1. Being able to drink at airport bars.
And on planes, and trains, and really anything involving transportation. Sure, you knew when you turned 21 that the world was now your (booze-soaked) oyster, but there is really no sensation quite like hearing your flight’s delayed and being able to knock back an overpriced Sam Adams instead of fighting fellow passengers for the only outlet at your gate.
2. Buying WHATEVER YOU WANT at the drugstore.
It used to be wicked boring to go as a kid (medicine UGH toilet paper UGH UGH) but now it’s a treasure trove of products you never knew you needed. Drawback: Razor blade cartridges cost roughly as much as a midsize sedan.
3. Buying WHATEVER YOU WANT at the grocery store.
Three boxes of cookies? Five different types of cheese? They’re yours, boo. (Until you hit your credit limit, because it turns out that fancy cheddar is the razor blade cartridge of the grocery store world.)
4. Eating WHATEVER YOU WANT for dinner.
Breakfast 4 dinner 4 life.
5. …But also having the resources/wherewithal to (sometimes) make good healthy meals.
A big part of growing up is realizing how good it feels to stop and listen to your body every once in a while. (Even if it’s screaming “STOP STUFFING ME FULL OF SNICKERS, YOU ASSHOLE.”)
6. And the desire to share those meals with your friends.
Dinner parties own regular parties.
7. Slowly but surely figuring out what you want, sex-wise, and how to ask for it.
Way less thrashing around like a mute pair of eels and way more “yes yes keep doing that hmm OK maybe not quite ahhh yes that.”
Actually, this goes for all of life, not just sex, but sex is rad, so.
8. And needing way less validation from the people you’re attracted to.
Yes Mark Darcy that is correct.
9. Getting to have a space that’s just yours.
Even if that space is absolutely tiny, you can still make it look exactly how you want. (As long as you spackle over the holes before/if you have to move out.)
10. Experiencing the tiny thrill of satisfaction that comes from completing a boring but necessary grown-up task.
This living thing isn’t so hard after all! you think, before realizing you have three hours before you’re supposed to wake up and reenter the world.
11. And experiencing the resounding thud that there are no merit badges for going about the everyday business of being a person.
Even if you managed to schedule a teeth cleaning and a haircut for the same day WITHOUT MISSING WORK.
12. Getting to go out on a Tuesday and be in bed by 8:30 on a Friday.
If you so choose to go out, which you may not, which is wonderful too.
13. Knowing which karaoke songs you sound great on and which you should just leave alone.
(The karaoke bar in question might be your shower.)
14. Even if you never considered yourself a “math person,” realizing you actually have a baseline understanding of personal finance.
It’s like someone just injected the knowledge of 401(k)s vs. IRAs into your brain while you were sleeping (and if not, there’s always time to learn).
15. Realizing that you value solo, unscheduled time more than life itself.
Whether it’s a job, kids, projects, or anything else that occupies you, getting to spend one glorious evening not worrying about it is the actual best.
16. And finding yourself doing activities that you never thought you’d love to do alone.
It’s way easier to get one seat at the bar than a whole table in a crowded restaurant, and same goes for A+ last-minute seats at the movies.
17. Learning that being an adult isn’t amassing a collection of markers, but an ongoing process.
Growing up, it can seem like what you’re supposed to do is get a job, get a home, get people to surround yourself with, and that was that. The getting is the thing. It’s not clear that you don’t have to get any of those things, or that once you get them you actually have to DO them, or that they might look drastically different from what you imagined, or that they could all change. You could change! Great. Excellent. Keep doing that.
18. Enjoying Brussels sprouts.
They’re actually mad good. Who knew?