How do you know when you’ve grown up? It’s a question often asked, and most always answered incorrectly. Silly things like, “being financially independent” or “waking up before noon every day” are often cited, but neither of those is true – even though I like, totally fit both of those criteria. There are, however, many ways to determine whether you’re grown up or not, and it has nothing to do with you sex life, your job, your shitty kids or if you’ve ever had something die in your arms. They’re far less obvious, and often seem arbitrary and unrelated, but trust me – they’re legit. Take diarrhea, for example. I know people in their twenties who still try and figure out the cause of diarrhea every time it strikes – recalling previous meals, considering various viruses, and even going to the doctor. Look, you want to know what the cause of your diarrhea is? Fucking life is. You know how every other kid these days is being haphazardly diagnosed with A.D.D. like it’s the common cold? In the adult world, we’ve got a different acronym: I.B.S. And everyone these days is saying they’ve got it. And you know what? That’s fine. If pathologizing your creaky bowels helps you sleep at night, I’m all for it. Want to know if someone is an adult? If they don’t even bat their eye at explosive diarrhea, and instead just treat it like a sneeze: something weird and unexplainable that happens from time to time.
Another way to tell if you’re actually grown up: you start putting off things you actually enjoy. Just last night, I planned to jerk off before bed. After getting into bed, however, I said to myself, “fuck it, I’ll just do it in the morning.” I think one fact of grown-up life is that everything is a production. Be it making dinner, jerking off, or even trying to simply get through a two-hour movie is exhausting, and it’s much easier to instead just sleep, watch mindless television, or simply stare at the wall and daydream about doing a thing you know you’ll never do, like find true love or make a homemade pie. A genuine interest in using condoms, too, is a sign of adulthood. Not in the typical, “sexually responsible” sort of way, but in the, “I’ve had chlamydia twice and four separate pregnancy scares and it just isn’t worth it” sort of way. The day I decided that, even if chlamydia can be cured with a single pill, the whole “what’s this red shit on my dick?” bit beforehand isn’t worth the pleasures of rawdogging it. Oh, and it’s entirely adult to say “rawdog,” by the way, so no worries there. One final point of adulthood seems to go against conventional wisdom and social norms: while most people assume a mastery of small-talk is a sign of being grown-up, it is instead when one not only understands the rules of small-talk, but actually then decides to disregard them entirely.
For instance, when I was younger, if someone asked why I didn’t attend their birthday party, I would politely make up an excuse about a funeral or surgery. Now, however, I have learned that the trouble isn’t worth it, and saying, “because I didn’t want to,” cuts to the chase and generally ends the conversation there. And I’m sure you’ve once heard someone say, “we’ve had this conversation before, haven’t we?” in an effort to suggest that the topic at hand has been previously covered, and thus both parties should agree to move on to a different subject. This is bullshit. Real adults knowingly engage in the same monotonous conversations with one another over and over, and in fact embrace the predictability and almost rehearsed nature of it – by the fifth or sixth time you’ve talked to your neighbor about how crappy your landlord is, you can put the conversation on subconscious autopilot while you imagine murdering them before offing yourself in one final act of social defiance.
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