12 Things Nobody Tells You When You Start “Adulting”

These days I’m sad/happy to admit that I am an actual adult person. Sort of.  I’m on my own for the first time in Rochester, and every day is a new experience. It’s certainly weird because for the first time ever I’m financially stable, I’m eating 2-3 regular meals a day none of which have been Ramen Noodles, and I actually want to do things like go to the gym, or search Pinterest for dinner ideas, (take away my man card) or buy furniture from fancy schmancey stores, or meet friends for coffee or dinner and catch up on where we are in life.

With all that being said, there have been some serious growing pains with getting used to being an adult and everyday is a learning experience. Everyday is a lesson in something new. However, there are so many things that I had absolutely no idea I would have to know prior to being in the world and within this growing list, there are 12 specific things that have been standing out to me.

Last week while doing the dishes, I literally thought: “you know, there is so much I would’ve liked to have been told in the last ~23 years. Having a basic knowledge on certain things and tasks that, you know, old people do would’ve been dope.”

So without further ado, here are 12 things nobody tells you when you start adulting:

1.) Shower Liners – A week after I moved into my apartment, I was sitting at my desk at work happily typing away when suddenly my phone lit up and vibrated and on the screen read the word “Landlord.” Panic set in. He left a message. I listened to the message. He said call me ASAP it’s important, so I called him ASAP because it was important. He told me that there was water in his kitchen from my bathroom. (He lives directly below me) Now, I did notice some water on the bathroom floor when I had left that morning, so I threw down a towel and headed off to work. He informed me that I needed a shower liner and curtain in order to avoid this happening again. At this point, I literally had only a shower curtain because when shopping for apartment stuff with my mom, I picked a plastic shower curtain, and like, I remember asking her “wait, do I need a liner too?” And she was like “no, it’s fine because the curtain is plastic…I think.”

About a week later it happened again and my landlord like knocked on my door and came shuffling into my apartment in a huff because his brand new “$1000” iPad was now completely soaked and destroyed. So that got me thinking, like why would you put your brand new iPad in a place where you know there has been a leak before? (My mind went full conspiracy theory fam.) This time however, I had no water on the floor of my bathroom as I had bought a shower liner. Turns out, it wasn’t me the entire time. Mr. Landlord is doing renovations to the apartment across the hall to put it on the market, and ended up doing brand new piping. He apologized via text. Anyway, moral of the story: you do need a shower curtain and a liner, even if your curtain is plastic.

2.) Dry Cleaning – I can’t really emphasize on this one too much, because I haven’t actually done it yet. Last week I was talking to my boss about how I’m a little bit pissed because my suit jackets look like old. I mean, they kind of are, most of them I either received as hand-me-downs, or I got back in high school. So we were talking about that, and she told me just to take them to a dry cleaners and they’ll look good as new or at least better. I never actually thought about dry cleaners and what they do. I knew they existed, but they were pretty inconsequential to me. I’ll most likely take them in a couple of weeks because I have some events in which I’ll need them. I’ll keep ya updated.

3.) Insurance – My first day of work we went over basic HR stuff including benefits such as insurance and a 401k. If asked, I literally don’t know what those mean. When they were being explained, I nodded, slightly smiled in a knowing way and heard absolutely nothing. I know you have car insurance, medical insurance, does dental count as medical? There’s renter’s insurance, and some other kind or kinds I believe. Oh! Life insurance if you die, and there’s probably more, but that’s literally all I know. I don’t know what they cover, and while I’m on my mom’s insurance for a bit longer, I really should start learning what exactly insurance does and how it works, and also what the hell a 401k is. It’s like a retirement fund I think. I believe the idea is that when you old and want to move to like lame-o Florida, which is like old people central, you have money to cover the end of your life. My conceptualization of these things is a work in progress so when I understand them, I’ll let you know. *Cracks open “Insurance and Benefits for Dummies.”

