an adult (whenever it might happen) isn’t prefaced with any celebration — you don’t really know it’s coming, and you definitely won’t know unless you look. If you’re already there, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re not — you will. It’s insidious, it sneaks up on you while you’re watching the hockey game @ 1:00 in the morning because your team is playing on the west coast, and instead of play-by-play you’re listening to Muse. (True story). You start to realize it when your hangovers last two days, and you’d rather pyjamas and Chinese than “gallivanting,” or whatever the Boomers call it.

On your journey you learn a ton of little lessons — some of them easy, many of them hard, but all of them to prepare you for the transition. Some of these lessons you might not realize you’ve learned until some time after, some you learn instantly and both stick with you.

Some of the things I’ve learned on my journey are after the fancy dots.

The List

  1. If you hated your family growing up, you’re going to miss the shit out of them when you’re gone. Get back every chance you can. They won’t be around forever.
  2. Imagine that the person on the other end of the phone hates talking on the phone as much as you do. Show some empathy.
  3. No one gives a shit about you. You know that little thing you’re worrying about? Everyone else is worrying about their own shit, they don’t have the time or effort to worry about yours.
  4. You’re going to fuck shit up. Embrace it. Learn from it. Don’t do it again, and then kill the game. That’s how it works. You can’t win without losing.
  5. Do your dishes. Seriously. That shit smells.
  6. Don’t be afraid to yell at the TV when your team has an empty net, and is down by one… Or at Making a Murder when you ‘just can’t even.”
  7. Learn to even.
  8. Never, ever be afraid to say what you think. If someone is asking for your opinion, they mean it. This is your chance. If they’re not asking for your opinion, tell them anyway — you might teach them something new — or learn something yourself.
  9. Love, lose, love again. Rinse. Repeat.
  10. Don’t rinse and repeat when washing your hair. That’s just a waste, and a marketing ploy to sell more shampoo.
  11. Do what you love, but realize that what you love should have value. This one is important. The world only cares about what you can do for it — that might sound cynical, but the earlier you can grasp this, the earlier you’ll get ahead.
  12. Do the above, but pay the bills. Doing what you love still sucks when you can’t keep the lights on.
  13. That being said — at least once in your life you’ll hit up McDonalds, or some store and not be able to cover the bill. Everyone and their mother has at one time had their card declined. Don’t fret, don’t get upset. The person behind the till gets it.
  14. Believe
  15. Ask questions about things (like #14) that are vague.
  16. Don’t be too good for generic. No Name doesn’t suck. Unless it’s parmesan cheese, ketchup or Kraft Dinner.
  17. Never grow up (all the way). Enjoy pyjama days, and snowball fights. Drink too much, stay up too late and say things that get you in a little trouble.
  18. Take risks
  19. Work hard at #11
  20. Learn to organize lists better
  21. Do things in your 20s and 30s that give you memories that last a life time, instead of playing it safe and living till 90.
  22. Love yourself. Don’t chase love. Someone will see your worth if you see it.
  23. Wake up early. But sleep in sometimes. You have to #hustle, but on Sunday — it can wait until 10.
  24. Write lists about things you’ve learned and share them with others. Make someone smile, make someone think… Most of all, stretch your fingers. Everyone should write at least once.

The list above and my transition don’t need to be yours — that’s the super special thing about adulthood. Your path is your own, and you don’t have to measure up to anyone else. Your value is counted as an individual. It’s what YOU can do. So do it. Live, love, laugh — try too hard, but never not try enough. Consume cat gifs, regret Snapchats and live your life the way *you* want to. You’re an adult now, silly.

More shit you probably should know


ABL. Always be learning. If you’re not learning you’re wasting time. My employer is helmed by a man named Tobias Lütke, and one thing (out of a ton) that he’s spoken about is how if you’re learning something new, you’re putting your time to work FOR YOU. Time where you’re not improving or growing is time you could have spent building.

Be the green banana

A coworker of mine Fabien Mouvet wrote an excellent piece here.

He speaks about it better than I do — so read it.


If you can’t find an opportunity: Make one.