I learned a lot of things in high school: German, pythagorean theorem, some shit about Shakespeare proper teasing of bangs, why not to get a perm, how to cry your way out of a missed curfew. Unfortunately, none of those things have done me a bit of good in adulthood. Instead, I moved out and had to fall on my face 50 times to figure out how to be an adult.
I’d like to teach a high school class called “Shit You Should Know To Be An Adult.”
I am sadly without any of the certifications necessary to actually be a teacher, so this article will have to suffice.
1. You will probably have to talk on the phone.
Possibly a lot. People might leave you voicemails. Your anxiety about them will not make them delete themselves.
2. Just because you have an ATM card does not mean you have money.
Don’t try to use it at the gas station; it might let you. You’ll get overdrawn. Once you’re overdrawn, it’s very hard not to be. This is the bank’s master plan to destroy you.
3. You have to check your actual mailbox.
That’s where the bills go. If you don’t check the mail, you can't see the bills.
4. You have to pay the bills.
On time. If you don’t, they will charge you a late fee that you cannot afford. Bills suck.
5. Also, credit cards suck.
For some reason, like to prove you’re responsible or something, you need one. But don’t use it.
If you use it, I can almost guarantee you will be making payments on it until you literally die. I can explain this to you in mathematical terms but just trust me, don’t do it.
6. ALSO, taxes suck.
But you have to pay them. I mean it’s cool they pay for roads and stuff but they also take a lot of your (eventual) paycheck. It doesn’t matter if they suck though, pay them or go to jail.
7. Never buy a brand new car.
It’s just stupid, okay? I know you’re probably going to do it anyway (I've done it, like five times) because they are so shiny. But when you do and regret it, I will direct you to this article. Trust me.
8. Buying a house is complicated.
But not impossible. Real estate is almost never a bad investment — unless it’s on a steep cliff, an active volcano, or a volatile earthquake fault line.
9. Make a list of five traits or qualities you require in a life partner.
Suggestions: politics, religion, work ethic, humor, whether or not they like pineapple on pizza.
Do not date anyone who lacks any of those five qualities. When you do and regret it, I will direct you to this article. Just trust me already.
10. You need health insurance.
Once you’re 25, your parents can’t pay for it anymore. It sucks.
11. Invest in the stock market (preferably a mutual fund).
Use an app like Acorns to make it easy. Start now. Forget it’s there. It will earn you an 8% rate of return.
The stock market might crash. That's ok. Leave your money and ignore the news. It’ll come back. If it doesn’t come back we are all going to die anyway.
12. Drink less alcohol than you think you want.
You’ll never wake up wishing you had another drink the night before.
13. Only go to Costco with a list.
Otherwise you’re going to end up with ten pounds of potstickers and a bucket of mayonnaise.
14. Keep in your purse, backpack, or car the following: Imodium. Excedrin. Benadryl.
Diarrhea, migraines, and anaphylactic shock wait for no man.
15. Use condoms.
Unless you want an STI or a baby. Or an STI AND a baby.
16. If you are monogamous, Don’t cheat on your partner.
If you want to cheat on your partner, tell them so. Work through it. Or break up.
17. Broken hearts are the literal worst.
They get better. But not before you’re really miserable for a while. You’ll make it through.
18. Disagree with people.
Do it with vigor and respect. And when you’re wrong, sit down. Let them school you. Keep your mouth shut. Then pass the knowledge on.
19. Drink more water.
Coffee doesn’t count. Also, caffeine is linked to anxiety
20. High efficiency washing machines don’t clean really dirty clothes.
That’s probably because it’s washing them in ONE cup of filthy dirt water. Use the bedding cycle. It uses at least four cups of water.
21. Gasoline is almost always more expensive on weekends and holidays.
22. Don’t hate people for their shitty politics or their shitty attitudes.
But don’t be friends with them either. Life is too short for toxicity.
23. The days are long but the years are short.
Before you can blink, you’ll be watching your own kid graduate. Trust me.