The 20 Hardest Things About Getting Older No One Ever Talks About

I’ll be real with you guys: I love being an adult (even though that still feels weird to say). My high school experience was not great, and while my last two years of college were a ton of fun, it wasn’t until I hit my 20s that I really started to get to know myself and feel comfortable with my life. I love being old enough to make my own decisions and set my own curfew. But I won’t lie: getting older is really hard, and there are a lot of things about it I wish I knew beforehand. Or, you know, wish I listened to beforehand, because truthfully I was warned about some of these things and chose not to pay attention.

Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college, you should heed these warnings about getting older. Some of them won’t really affect you until you’ve graduated college with a degree in your hands (or lost in your bedroom somewhere because honestly, what are you supposed to do with it?). But others will start to affect you sooner. Personally, my parents gave me a tremendous amount of help, and they actually still do, so I was sort of sheltered from the harsh realities of life for a long time. Many parents don’t do this though, and younger people are forced into those realities much earlier in life.

There are so many great things about being an adult, which I feel I should point out, because this list might feel a little negative. But knowing the positives aren’t going to prepare you for the tougher things! Here are the 20 hardest things about getting older that no one ever talks about: 

1. You’re forced to act mature in situations when you really don’t want to.

sticking tongue out

When you’re an adult and your “friend” does something crappy that makes you feel horrible, you’re supposed to talk to out privately. In reality all you REALLY want to do is sub-tweet about them and maybe be mean to them in public, but if you do that, everyone will call you immature and then they become the victim and that stinks. And let me tell you guys, being mature when you’re furious at someone is… not easy. It’s not easy.


2. Despite the fact that no one ever taught you about it (probably), you have to figure out all the money stuff on your own.


I truly do not understand why colleges don’t offer some sort of money management course. How are you supposed to know how to do your own taxes? Why isn’t anyone teaching us what a 401K is? How do you suddenly go from having your parents handle your money to successfully saving it on your own? WTF?!?!?!


3. You have to act happy for people when you are not happy for them.


This happens ALL THE TIME when you’re an adult. A friend gets the job you’ve always wanted. Three friends get engaged with giant rings while you’re still single. A friend travels the world while you’re stuck in the same old town, bored out of your mind. And in every situation, you have to grit your teeth and coo, “I’m soOoOoOoOooo happy for you!” You cannot be bitter and rude and sulk in your room. I mean, you CAN do that, but you have to do it in the privacy of your own home, after you’ve successfully convinced your friend you are thrilled for them and all of their success that you deserve.


4. Unless you’re a teacher, summer breaks disappear. Forever.


The absolute best thing about being in school is the time off. You don’t realize how good it is until you don’t have it anymore. At least when you’re sitting in class, stressed, you can think, “I have X days until I get a three month break.” When you’re an adult with a full-time job (and you don’t work in a school), you can’t think that. You can think, “I have X days until I have one day off.” It is not the same.


5. You lose a lot of your friends.

lauren conrad gif

One of the saddest things about getting older is that you really do lose a lot of friends. Some of that happens in messy, dramatic ways, but more often than not, it happens quietly and without real reason. You don’t have time in your life for all of the people you once had time for, and they’re in the same situation, and cuts just happen. It’s a bummer.


6. And you very rarely see the ones you have left.

winnie the pooh

When I was in college, I imagined that, as adults, my friends and I would be together almost every day, having sleepovers and making meals. But when you’re actually an adult, that usually doesn’t happen. You guys are really busy! You’re lucky if you get to see each other once a week, never mind once a day!


7. Your social life is not what you imagined because you are always tired and lazy.

no social life

I also used to imagine that my social life as an adult would be like Carrie Bradshaw’s in Sex and The City (didn’t we all?). This is not true. Full-time jobs are tiring, and on top of that, you have to deal with responsibilities that are equally and sometimes more tiring. By the end of a long week, you usually want nothing more than to relax in bed. And more often than not, your weekend days turn into running errands rather than hanging out.


8. You’re basically pretending you know what you’re doing when you actually have no idea what you’re doing.

adult life

If you think adults have things figured out, you’re wrong. Most of us don’t. We literally don’t know what we’re doing, and we’re just learning along the way. We’re just really good at pretending!


