Five things our parents definitely didn't teach us about #adulting

July 05, 2016
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When I was little, adults always seemed worried and stressed for no apparent reason. Now, I get it, and I have a feeling I’ll understand it even more as I continue to age.

They say you supposedly become an adult at the age of 18, but oh boy are they wrong. Early adulthood is like a test you didn’t study for on bit; you recognise some words and phrases and vaguely remember your teacher talking about it and are now sincerely regretting not listening to.

There are certain aspects of adult life that we wish our parents taught us about, but now it’s too late and we feel too stupid to ask. Here are just a few:

Filing a tax return is actually a thing

So it’s mid year, and those end of financial year sales mean that it’s time for our personal taxes to be filed. Or sent off. Or delivered. Or given back. Or something.

Are we all getting ripped off? Who knows. Here’s hoping that the fact that I didn’t really have a tax file number for a few working years wasn’t illegal, and if you’ve noticed those tax deductions on pay slips then you should hopefully come into some kind of payback. Just don’t ask me when, where, how or why.

Elections happen and we should know how government works

Is there a timeline for this? And where are the dates of each election released to begin with? The competition of politicians is a whole other playing field where, let’s face it, the public probably aren’t that influential over the results.

While compulsory voting is a fantastic idea, there are so many complications with updating your address with the Australian Electoral Commission. Half the time it doesn’t go through and you never know which electorate you actually belong to.

Additionally, adulthood apparently means we’re supposed to have a working knowledge on how the government works and the different policies of parties and hence be able to sit around drinking wine sharing political opinion. Cheers to the marijuana party.

It’s just so goddamn expensive to live in this country

Australia is a goddamn expensive country to live in and, as the news loves to remind us, it’s getting more and more unlikely that our generation will be able to afford to own a home in certain cities in our lifetime.

There are so many tiny boring things that cost way more than we ever noticed. The other week I went to Officeworks and paid $35 for printer cartridges. That’s more than two hours’ pay of hating life at work spent on something that brings no happiness to my life. That $35 also signals the realisation that this is my new reality. I may not be able to afford that concert ticket but at least my printer will have some fancy coloured ink.

Our sexpectations aren’t realistic

Obviously it was embarrassing when we were all kids, and most people’s parents avoid the topic and turn a blind eye to what us kids are up to because they don’t actually want to talk to us about it.

Sexual exploration is a large part of becoming independent and feeling empowered in your body and bed, although this does include a whole array of potential weird, awkward, downright bad and ‘what-the-fuck-happened-last-night’ situations that we have no manual or parental advice for dealing with.

Thank god for mates who’re always ready to reply to your panicked text.

We won’t suddenly realise our life purpose

I partially blame movies for making me believe there was going to be a magic moment after graduating school where I would realise my true passions and my destined job title would appear in front of me.

Of course I now realise it’s not going to happen like this. We all just do our thing and end up finding our way, but the time it takes is different for everyone.

When it comes to our parents, perhaps they have no clue either.

Grace Potter

Grace studies Communications & Media at the University of Wollongong and is an avid fan of Harry Potter and coffee.

Image: Justine-reyes, Flickr Creative Commons license