5 Things Adults Do That You’re Not Doing

Legally, we're all grown up now, but let's face it, sometimes we still act like we're in college. This list of skills will help take you five steps further away from the immature remnants of your school days and reserve your seat at the grown-up table.

The male sex has long been synonymous with immaturity in popular culture. Starting with J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, the story revolved around a boy who escaped to Neverland in order to avoid the realities of imminent maturity. Eventually, in the 1990's, this theme degenerated into Fox's television show Get A Life, which told the story of a 30-year-old paper boy who still lived with his parents in order to escape the impending realities of adulthood. Today, the “Peter Pan” theme is still relevant, featured in such films as Old School, Failure to Launch, and Step Brothers.

In genres of entertainment, the stifled, unevolving male never goes out of style. It's like the little black dress for women. However, just because Will Ferrell does it and gets a laugh, doesn't make it right (or always funny). There are some things every grown adult male (and female) should know how to do or be doing in order to keep their adult card from being revoked.

1040 Tax Form

1. Doing Your Own Taxes
It used to be a long and complicated process 30 or 40 years ago. Nowadays, you can do it online and be done within 30 minutes. Not only does doing your taxes make you feel independent and smart, but it also makes you aware of your finances. Some web sites where you can do your taxes online include turbotax.com and taxACT.com.

2. Resisting the Temptation of Online Chain Letters
At one point in time (before the advent of the Internet), chain-letter writing was an art. You had to make copies (sometimes hand-written) and mail them to all of your friends (the short cut would have been writing the letters and then tossing them in the garbage yourself). The Internet allows dozens of chain letter forwards to be sent out at the click of a mouse. Adult logic should tell you that no one is going to die if you don't send this letter, nor is the cutie you met at the bar last night going to magically remove his or herself from the lame significant other they were lugging around and pledge their love to you instead. However, adults give in to this temptation because it's something to believe in. If the whole church and God thing isn't doing it for you, you've at least got a chain letter to rely on. It even says at the bottom usually, “Don't break this. It really works!” — which in a sense, seems to be the message of almost every religion.

Sew Button

3. Knowing How to Sew a Button
It can be debilitating for someone to put away a coat, never to use it again, simply because he or she can't fasten a button to a piece of fabric. Here's all you need: a sewing needle, some thread, and the button. Then, type “how to sew a button” into a search engine and you get all the help you need — even videos. It only takes a few minutes to learn.  In fact, let me google that for you.

Now, instead of waiting around for your mother to do it the next time you see her, you suddenly have the control to wear that favorite button-down shirt that's been tossed aside for weeks. To quote Captain Planet, “The Power is Yours!” (Little known fact, the sixth power after Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart was “Sewing”.)

4. Reacting to Your Friend's Pregnancy with “Congratulations” Rather than an Expletive
Somewhere in the middle of adulthood, pregnancy becomes okay. It seems crazy at first. Doesn't everyone spend their high school and college years avoiding pregnancies? Suddenly, your wild and crazy lush of a roommate who hooked up with all the Thetas is toting a camcorder and trading in his two-door coupe for a four-door with a car seat.

Since the dawn of pimples, teenagers and young adults have been trained by everyone from Seventeen Magazine to a few select episodes of Blossom to avoid pregnancy like an oncoming ghost in a Pac Man game. “Run the other way and eat those cherries instead!” Then, suddenly, it's “okay?” “Let the ghost eat me?” When did this happen?

Think of it this way. You don't have to be ready for or want your friend's life, but you can still update your reaction and get on board with the idea that you are growing older. Realize that your counterparts are going to get bored and procreate (this is all before they realize a kid won't save their marriage and they divorce, of course).

Dirty Tub

5. Cleaning the Tub or Toilet.
Jerry Seinfeld once said to George Costanza (on women): “When she comes over, you're cleaning up a lot? You do the tub? On your knees, Ajax, scrubbing? Tub is love.” Not only is tub “love,” but it's one step closer to adulthood. The bathroom is a room long neglected by young adults. In college, the bathroom was a shared area that everyone acknowledged as grody and gross. Even when you thought you upgraded with college housing, the bathroom was still neglected, only to be cleaned after out-of-control Christmas parties and keggers.