9. Being a bridesmaid is not easy. 


I don’t know about you guys, but I spent a long time feeling excited to be someone’s bridesmaid. I have been and I am right now, and although I honestly do love being a bridesmaid, it is hard. Getting along with a group of girls, some of whom you don’t know, is difficult. Making decisions is a struggle. It’s VERY expensive and time-consuming. I personally think it’s worth it to be able to stand by your friend on one of her happiest days ever, but still… the journey is tough.


10. At some point, you find yourself feeling grumpy about what younger kids are doing and then you don’t know who you are.


No matter what you say, yes you WILL become the adult who is like, “Can you kids stop making all that darn noise?!” It happens to the best of us. I get annoyed by it too, and then I spend a lot of time reminding myself of what it was like when I was that age, and so I try not to say anything. TRY TO DO THAT.


11. Making friends is close to impossible.


Ugh, guys, it’s so hard to make friends when you’re a grown up. When you’re younger, almost everyone wants new friends and they’re not afraid to show it. And between school and activities and part-time jobs and being surrounded by people your age, it’s so easy to meet people. When you’re adult, you only have that at your job. Sometimes you have awesome co-workers who you really do want to be friends with (I’m lucky enough to have that), but more often than not, co-workers are not friend material… and so when the job is over, you fall apart.


12. You realize that many jobs are basically grown-up versions of high school.

im scared gif

When you graduate high school, you’re like, “OMG ugh, I’m so happy that I am finally done with high school and this horrible social structure and I never have to deal with it again.” And then maybe college is better about that, but then once you’re back in the real world… I hate to say it, but many jobs become like a grown-up version of high school. It sucks.


13. You’re in charge of the food you eat and it is not as great as you thought it would be.

microwave gif

When your parents are no longer handling your meals and grocery shopping, you have two options. One, shun cooking and live off takeout which, damn, gets expensive fast and isn’t even good for you. Two, learn how to cook and make your own stuff, which, damn, takes so much time and also gets expensive fast. It’s very time consuming.


14. You find out things about your family you never wanted to know.

new girl gif

As a kid, your parents and other family members most likely hide you from the crappy stuff, which is nice. But then when you’re older no one cares and you start to see it. And sometimes it’s really not fun.


15. You have weird moments where you think a new celebrity is really hot and then you realize they’re, like, 16 and that’s illegal.


One time I saw a very good-looking celebrity and then I realized he wasn’t born when I was in high school, and it was uncomfortable.


16. You realize your parents were right about a lot of stuff, which isn’t really a great feeling.


Okay, so first of all, one of the best things about growing up is that your parents become your friends, which is such a nice change. But second, this also makes you realize that they were right about a lot of things you used to fight them on, which, A, makes you feel guilty, and B, makes you feel furious.


17. When you have a serious problem, there is only so much your parents can do to help.


Speaking of parents… remember how they used to help you get through messes? How, if a teacher was being crazy, they could call the school and fix things? How they could talk to your doctor for you? So, when you’re in college, your professor will literally cry from laughing if you get your parents involved in something. And as an adult, your name goes on things, and people will ONLY talk to you. Not your mom.


18. People expect you to know things and… you don’t.

not wise gif

Like I said, adults don’t know what they’re doing. But for some reason, other adults like to think that other adults know what they’re doing. And so everyone expects you to just know things, and you don’t, but you have to act like you do. This sounds complicated because it is.


19. You realize literally no one cares about the grades you once worked so hard for.


There are only certain jobs that care about your grades. Most jobs don’t. This means everything you worked for seems like it was for nothing. I still think pushing yourself in school is good practice for life, but it is definitely an annoying realization.


20. You spend a lot of time wondering when you’re going to feel like an adult.

chloe moretz

Does ANYONE out there feel like an adult? Because I do not.


Which of these things have you experienced? What surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

20 Harsh Truths Grown-Ups Won’t Tell You About College

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  • Tartanthistle

    I’m going to be 49 this year, I still don’t feel like an adult.