Side note – thank God for spellcheck, I spelled insurance, insureance, throughout this entire part.

4) Laundry – I have never in my life paid for my laundry to be done until last week. Growing up, I always had a washer and dryer at home. (Well, by the age I actually had to care about doing laundry.) Then, living in off-campus housing in college, I still had a washer and dryer in the basement. I have one in my building here in Rochester as well, however, it costs money. The day that I decided to do my laundry, I also decided to go through a Little Caesar’s drive-thru (yeah, a drive-thru for pizza. You read that right.) So I asked the nice Little Caesar’s man if he would be so kind as to give me $2 of change in quarters. Thinking “I’m sure it’s only like, 50 cents per load,” I merrily drove home and stuffed my face with mediocre, but cheap, pizza.

So then, I headed to the basement to put my laundry in and each machine said $1.50. I had $2.50. I didn’t realize I had so little until my clothes were in the washer and covered in detergent. So by this point my plan of action was to search all of my pockets in my coats and pants and if all else failed I would air-dry all my clothing on my furniture. (I did this once in college when my dryer was broken.) Luckily I found the change, but I did text my mom and she said that was actually pretty regular pricing, which I found appalling. (I drove home and did my laundry at her house the following weekend.)

5.) Rice – Rice expands. Like, a lot.

I was trying to be economically friendly on my first grocery trip of this new apartment and was under the impression that you know, less economically-stable people tend to make rice and while never a big rice eater, I thought what the hell, it’ll be good with chicken, peppers, etc. So picture this, on a Sunday night a couple of weeks back, I was meal-prepping. I had beer chicken that had been cooking in my crock pot all day and was going to saute some onions and peppers to go with it and a side of rice. I had forgotten to buy an onion, which was fine, and I was just beginning to put the rice in a pot on my stove.

Apparently, the pressure of my angling the bag over the pot caused the bag to rip, overfilling the pot and effectively spreading rice all over my stove-top and the kitchen floor. By this time I was panicking because I have a gas stove-top, so all of that rice being close to an open flame led me to start to think, “cool, I’ve been here for a couple of weeks, I leaked into my landlord’s apartment and now I’m going to set the whole building on fire. Sweet.” I cleaned up the rice and looked at the pot. I was like huh, well I am making rice for five days so even though it looks like a lot, it’s fine. It was not fine. The rice like super expanded and I only used half off it for the prepped lunches and ended up eating some dinner and throwing out the rest. When cooking rice, be sure to take into account that a little is a lot and goes a long way.

6.) Plaster Walls – I know plaster walls were super dope in the 70s and everything, but as far as I’m concerned, they suck. If you hammer something to big, like a small nail that apparently isn’t small enough, you get this large ugly hole in the wall that you have to cover with whatever you were trying to hang in the first place which leads the positioning of the wall object to look strange and haunt your dreams and keep you awake at night and holy run-on sentence but you get the point. My next step is to understand how Spackle works. That’s the fill in this hole-in-the-wall stuff right?

7.) Grandpa Status – There are nights when I am in bed at 9:30 or 10 p.m. which is unheard of for me prior to working a full-time 9-5. I love those nights. Daily, I literally look forward to going to work, working on projects for “x” number of clients, going home, cooking dinner and decompressing before doing it all again. My first couple of weekends, I tried to stay up and out until past midnight and damn near fell asleep sitting at the bar. Finally, getting back to my Buffalo roots, I can stay out past 2 a.m. as long as I’m consistently being active and there’s no lull.

Really big fan of DIY projects too, (I built a bookshelf!) and honestly like lighting a candle and reading a book is so rewarding. Mmm and don’t get me started on smooth jazz while I’m cleaning the apartment.

I look at myself now and think, “dude, 20-year-old, tequila sloshing you would be so disappointed.” But I’m fine with it, I am a grandpa (ehh maybe a dad) and I am proud!

