I remember being a kid, and then a teenager, and thinking “When I am an adult, life is going to be so awesome. I don’t know why adults are so lame! Why do they complain!? They have the choices to be so happy! I am going to have so much fun!”
Oh yea, I remember getting upset when my parents told me I couldn’t spend my money on stupid things, and then thinking “oh, I’ll buy whatever I want when I’m older. I’ll show them”.
My husband called me from the car dealership the other day. I knew that when he called me it meant $$. It meant that it would be more money than the oil change. A text would be “everything is going as planned”.
There are so many things about being an adult that I have grown to love, but there are so many things I have felt horribly unprepared for. It seems like there are Adulting classes for people who need to learn basic cutting skills, cooking, sewing and more. Luckily, I think I have the cooking, laundry, vacuuming, mailing letters and that type of thing down, but there are so many complex things about adulting that I kind of now wish I had taken it easier on my parents when I had seen them in a bad mood!
Taxes. First of all . Who really understands taxes? I mean, seriously?
My husband worked for a tax firm so he has handled our taxes for our married life. Does he really understand how tax law works? I think it glazes him over. There are just so many different taxes. Sales tax, income tax, property taxes. The list goes on. As a child, the only tax that really affected me was sales tax. I really had no idea about all the different types of taxes there were.
When you become 18, you then have the chance to vote about taxes too. That opens a huge world of realization of what impact taxes have on on the rest of society. Where does all that tax money go? What is it used for? I’m now almost 38, and I think I’m more confused than ever on taxes.
Just like taxes, there are so many types of insurance! Life Insurance, Home insurance, health insurance, business insurance, auto insurance…and I’m sure the list goes on.
I don’t miss not knowing much about this! There are just so many decisions, and none of them ever seem like a good decision. It is all overwhelming. Luckily I did a life insurance when I was really young, but all the other insurances are just a mosh of money flying out! Both my husband and I, being self employed, means that we have even more decisions on our plate. Who likes thinking about any of these types of things? Not me!
I pay a lot of attention to these things when I can, but it is not something I love to think about!
Buying a Car, Car Maintenance and Yearly Taxes
I remember buying my first car. A 2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse. I was so excited to buy a car of my own. My parents had been amazing enough to give me a Dodge Neon to drive while I was in high school and college. How they were able to afford paying for a high school and college driver and the insurance, I will never know.
I realized quickly enough after one winter, my “dream car” was horrible in the snow. I had to get to work in the winter, so I often had to borrow my parents car. The few times I did drive my Eclipse to work, I was lucky enough to have nice enough coworkers to lift my car into a space. Yes, they actually could lift my car into a space because it was so small and light. It was a “pre smart car”.
When my husband and I got married, he had a more sensible car for Connecticut-a Honda Pilot. Since he traveled a lot for work, and he had a sensible car, he often drove others to work during snow storms too and had a ton of mileage on his car. He deployed and we had a baby on the way. We traded my non baby sensible Eclipse and his Honda Pilot with tons of Mileage in for a Mitsubishi Endeavor. He returned from Afghanistan and ended up with his brother’s Honda Accord which was a stick shift. My driving of a stick shift is great until I see another car. I absolutely freeze and then stall out. We gifted that car to a cousin and ended up with a Toyota 4 Runner from my husband’s parents. Three kids later, we realized we needed a minivan, so we ended up with a Honda Odyssey and went down to one car when we were in Arizona.
But with all that car swip swapping, buying and figuring out what things we needed in a car, the thing that is never really talked about is the maintenance and taxes.
Luckily, my dad had taken me to so many car dealership appointments as a kid (and it bored the crud out of me), I knew some cars seemed to need more repair than others. I am not good at repairing things. Between my husband and I, we did realize our Honda and Mitsubishis were great with few repairs. Although my Eclipse (I named it “Clippy”) was not good in the snow, it never needed any serious work even though it had 75,000 miles on it. While the over all price of the car might have been higher, I was not spending time and money in the repair shop every month. Tires are just the biggest thing I had to have replaced.
Buying a House or Renting an Apartment
Long, long ago, before I met my husband, I worked at Target and I was an assistant store manager with my car, Clippy. I decided it was time to leave my parents house and get my own place. I had a good job and made good money, or so I thought.
It was 2004, and the market was going nuts. One of my coworkers had a friend who was a real estate agent. So, I decided I’d look for a condo.
Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing.
I signed papers that I had no idea what they were for pre-approval mortgage documents. And then I found out that what I could afford could get me things in neighborhoods that weren’t really close to where I wanted to be. I had a home inspection, and the home inspection was abysmal. It was absolutely, horrendous. There were termites, cockroaches and all sorts of critters. There were roof leaks everywhere. The seller had lied about a lot of things and tried to cover it up and it was found during the inspection. And, for that I thank goodness that it was horrible.
The deal fell through. That was the lightning bolt that finally hit me on the head that not only did I not need my own place at that time, but I really disliked my job. And, that my agent hadn’t been listening to me and was just trying to push me into a home to make money. She tried to push me to my top budget, and I would have been horribly house poor. I have constantly thought of that scenario when I have helped people buy I home (and often over explain things in such great detail I might bore them to death)
When we moved across the country, we researched so much it was insane. I took my bad experience and turned it around into a learning experience, but the documentation that goes into purchasing a home is crazy. No one tells you how emotional it can be until you actually go through it.
Finding a Job
One of my dreams as a kid was to be a veterinarian. Then I changed to a teacher. Then a musician. I think I also wanted to be a dancer, and a baker. Maybe even a candlestick maker?
Finding a job is no easy task as an adult. It isn’t like finding Cinderella’s slipper. I shlepped groceries for many years, unloaded trucks, worked a lot of retail jobs, baby sat, worked secretary jobs and even thought of becoming a police officer. And now, I’m self employed. Finding a job, or a career, takes a lot of failure to find what you are good at.
It’s been said that becoming a parent is easy, but parenting is hard. That is the truth. All of the decisions you make on an hourly, or even minute to minute basis, is extremely taxing. I remember thinking I was being a great parent by giving Munchie lots of veggies as a baby. Well, I gave him so many orange vegetables he turned orange. Who knew that could happen?
There was potty training, deciding where to send our child to preschool and then we decided to homeschool! Gosh! Then, what do we use for homeschool curriculum? How do we meet people? Are we giving the children enough outdoor time? Too much outdoor time? Who knows! And, if your kid gets sick you feel so vulnerable! There are just so many times as a parent you feel that you no longer have any answers.
Now, we are dealing with attitudes. Oh, the attitudes! Some days they are mild, and some days I just want to run and hide, but I have to show them how to deal with their attitudes and not run away from it. Most importantly, not have an attitude myself!
Moving sounds so exciting when you are younger. A New adventure, a new place to call home, but it can be scary. But when you are an adult, it means packing. A lot of packing. And, figuring out how to change over all your utilities. Finding a new place to call home, where the new switches in your home are in the dark. And, sometimes a lot of new friends. It can be a new adventure too, but it can be really hard. And moving across the country is not easy either.
Finding Hobbies that Don’t Involve Kids
As Adults who have children, this one can be really hard. We once had lives before our children and we relish all of the things we used to do before children. And then, we slowly realize we don’t remember what we did before the kids.
There was something I did to enjoy my life that was not cleaning and cooking for these minions? Did I sleep all day? Did I have fun? There has to be more to life! But what hobbies am I interested in now that I am an adult? It seems so foreign to me because my interests have changed so much since I was a teenager!
Speaking of hobbies, getting sleep cannot be considered a hobby. I remember that I never wanted to sleep as a child. As a teen, all I wanted to do was sleep. I swore that when I was an adult I would sleep.
And, when I want to sleep, I am an insomniac. And then, when I need to sleep, I can’t because someone is keeping me up. It’s a losing situation! Sleeping as a child was so much better. There were few worries. Enjoy it kids!
Finding adult friends and community
I see a lot of women calling out on Facebook for friends. Kids seemed to have it so easy. To make a friend, you just run up and ask “Do you want to play with me?” The other child would respond “yes” and play would happen and friendship would develop.
As adults, especially in 2019, so many of us are glued to our phones. It is hard to reach out to someone and say “Hi, how are you today?”
Many friendships start through bonding over a website. That is perfectly ok, but I have made some amazing friends by just chatting someone up at the park. I really try to put down my phone at the park if someone else is around and try to chat. Mostly because that other person might need someone too!
Finding community is important. I love that Phoenix is a huge place with so many diverse cultures and backgrounds. That gives me hope that people can find friendships and a place to belong. And get through this “Adulting” together!