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The 5 Stages Of Coming To Terms With Adulthood In Your Early Twenties

A cycle of confusion, frustration and happy hour at TGI Friday's.

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1. Denial / Via

A $50 phone case with built in lights to make your selfies literally LIT? Yaaaas queen! A spontaneous road trop to Vegas? So edgy! Harry Potter themed flasks from etsy?? Accio the vodka bro! Who cares about student loans and insurance payments and rent? NOT YOU!

You're ~young~!! Everyone is telling you that your early twenties is the only time in your life when you can take risks and experiment so you're allowed to go crazy! Sure you're technically an adult in the eyes of the government. An individual who has real responsibilities with real consequences to your actions but you're not thinking about that right now. You're going to order pizza for dinner for the third time this week and stay up until 5am watching Netflix.

2. Anger (but really Fear)


Soon it gets harder and harder to answer "How's the job search coming along?" or "My coworker's daughter, who's the same age as you, got engaged this past weekend! Are you seeing anyone?" questions without bitterness seeping into your answers. You look on Facebook to see that one of you're friends has somehow started a new life in Germany and you don't even know how credit works.

Your mind starts going in circles as you attempt to be a functioning adult without the help of your family or friends. How do people pay their student loans AND rent AND bills AND manage to have more than $5 left to get them through to the next pay period?? No one taught you how to deal this and now you're expected to figure it all out yourself. You ask other adultier adults for help but they give you vague platitudes to "not worry" because "it will all work out." Your confusion turns into fear which turns into anger.

"NO ONE TOLD ME IT WAS GOING TO BE LIKE THIS!" you shout at the top of your lungs terrified at the thought of the unknown. The adultier adults just smile and shake their heads while chuckling to themselves. Their dismissal of your worries enrages you further.

You don't completely snap until an older relative passive aggressively sends you a thinkpiece about how entitled millennials are.

3. Bargaining


At this point you act as you did back in your Denial phase but with a little more self awareness. Now when you drunkenly scream #YOLO the ironic edge is replaced with apprehension. You stop blaming others for not warning you about this shit and become introspective, realizing that time is fleeting and all of us truly Only Live Once. You listen to old theme songs from children's shows you used to watch. You buy food that you always wanted to eat when you were a kid but your parents never let you try. You message old friends from high school to hang out and try to capture a hint of what your teenage self used to feel at the time.

You also begin to consider alternative ways to lessen the amount of responsibility you have in your life while maintaining the illusion of being a productive adult in society. Like going to grad school or teaching English abroad.

4. Depression

LMAO YOU PLAYED YOURSELF! You can't handle this at all so you just lay down and accept the inevitable. Who are you kidding? Your inner child is dead and you're an adult that has no idea what they're doing. Soon you'll be using old slang and the current terms will elude you. You already use outdated memes and it takes you a little too long to find out what the newest, trendiest ones are (thanks to the Ellen Show).

You see someone wearing white Vans and the "Damn Daniel" slips out before you can stop it. They look at you in disgust. A part of you dies a little inside.

5. Acceptance / Via

One day you wake up and feel... fine. Your car insurance bill is due and you're freaking out about it but a friend invited you to a cool ice cream exhibit next weekend so it kind of balances out. You decide that you're going drink a mimosa for breakfast because you can and no one can stop you. You do this while you Google how to get lipstick stains out a shirt because it's laundry day.

Congratulations, you've reached adulthood nirvana. You know that things aren't perfect and they never will be but you've learned to find happiness in the little things. You're okay with not knowing where life will take you and figuring it all out as you go along. Sure bad things still happen but it's not as earth-shattering as it once was. This is what those adultier adults meant by things working out and soon you too will have that smug look on your face as you interact with youths starting on their journey.

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