Stuff You Must Know to be an (American) Adult

(Disclaimer: Never, ever Google adult and press the ‘images’ button. Just don’t.)

(Disclaimer #2: This mainly applies to American adults living in the small-town or suburban Midwest.)

Since spending several months in a different country, I have realized that to be an adult in the U.S., there are several rules you must follow and things you must know. It seems most people know these sorts of things instinctively. I have not been blessed with this gift, and perhaps you haven’t either, so listen up. People have expectations once you hit 22! You are no longer allowed to leave your uncombed and count cherry popsicles as a food group! Luckily, I’m here to help.

  • You must, must, MUST mow your lawn and make it look nice or you are a bad person. Your neighbors will gossip about you and send you ads for used lawn mowers on Craigslist.
  • Your maid of honor must take notes on the gifts you receive at bridal showers. No, you may not send impersonal notes. The horror of such a suggestion is causing my heart to palpitate!
  • You must pay taxes, and you must complain about them. You mustn’t ever think of the good that comes from the damned things!
  • You must eschew credit cards. Dave Ramsey says they are bad, so it must be God’s honest truth! No, people are not different, silly. Because you overspend with credit cards means everyone else will too!
  • You must desire to own your own home. Out here in the Midwest, we don’t really get it when someone OWNS an apartment. Why would you do that??!
  • You must walk your dogs and pick up their excrement.
  • You must get married before age 30. Do people even get married after that? It’s too horrible to contemplate.
  • Speaking of weddings, you must wear white, have your father give you away, and take your husband’s last name. (Least favorite thing about this: when the minister says, “Mr. and Mrs. [Husband’s first name] [Husband’s last name].” Welcome to a world in which your identity is controlled by your husband’s. Yay.
  • You must want kids. Living without children? Also too horrible to contemplate. Although this website seems to say differently.
  • Once you got that kid in your belly, a baby shower is necessary. You must open presents in front of everyone, tacky as that may seem to people from elsewhere. Or as awkward as you may feel doing so.
  • You mustn’t be too radical with your beliefs, unless we’re talking about JAY-SUS!

Okay, I’m done for now. Anyone else have any ideas for how to become a better (midwestern, suburban, American) adult? Share them with me.

4 thoughts on “Stuff You Must Know to be an (American) Adult

  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    We just moved into a new house and mowing the lawn is a top priority. It looks so much better when it’s mowed! And, everyone else keeps their lawn so nice, so we must keep up with the Joneses!

  2. Hi Kaley! I can safely say that I didn’t get even the remotest bit adult until 23, and after that I’ve got a little maturer every year but I still have a way to go! Your post made me laugh, some of the things you say about the ‘rules’ for being an adult are true in the UK too.. I think that’s part of the reason I live in Spain – it’s much more acceptable to be single or dating at 30+, people don’t tend to have kids till around 35-36, and it’s ok to wear short skirts at that grand old age too (I remember a 27 year old friend in the UK saying we were too old to wear them!) Adulthood can be so very long and dull so let’s be young for as long as we can :-)

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