In case you haven't figured it out yet, "being an adult" is pretty much a sham. Despite the cultural weight that we give "growing up" and "having it together," pretty much nobody ever actually grows up or has it together. The most sophisticated person you know has, within the last 24 hours, probably eaten cereal without using their hands, laughed at a fart, or briefly worried about being attacked by a ghost. This isn't to knock your friend — it's just to say that the external trappings of maturity are basically an illusion.
Take me, for example. I have definitely eaten cereal without using my hands in the past 24 hours. I'm mad that I'm too old to trick-or-treat. I spent most of last night waving a tennis racket at a palmetto bug that flew into my apartment, demanding that it leave. But due to the fact that I know what an IRA is, own multiple blazers, and have made my own pesto, people constantly mistake me for an actual adult. It's that easy.
So relax! You don't have to do something complicated and intimidating, like give birth to a tiny human being, just to get others to think that you have your act together. You just need to make it seem like you're really organized and always thinking about the future (when in reality, you're thinking about what TV actors you'd like to tongue-kiss). Use the nine adulthood hacks below — drawn from my own real sham-adult life — as a jumping off point.
1. Buy 5 Really Cheap Umbrellas
Sure, the truly adult thing would to be one nice umbrella and always remember it — but we live over here, in reality.
Instead, go to the nearest convenience store and buy five of the second-cheapest umbrellas. When they ring you up at the register, you'll have this one moment where you're like, "Holy sh*t, that was a lot of money to spend on umbrellas!" Ignore that voice. That voice was the old, immature you, who didn't understand things like planning for the future, spending what seems like a lot of money in order to save money in the long run, and buying umbrellas in bulk. Take three of your umbrellas to work and leave two at home. Forget about your umbrellas.
Then, when the next surprise rainy day strikes, not only are you set and don't have to care if you lose your umbrella — you're also ready to help your friend who forgot to bring an umbrella and is panicking about getting soaked on the way home. As she thanks you and promises to bring it back tomorrow, say "Sure, no big deal — I have a bunch of them." Repeat this process every year for the rest of your life, while marinating in your own smug sense of self-satisfaction.
2. Know What To Do When The Wine Cork Gets Stuck
We've all been to that party where the cork gets stuck in a bottle of wine, and some joker suggests that you just poke at the cork with a steak knife until it falls into the bottle. But what do you do then, hot shot? Just drink the wine with gross chunks of disintegrating corks in it? Why don't we just drink malt liquor out of a dog bowl and be done with it?!
If you want to avoid this sad, dog bowl-filled fate, there are a few things you can try. Before you go straight to poking at a stuck cork, try running the stuck cork under some hot water. This may loosen up the cork and make you able to remove it using a cork screw, instead of a knife and a mallet or however you like to do it.
If this doesn't work, and your only option is to pop the crumbly cork into the bottle, don't just resign yourself to a life full of cork-wine — place a fine colander over a pot, and then pour the wine out into it. The colander should pick up all the crumbled cork. If the idea of serving wine out of a pot is not the vision of adulthood that you were hoping for, just give the bottle a quick rise to get any stray cork wads out, and pour the wine back in with a small funnel, to avoid spilling wine all over the floor. That all took under five minutes, and now look at you! You're basically ready to run your own lifestyle website.
3. If Your Couch Is Ugly But Usable, Buy A Couch Cover
Listen, we can all dream of owning a couch that is pretty to look at and not so lumpy that it makes overnight guests who stay on it feel like they're sleeping on a pile of broken dishes and human sadness. But until that day, you can at least make your hideous couch look less hideous via a couch or futon cover. You can buy one in a color or fabric that you like, so that your couch feels more like one you picked out, and less like one you got for free from your old roommate because, and I quote, "Some guy spilled a whole thing of hot sauce on there, I think."
