Openly hating the word “adulting” does not make you sound as adult as you think it does.

I’m well and truly over the “getting down on people who use the word ‘adulting'” bandwagon. Oh, you think I and a bunch of other people are stupid and pathetic for using the term “adulting”? Well, I think you’re being a humorless jerk about it, so I suppose that makes us even. You roll your eyes at us, we roll our eyes at you — it’s a fair trade.

But before you go on about how much you resent us for using a word you don’t approve of or even really understand, allow me to me ‘splain what the word “adulting” is shorthand for: “Adulthood isn’t as fun or glamorous as I thought it was going to be, and aren’t I ridiculous for thinking it was in the first place? Look at me doing shit that nobody likes to do and complaining about it like a putz, or reaching a milestone that everybody is told we’re supposed to reach and feeling like that makes me accomplished instead of just doing what’s expected. Silly, isn’t it?”

You see, the term “adulting” isn’t necessarily a complaint, and even when it is, it isn’t just a complaint. We’re using it ironically, making a bit of fun of ourselves for not having it all together enough to consider adulting an easy thing. And let’s be real here: it’s not. And you don’t know the reasons why it might be difficult for someone who isn’t that person you know who walked barefoot in the snow for three miles and uphill both ways to work each morning, with five kids under the age of ten in tow while literally juggling all their bills. You also don’t know all the reasons why we might, on occasion, feel like being totally sincere in congratulating ourselves for successfully adulting; for example, when you piss and moan about it, do you think about or even realize the fact that successful adulting is important to me because growing up, I was told by more than one important adult figure that I’d never be able to? All of us are fighting battles that everyone else may not know about, and it’s not your place to decide whether doing something like paying our rent on time was an easy or trivial thing for us (I mean, shit, have you seen the economy in the past decade?). It may well not have been — and if it wasn’t, then by golly, at least we can chuckle about it as we commiserate, using a ridiculous word to describe how ridiculous everything is, especially us and the pressure we feel to have everything perfectly together at all times.

“What do you want,” you whinge, “a medal?” Well, no. Believe us, we’re more than aware that nobody is going to give us a medal or cookie just for being marginally functional; so we mock-congratulate ourselves sometimes because, again, irony. Why begrudge us that little bit of poking fun at ourselves that helps keep us sane? I mean, would you rather we not be honest about the fact that adulthood didn’t turn out to be the amazing, dazzling thing we thought it would be, or pretend we’re not all just winging it? Would you feel more like we’re doing our duty by . . . I don’t know, you, I guess, if we just never laughed or even talked about how weird and silly and unsexy and sometimes difficult adulthood is, and instead only had breakdowns in private like you and your parents did (like my own mother did), feeling the pressure to have all our shit together at all times, feeling like utter and irredeemable failures when we don’t, and thinking we’re the only ones who don’t? Thinking that we’re alone? That sounds MISERABLE. Is that level of misery really what you want us to go through before you’ll be willing to consider us “real” adults?

How awful.

But luckily for us, our adulthood doesn’t hinge upon whether you approve of how we go about it, and there is no prize for being more stoic than everyone else. We may not get any medals for having our shit together, but neither are you for pretending that having your shit together is easier than it is. It’s not like we’re going to get any bonuses to our paychecks for pretending we don’t think this shit is silly or that we shouldn’t be a bit silly in turn, so we might as well have fun with it. So get your head out of your ass, stop with the pretentious “adultier than thou” bullshit games, and maybe lighten up. Life’s easier that way — trust us.

P.S. Getting your knickers in a wad over the language other people use (that isn’t actually hurting anyone, mind you) is a waste of time and makes you look pretentious and sour, not edgy and superior. I’ll be honest: there are slang words and language trends that I think are dumb and pointless. But because nobody asked me for my judgmental opinion, I keep it to myself and let other people do them as they please. And frankly, words like “adulting”, “bae”, “feels”, and “woke” are no more ridiculous-sounding than “grody”, “beeyotch”, “psych”, “tubular”, and “bitchin'”, so get off your high horse and chill out.


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