8.) Building Furniture – I had about two and a half boxes of books that needed to move with me to Rochester. The problem was that I had nowhere to put them. When you’re first starting out, you tend to buy cheaper furniture that you can assemble yourself, or maybe that’s just me? Anyway, the only thing I really wanted moving in was a tall 5-shelf bookshelf. (Never mind the fact that I didn’t have pots and pans, or a toilet brush, or dish towels, or silverware, or food, or spices, or actual towels, etc. The list goes on and on. I never realized how much stuff you need to live comfortably on a daily basis and not have to run to the store every day.)

Back to the bookshelf. I bought one at Target and it was one that I needed to assemble, I did pretty well, but as I was finishing and was hammering the back of the shelf to the entire unit, my knee slipped and went right through the back. You can’t tell when it’s standing up, but I’ll always know. I’m sure I’ll have to build more stuff, so that should be interesting…

9.) Electricity – Last night, I was microwaving some tortellini I made earlier in the week for dinner and right as the microwave finished it’s cycle, all of the electricity on one half of my apartment went out. This had happened to me once before when I was in high school and had my friends over for a movie night. We had decided to make popcorn in the microwave I had in my room and at this point in my life I was living in my mom’s basement and the popcorn caused the power to go out, much to my annoyance and embarrassment. So I had to go into the garage and flip the circuit breaker.

I had to do the same last night, but I was dubious that a shortage was what was really going on so I consulted again, my mom via text and also Google. After 20 minutes, a YouTube tutorial and turning off the electricity on the side that still had it, finally my lights were back on. Apparently when this happens, the switch on the circuit board moves itself to the off position and so you have to move it back to on. Who knew?

10.) You Can’t/Don’t Drink Like You Did In College – In college, I could drink for six hours straight and be totally fine the next day. In adult life, I can get buzzed/lightly drunk from 3-4 tallboys. My tolerance jumped up a little bit with all the Halloween festivities, but I can’t hang with the cool kids like I used to. Literally, if I drink too much, the following day I am a rude zombie boy with an agenda of hatred and apathy.

I also no longer drink during the week other than a beer with dinner, maybe, unless there’s a special occasion, I just don’t see the reason in it and really it’s not on my radar until Saturday hits.

11.) Binge Watching – Binge watching is a sick, sick disease. The only way to defeat it is to choose a show with hour-long episodes so that you realize how much time has been wasted sitting in front of the screen. Back in college, I did binge watch but never as intensely as I had the past three weeks. I watched all 10 seasons of “Friends.” In three weeks. (There will be a post about that either next week or the week after.)

Binge watching certainly is a great way to beat a cold or rainy day, but also a good way to waste a ton of time that could be used in a more productive way. Moderation is key when embarking on a new series. Pace yourself and the end goal of finishing will be so much more rewarding before you end up in my current position, which is: “so what do I watch now?”

12.) Loneliness and Learning to be Alone – Perhaps most importantly was this. This was also the hardest for me to accept about adulting. It wasn’t until my 20s that I became just a little bit sappy and decided that allowing myself to separate from my “I’m a man, I am emotionless!” bravado was worth it. So much so that I can comfortably write about this topic.

Literally my entire life I have had someone there to indulge me and my quirky antics and coming home to none of that was such a monumental shift for me. In college, I spent a summer alone in my off-campus house, but I was never really alone. Really, I am thankful for my alone time now. I can do what I want when I want to and there’s always social media to rely on. I have done some of the best thinking of my life and discovered myself on a deeper level without all of the outside distractions. I love being around people, but becoming so dependent on others limits who you are. You need that time to yourself, those quiet moments, they are important.

Okay, serious moment over.

So that’s that. My 12 Things Nobody Tells You When You Start Adulting. My names Zack, I’ll be uploading a new post on this page every Tuesday around noon, subscribe and comment if you  liked or alternatively didn’t like what you read. I’ll see you next week!

In the meantime connect with me on the following social media platforms:



Snapchat: @zackreese



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