4. Rub A Bar Of Soap On A Stuck Zipper
You can also use lip balm in a pinch when your zipper is acting petulant. Zip the zipper all the way up if you can, rub your soap bar along the whole thing, and then very slowly start unzipping it. If it catches, stop for a second, rub the whole soap bar on the snagged spot, and begin slowly and gently unzipping again. Repeat every time the zipper snags.
If the jerk zipper is attached to something pricey, like a winter coat, take a trip to your local tailor or a dry cleaner that does clothing alterations — a lot of them do zipper repair, as well, which will be much cheaper than buying a new coat.
5. Buy A Big Jar Of Coconut Oil
You can use coconut oil to take off your makeup, moisturize your skin, condition your hair, and lubricate your pan while you're making pancakes. Basically, you can use coconut oil for everything short of paying off your student loans. But even if you don't want to use coconut oil on the daily for all these purposes, keep a jar around for emergencies — so that if you suddenly realize mid-shower that you're out of conditioner, or only notice that you're out of makeup remover after you totally botch your cat eyeliner, you won't be totally out of luck.
And here's a hint for using coconut oil: make sure that shizz is melted before you try to use it. Coconut oil is a solid that melts in your hand, so chip off a flake of it and let it melt in your palm before you use it for anything. If you try to apply solid chunks of coconut oil to your hair, it'll make your hair feel sticky.
6. Stock Up On Cold Weather Clothes When It's Warm
Every winter, I wear a pair of wool tights almost every day, so that by the time things get warm again in April, my tights usually have a fairly pornographic hole in the crotch and I have to throw them out.
If you have any item like this — tights, long underwear, or gloves that you use hard during the winter, and have to replace every year — buy new ones in the spring, when you throw out the old ones. This way, your warm items will be ready and waiting for you when the first day of the fall cold snap hits, and you won't have to spend a week shivering while you wait for your order of warm clothes to arrive. Plus, they'll probably be on sale.
7. Make Your Bed In The Morning
It takes about 30 seconds, and will impress anyone who sees it. I can't explain why; it's basically witchcraft, but it works.
Also, change your sheets at least every two weeks — dirty sheets can make your skin break out and trigger allergies. Set a reminder on your phone, because who notices how long their sheets have been on their bed?
8. Have Emergency Supplies On Hand
Did you know that being a hip, edgy, youthful-type person is not something you can use to barter for potable water in a disaster? So just get some emergency supplies.
Your emergency supplies don't have to be anything fancy — a few bottles of water, some batteries, a first aid kit, a flashlight and some non-perishable snacks will work. Stick them in an old backpack or cardboard box, and shove them someplace accessible yet unobtrusive (I have mine next to my coat rack).
Odds are, you'll never have to dip into your emergency supplies — but you will get to dip into a sense of satisfaction and superiority the next time a big hurricane is coming, and all your friends run to the grocery store after their moms send them panicked texts about getting emergency supplies, and when they get there, everything is sold out except tampons and vinegar.
9. Get Some Custom Paint
Let's just say, theoretically, your roommate nailed a bunch of stupid framed pictures to the wall even though you told her not to. And then let's say, theoretically, that when your roommate moved out, she patched up all the holes with white plaster and then just left them there, so that you now have giant white splotches all over your peach-colored walls.
What are your options? Repaint the whole room? Live with giant splotches staring you in the face and boring into your soul? Cover them up with those weird old timey French liquor posters that everyone had in college? Well, those are actually all fine and practical options. But before you decide, know that most big hardware stores can match the color of your existing paint, if you bring in a chip of it.
So chip off some paint from a hidden part of your wall, get it matched up, and then touch up your wall paint. You can read some tip on the best techniques for paint touch-ups online.
Again, of course, you shouldn't feel pressure to touch up your paint — or use any of the tips on this list. But if you feel like you're flailing on the adulthood front, give a few of these a test drive, and see how real adults feel: constantly as confused and terrified by life, but with nicely painted walls.
Images: Gabriel Santiago/ Unsplash; Giphy (9)