Questions a Younger Me Had About Adult-ing

Did you think that adults were weird and big and did stuff that didn’t make sense as a kid? No? Just me? Okay. Here are some questions a younger me had about adult-ing.

Why do people say “how are you?” when everyone always just says “good”? I think I’m just not going to ask that question unless I really really mean it.

Oh how self righteous you were, younger-me. How did that work out for you? Probably explains why you didn’t make that many friends in university. I’m sure you came across as a heartless, weirdly anti-social kid who had no interest in anyone else.

Listen, it’s a social norm that you have to follow – either to break the ice into more of a conversation or just as a passing statement so you both have something to reply to so you’re not looking awkwardly at each other in silence as you pass by. If you’re afraid of being so literal, there are always alternatives – “how’s it hanging?”, “what’s up?”, or a jazzed up “hello” that lasts longer than just saying “hello” would all work.

How do people….have conversations? Like, all I talk about with my friends are video games and cartoons, but I have no idea what to talk to adults about.

Ugh, how scary and weird was it talking to adults, younger-me? It’s like they were a different species, laughing at “adult” things, worrying about “adult” problems and eating at the “adult” table.

Basically, “adult” conversations revolve around stories, questions and answers. You ask questions to get answers, you hope that they tell some interesting story that makes you laugh or prompts more questions, and you in turn answer questions and tell amazing stories that hopefully entertain the adults around you. How did we learn to do this? I don’t know. Why don’t we do this as kids? Probably because we feel a lot less awkward talking about completely random topics or just not talking at all, but really, I don’t know. It’s just another social construct of adult life. Deal with it.so

Why do I need to go to university to get a good job?

I hear you loud and strong younger-me! What even is university anyway? Three plus years going to lectures and classes, most of which are useless, for a course you picked in your last year of high school because it sounded cool, and for what?

It’s yet another construct of our society. Apparently if you don’t have that piece of paper saying you managed to finish another few years of study, then some employers will think you’re “uneducated” and unfit for the job, when in reality most jobs you kind of pick up as you go anyway. I know, I know, I wouldn’t want a doctor learning everything about heart surgery on the job, but most other professions you can be trained to do pretty easily, and it definitely doesn’t require years of further “study” to do.

But you know what? There are so many jobs that don’t require a university degree. I think coming from the bubble you grew up in, younger-me, it was hard to see that, but trust me. You do you and you do what you want. In fact people manage to travel and work for years and never settle down for a “career”. It’s all possible.

Why didn’t they do x better? If I was in charge of x I would’ve done it like this because that would have meant this and you wouldn’t have that problem.

Man, you were such a smart ass, weren’t you younger-me? Thinking you were so much better than your teachers and leaders. If you could have done it so well, then, well, do it!

The reality is doing things well takes a lot of planning and time. And if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from working, it’s that those two things are not in abundance. Your teachers and leaders are doing the best they can with the time and resources they have. And the thing is – you notice those one or two things that could have been done better, but did you notice all those other things that were done well? Would you have done them that well?

Why do people drink?

Remember that first time you took of sip of wine and winced in disgust? How do people do this on a regular basis – and enjoy it?

Well, I think there are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, and to put it quite simply, tastes change. Heck, you didn’t used to eat meat, and now look at you! And I’m sure you still hate seafood, but guess what – I’ve been eating it and it’s not so bad. So you might hate that bitterness in wine now, but some people grow to enjoy it.

Secondly, alcohol is called a social lubricant for a reason. It loosens people up – makes them a little less inhibited, a little more willing to be social (usually) and a little more willing to dance a little crazier. It just feels good. So people drink because when they do, and when they’re around others that do as well, they simply enjoy themselves more. Does that mean you can’t have a good time without alcohol as an adult? Of course not. But will you find yourself in many social situations where alcohol is involved? Unfortunately (or fortunately), yes.

Why is the way mum kisses me to sleep different to the way people kiss on TV?

Oh gosh, remember that time you tried to kiss mum the way they kiss on TV? Yeah I’m sure that wasn’t super awkward at all for mum.

Before I get to the “why”, let’s just talk about the “what”. There’s the kiss that’s more like a peck, where your mouths stay closed, and really no saliva is exchanged. This is usually reserved for friends and non-romantic relationships. And the other type of kiss? The one with an open mouth and tongue and slob? Yeah that’s for sexually aroused relationships.

But you know what? I don’t really know why. Perhaps it’s just media and upbringing – that we see that sort of kiss only ever shared between romantic partners, that doing it with other people would just feel odd. Or perhaps it’s a more intimate kiss, in that tongues touch and all, so it’s reserved for those intimate relationships. But I feel you, it’s confusing that they’re called the same thing.

Why are boys so afraid of hanging out with girls? Wait, why are boys now interested in girls and their girly parts?

Gee younger-me, you were a special kid, weren’t you? I guess you never really thought about why you managed to become good friends with girls in primary school when no other boy could, or why you never found those bikini clad women on TV all that appealing.

But, younger-me, did you ever wonder why you found The Backstreet Boys and Human Nature so appealing? Do you remember getting VHS tapes of Human Nature’s video clips and pausing it on the moment that hunky Andrew was pushing a leaver and his vest sort of slid open and you could see his pink nipple on his perfectly sculpted chest? Gosh, that was a beautiful sight to behold, wasn’t it?

Let me break it down for you – you are very much gay. It might take you a few more years to realise, and then a few more to admit it to others, but man were the signs there super early. But don’t worry, it might suck in high school, but it actually does get better. Trust me.


Cover image by Shawn Nystrand used under Creative Commons license

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