However, neglecting the tub and toilet results in dirt rings — the same dirt rings you left in your dorm for the incoming freshman, the same rings you were left as an incoming freshman. While scrubbing the tub and toilet might not be something cool and anecdotal you'll want to bring up at your next get-together, it will certainly catch the eye of your next date when he or she goes to use the restroom. “Hmmm. A clean bathroom. What a catch!”

Megan McLachlan currently resides in the Pittsburgh area where she freelance writes, drinks coffee, and obsesses over popular culture. She was an English major, but doesn't think she wasted her life. Yet. Her blog is megoblog.com.

  • http://chainletters.pbwiki.com Indy

    Actually nobody wanted to grow up in Peter Pan, including Tinkerbell.

    6. Never look down on anyone who – can’t afford to rent or own their own condo/house/apartment.

    7. Never look down on people who don’t do their taxes online.

    8. Never look down on people who can’t sew. Not everybody gets the opportunity to or is interested and some people can’t watch videos to get the knack.

    9. Never look down on people who don’t clean the tub, especially if they take showers instead.

    10. Get a better idea of what real immaturity is before attempting to write a primer that does nothing but nitpick over the tiny stuff and whose only good entry advises againsts sending chain letters.

  • Jason

    Indy: sounds like you’ve got some growing up of your own to do, dude.

  • Matthew C.

    Indy, still living in your parents basement? hahah. I think it’s funny that not sending “chain letters” is mature, but cleaning your bathroom, not living with your parents, and not sewing buttons isn’t?

  • Greg

    Good list, the pregnancy one cracked me up. Too true.

  • http://midnight.hushedcasket.com Jeff Barnett

    I will refute just one of the bullets: doing your own taxes. I used to do 1040 EZs every year when I worked at a grocery store. Now that I own a home, have investments, and generally have a more complicated financial life, it’s not worth my time to try to navigate tax code. I have a connection with a tax professional so I pay him a fee and in return I get a perfectly prepared return with a guarantee of fixing anything that is wrong with it, and someone to represent me in case of an audit (albeit, only a tiny fraction of returns are audited). It’s not a maturity issue. On the contrary, I think the mature decision was to decide that I’d rather pay a fee for a perfect return and spend the time gained on leisure activities or with my family/friends.

    Oil changes are similar. I’ve been able to change the oil in a car since I was 12. I haven’t routinely done it myself for the past 5-6 years. In the end I’m paying someone less than $10 for the saved hassle of climbing under my car and dealing with oil disposal.

    These are not maturity or competence issues, but time value issues. All adults have different values for their time for different activities. It’s not always immature that someone has chosen different decisions than you.

  • RIsta

    1. I’m pretty sure Megan wasn’t suggesting to “look down” on people who aren’t doing 1-5 on her list.

    2. The only reason a person shouldn’t clean their tub, shower stall, toilet, etc is if someone else is doing it for them, ie house keeper or in your case probably your mom. A dirty bathroom is most definitely a bad sign…and fyi, a shower stall gets dirty too.

  • http://estebanwaseaten.tumblr.com/ Justin Brown

    Conversely on the Seinfeld bathroom-cleaning point, George once argued that filth in the bathroom was good when it came to entertaining a date, evidenced by the fact that rock stars definitely don’t clean their bathroom(s) and they get plenty of women.
    .-= Justin Brown´s last blog ..Peter Funch’s photography appears staged and/or modified,… =-.

  • http://winningexback.info Kevin Ex

    That’s an excellent post Megan. That part about Captain Planet made me laugh. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  • Tammi Carson

    It’s not as uncommon as you think. I’ve seen Shows where people live in The Folks Basement and they make it easy for them to stay. My Cousin is like that, his Parents make it too easy for him to not want to leave, and even now they realize how “Spoiled” he is.