Beginner’s guide for the symptoms of growing up

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Sunny Shen/Senior Staff

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Rumor has it that you truly begin to become an “adult” when you turn 18. But, for the beginning of adulthood (whatever that even means), your 18th birthday does not feel any different from a normal day. You do not suddenly have back pain, or complain about the rising gas prices. Instead, you just receive a few jokes about buying lottery tickets or cigarettes. It is not until months after do you start showing symptoms of “old age.” These symptoms are unnoticeable at first, but for your proper analysis, I have created a beginner’s guide for the symptoms you may experience from growing up. 

You get excited to do simple things such as making a good cup of coffee or lighting a candle.

This one is first on my list because it is the symptom I am most guilty of. Whenever it’s nighttime, and I have a bit of homework I am avoiding, nothing makes me happier than lighting a candle and settling down with a book and some tea. Although, in reality, I end up scrolling on TikTok, the relaxation a tea and candle aesthetic gives me is truly unparalleled. It’s also something that my Nana does every night too. 

You often say “When I was their age … ” when you see younger children on their tablets. 

Allow me to set the scene. It is Christmas, Hanukkah or any other family-friend gathering, and all of your little cousins or friends’ siblings are glued to their tablets playing the next trendy game. Before you even think about how you hated hearing this as a child, the words are already out of your mouth and into the universe. There is no taking them back now. “When I was their age … ” This sentence can be completed in any way — by saying you played basketball or kickball in the street or just the idea that you didn’t have a tablet to play in the first place. Regardless of what you say to try and salvage yourself, this definitely places you in the “adult” category among everyone who heard it.

You “save” any TikToks that provide financial or housing tips.

This is a tricky one that I did not realize I did until recently. But slowly, when the reality of student debt and renting your next apartment really sets in, your For You Page on TikTok magically becomes about financing your next house, or even about investing. And, little by little, you encourage the algorithm by “saving” the TikToks for later … even though you never actually go back and look at them (or maybe that’s just me).

You get excited about the next shopping deals.

You truly do become an adult when you get excited about the next sale (bonus points if it’s for reusable containers or cleaning supplies). To be completely fair, clothes and shoe sales are completely different. But also, being excited on Black Friday for the three for $5 underwear/sock deal definitely puts you in the same ballpark as the old women who play bingo down my street. 

You text your parents first. And they leave YOU on read. 

This one hurts the most: realizing that you and your parents have swapped roles when it comes to staying in touch and messaging each other. Your texting threads are now filled with various TikToks you thought were “hilarious” or stories about what happened on your morning walk, and responses from your parents range from “LOL” to nothing at all.

Although growing up can be scary, you can prepare yourself by recognizing these symptoms. Don’t worry, everyone gets old eventually. 

Contact Isabella Carreno at [email protected].