Looking back on things you wrote years ago is a funny thing. Some of the pieces you find create instant nostalgic vibes, some of them make you laugh at yourself, and some of them are just straight cringe and you immediately want to burn them/delete them from existence. (For some of my current or past writings that I didn’t completely hate, check out the creative writing category of my blog here.)
I recently found a blog post I wrote when I was 22, and just considering starting a blog. This piece is actually what made me decide on my original domain name, 22andclueless.com. After some research, this domain is owned by Stephanie (and her adorable cat, Kate) and is a new blog about mental health and her life journey. No, I don’t personally know the new owner, but oddly enough, the direction of her blog is along the lines of what I had in mind when I owned the domain.
I still stand by what I wrote, and I think its still relevant even years later as I navigate adult life, so I thought I’d share the thoughts that 22 year old me wrote with you all. Feel free to laugh at me (well, with me. I’m definitely laughing at myself!) Also, feel free to comment and share what the hardest lesson you learned when you first moved out was.
Life at the Age of 22: 22 and Clueless
Unless you know something that I don’t, learning how to “survive on your own” as a young adult can be a rather trying process. A fun one, I will admit, but trying nonetheless.
When you move out, there’s suddenly so much more to do. On top of the standard bills, groceries, mail, and trying not to forget to feed the cat, (or feed yourself, for that matter…) there’s more that you have to do on your own that you realize you never really thought about.
There are a lot of lessons you kind of learn right away. These are my top 5.
1. Food doesn’t just appear.
Okay, so maybe I didn’t just learn this. But I didn’t realize how time consuming the whole food thing is. When you get home, a home cooked dinner isn’t waiting. You actually have to make it. And unless you plan on eating out of a box for the rest of your life, its a little more complex than just throwing something in the microwave. It takes chopping and mixing and measuring and sometimes, a rather extensive (and expensive) grocery list. Basically, unless you plan on starving yourself, search for some “quick, cheap, and healthy” recipes. You would be amazed at the plethora of recipes available online if you’re just starting out.
2. This place is WAY dirtier than home was.
Not that I thought things cleaned themselves. Besides those fancy ovens (yeah, don’t have one of those.) Its amazing how dirty a place can get so quick when you don’t have a mom who cleans it, or tells you when you need to clean something. Or a younger sibling who’s forced to clean it as a chore. Be prepared to wield a sponge and spray bottle a little more than you did with your assigned chores. I really hope you’re not afraid of cleaning a toilet, either. Otherwise, a rude and smelly awakening is coming, and quick.
3. The shampoo doesn’t refill itself.
Remember when you were almost out of toothpaste one night after you brushed your teeth, and in the morning there was a new tube waiting? For some reason, that doesn’t happen when you live on your own. You actually have to remember to go and buy the things you need. There’s no magic backup bottles of shampoo and conditioner under the sink. Bars of soap don’t seem to last quite as long. Oh, and the milk? It expires sooner than you thought it did. Might want to add that to the grocery list we were just talking about.
4. My TV stopped working.
Dad isn’t around to fix things, tell you what exactly is wrong with your car, or move the couch out of the way so that you can vacuum all the dust monsters that keep appearing. Yes, I said monsters. Those things are NOT bunnies. Suddenly, the things that were so easy to do because you had help, aren’t so easy anymore. I recently discovered that when you dye your hair yourself, your neck ends up a little more pink afterwards than when mom helps you. Not really sure how to prepare for that one. My neck is still pink though…
Prioritizing daily tasks have become far more important than they used to be, don’t you think? You realize now how much you took for granted when you didn’t actually have to do it, or you were given direction on doing it. How much you were used to having around, how much your siblings did around the house, or maybe just how much mom and dad did for you while you were still living at home. Which brings me to our 5th and final lesson for today:
5. You no longer have a human alarm clock
You wake up and look at the clock, only to realize your alarm clock didn’t go off/you slept through it, causing you to oversleep. Now, you’re supposed to be clocked in, in 10 minutes. So you jump out of bed, dress yourself, brush your teeth so your breath no longer smells like a small animal slept in there overnight, and fly out the door. On your way to work, you make a mental note to make sure your alarm will fully function from now on, or will be a LOT louder. These things seem much more important when you don’t have mom to open your door and yell “BETTER GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED OR YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!” Suddenly, you remember her saying something along the lines of “What are you going to do when I’m not there to make sure you get up?” and realize she’s been right all along.
Uh oh…. What other things has mom been right about…?