30 Bitter Truths About Adult Life That We Weren’t Prepared For As Teens

“For me it’s watching my parents get old.

As a teenager I thought they were all about keeping me restricted and controlled. Now I realize they’re just two people who never had a kid before, did the best they knew how, and f@#ked up at times like all other humans on the planet.

I never realized how much I needed them emotionally until I saw my father through his open heart surgery, and saw Parkinson’s take my mother’s independence.

So here I am still feeling like a teenager on the inside, staring down the barrel of 50, wondering what the hell happened.”

“Planning dinner every damn night.”


“You don’t fundamentally change, you are still you, even if you are older. It’s the same you, you just need to survive in the adult world.

You don’t gain adult powers, you just have to do adult things.”

“You can do whatever you want, but most of the time you either have commitments that prevent it, or you can’t afford it.”

“One day your body will betray you.”


“You are always cleaning the kitchen”

“Being lonely. Making friends as an adult is difficult, sometimes verging on impossible. You don’t see people in your age group who are doing the same things you are every day anymore.”

“You come home from work and you’re tired and if you don’t feel like making dinner, then you’re not eating dinner.”

“The repetition makes you lose time. Having the same job, workout regimen, schedule in general makes days blend into one another”

“When something goes wrong or something unexpected happens, there’s no one else to deal with it.

Plugged toilet? You gotta clear it.

Car outta gas? You gotta fill it.

Run out of clean undies? You gotta do laundry.

From small things to massive things, there’s no one to make it go away but you.”

“That ordering food is actually expensive and your parents weren’t lying to you”

“There’s never enough time for all the things you need to do. Definitely not enough time for the things you want to do”

“A $1000 pay check isn’t nearly as exciting as an adult”

“Life revolves around grocery shopping, preparing food, washing dishes, doing laundry, vacuuming and tidying up. It does not stop, don’t let it pile up for the weekends or else you waste your weekends stuck indoors.

Alcohol is not your friend, it does not have the answers you are looking for, and usually gets you in even more trouble. Drink with friends to celebrate, don’t drink alone in silence.”

“When all the cliches that used to piss you off start making sense and meaning something, but you can’t explain it to younger people because they haven’t lived that life experience yet.”

“People expect you to know what you’re doing.”

“That you had no idea what you were talking about when you were a teenager”

“Each day is desperately short. Work consumes 75% of the time you’re awake. And the time you’re free is spent doing chores and being tired. Hobbies slowly cease to exist and you just start to look for quick escapes.”

“Dental care. It’s so damn expensive if you let your teeth degrade. Please floss my dudes.”

“Forgetting your age is a real problem. The only people who remind me how old I am are my kids, and i often have to double check. I used to ask my parents how old they were and they always “cant remember” or said “21” and it confused me. I get it now.”

“Even though February is the shortest month, the rent is still the same”

“You know all those things you thought you would do when you were out on your own? They cost money, and you have to work for it…”

“The adult part.

The moment you need to pay for everything and the realization that fresh food spoils faster than you ever noticed before was eye opening”

“The importance and scarcity of time. Your “you time” gets seriously reduced as you get older and your other responsibilities mount up. I used to think that spending half an hour cleaning 3 times a week was the worst thing ever. Now I spend about an hour cleaning pretty much every day. Between work, maintaining a house, and raising kids, the amount of you time gets reduced to.minutes a day. Anything else you want to do means sacrificing sleep.

The other thing is how true “time=money” actually is. Simply existing and breathing costs money. Food, rent, bills, transport cost money. Often the difference between happiness and unhappiness for me was comfortably making it to my next paycheck.”

“The pain. Bodies start breaking down.”

“You need to be mentally prepared for the “benchmarks” in your life to not happen or for them to not happen on the right schedule. The big events in your life up to now have been driven and put into place largely by governments and parents and teachers. This is by design – to slowly teach you the relationship between efforts and results. The accomplishments you have laid out as an adult in front of you are largely up to you, and your place in society has a lot more to do with luck than you’d probably like to think.

As a teenager you tend to think “I will get married at 28, have a kid at 30 and 33, but only after I’ve graduated from the elite engineering program of my choice.” You may not achieve any of those things, and the obsession with delivering them on schedule will cause you deep frustration or even grief. You may not find a spouse, or have a child, or own a house, or even remain relatively healthy.

Learn to give yourself a break now before you spend years of your life grieving the future you believe you screwed yourself out of.”

“Metabolism does not go brrrrrrr”

“Forty eight here

Bills don’t stop or go away. Ever.

Work sucks. That’s why they pay you to do it because nobody’s doing that bulls@#t for free. Think of it as a means to your life and avoid it becoming your identity.

The term “work life balance” is HR code for “We own you. You’re at our disposal 24/7/365”

Nobody owes you a damn thing and ain’t nobody gonna give you nothing for free. They’re much more likely to try to take what you have.

If not married, we’re pretty sexually promiscuous and don’t always adhere to the strict rules that we put on you – except that we’re generally better with birth control and usually more fastidious about STD status.

You can choose one of two paths – s@#tty life now or s@#tty life later. The one thing I’d change about everything is to choose the s@#ty life early on. Living life all YOLO or whatever you kids say when I was in my twenties came with consequences that persisted for decades and will likely render me unable to ever retire.

Time accelerates. Forty is but a blink away. So seize the opportunity you have today because it’ll be gone in an instant.”

“Money loses value QUICKLY as you get older. Give me $1000 at 15 and I would have been in heaven buying video games and gadgets candy and all sorts of stupid nonsense. Give me $1000 at 36 and it’s going towards paying off the crushing debt that comes with adulthood and car repairs that I’ve put off way too long and all sorts of totally un-fun things.”

“You can be homeless.”

“By the time you’re 30 you are going to be lucky to see whatever close friends you have left more than a couple times a year. And it’s considered normal.”

“You can’t just quit your job if you dont like it.”

“Coming home from work and still work at home”

“Money adds up quick. You see something cheap that you want as a teen and think “It’s only $5.” Yes it is only $5, but when the end of the month comes, all those “only” purchases add up really fast.”

“You will be held accountable. No excuses, no blaming.”

“Waking up and just aching for non discernible reason other than having slept ‘a bit funny’.

Oh, and the 3 day hangovers that make it barely worth drinking more than a couple glasses of wine”

“Losing your identity and sense of purpose once you graduate and enter a job that sucks up all your time.

You have no energy to pursue the hobbies or interests you once had. You’re also no longer able to be the Smart Kid or the Theatre Kid or the Jock or whatever — you’re just another depressed 20-something trying to survive, playing 1 hour of a video game you’ll never finish per night just to feel something in between cooking, chores, and your depressingly early bedtime.”

“Discipline is very hard to maintain when you are lacking purpose.

When you are a teenager there’s so much you think you can achieve:

“I’ll get into that college.”

“I’ll get that degree.”

“I’ll land that cool job after.”

“I’ll date that person who will fulfill me.”

However, what happens when those things fail and you have to readjust? What if the idea of progress turns into an idea of just sustainment?

My advice to teenagers: The most important thing you need to work towards figuring out as you enter into early adulthood is your purpose. It can change over time of course, but never be without it.”

One comment

  1. Wow, I’m seeing a lot of these articles about “oh it’s so hard being an adult”. It’s like a bunch of teenagers just grew up and discovered, to their astonishment, that being an adult doesn’t mean “I now have my own money and I don’t have to follow my parents’ rules, so I can party all the time!” Like wow, it’s almost as if freedom and independence also come with responsibilities!

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