1. Getting A Job
Congratulations! You’ve managed to become a contributing member of society! Even if it’s just a temporary job at Best Buy to boost your résumé until you find a real job that suits your skillset, and you graduated a year and a half ago, at least you’re getting paid. I mean, the job market is still brutal. Most people would be more than happy to dish out facts about flat screens at Best Buy. Yeah. Keep reminding yourself of that. More than happy.
Whether you’ve started your career, or are just passing the time with hourly pay, the fact that you’re employed tells people that you are, at the very least, slightly motivated to survive. It’s still brutal trying to bring home girls from the bar when your parents are your roommates, though.
2. Moving Out Of Your Parents’ House
You’ve finally managed to save up enough dough to move out of your parents’ house. Sure, your one bedroom apartment is a shithole, you still regularly need assistance from your parents to pay bills, and you don’t own any furniture so you use a computer chair as a dinner table, but at least you’ve finally got your own place. All you have in the refrigerator is a three-week old gallon of milk and an empty pizza box, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now you can watch porn whenever you want, and no one can take that away from you.
Securing your own place of residence tells the world that you are at least making an attempt to appear to be an adult, and attempting to appear to be an adult is half the battle.
3. Becoming Financially Independent
You’ve either finally been cut off by the parentals, or gotten a pay raise that allows you to break the shackles of financial dependence. And to think you graduated just three short years ago. It’s funny, but you never realized how quickly things like car insurance and cell phone bills can add up. You’re probably going to have to cut down on unnecessary expenditures, and take a hard look at your cable bill that features every premium channel, but post-grad life is all about making sacrifices.
Don’t get a big head. Your dad still does your taxes. However, being financially independent is still a big step toward being taken seriously by friends and family.
4. Getting A Pet
The loneliness that comes with a quarter-life crisis finally got to you, so you made an impulse purchase and got a dog. Congratulations, you are barely mature enough to take care of yourself, and now another life is in your hands. You had a dog growing up, so you thought this would be easy, but you were wrong. Prepare to smell like piss and shit for months. The little bastard will probably eat your dinner table (computer chair) too, so you’ll need a backup place to eat.
Having a pet, and keeping it alive, tells people that you are probably a caring person, and might have a normally functioning brain.
5. Learning How To Present Yourself
You’ve delayed the inevitable for as long as possible, but it’s time to take the next step into the American business world. You’re a professional now, so you need to start looking like a professional. No longer will that half-assed bowl cut you’ve been rocking since the eighth grade pass as an acceptable hairdo. You find yourself a barber who has two good eyes and a full set of fingers, and cough up $50 twice a month for a dominant hairstyle that screams, “I make deals.” Now it’s time to pack up all your collegiate clothing, and drop that shit off at Goodwill. No, it’s not okay to save your favorite frat tee from 2006 and wear it to the grocery store. What if you run into your boss? Nobody takes the guy who wears an Office Hoes and CEO Bros t-shirt seriously. You’ll be the laughing stock of the office. Hit Jos. A Bank and buy yourself some acceptable business casual that fits into your pathetic budget.
Looking like you’ve got your shit together tells everyone you’re ready to leave college life behind, and become a real boy.
6. Getting A Girlfriend
You’re sick to death of every relative asking when you’re going to settle down with a nice girl. One-night stands are becoming a thing of the past with every passing year, and closing on strange isn’t the easy task it used to be in college. Women in the post-grad world demand to be taken seriously, or at least taken out to a reasonably priced dinner before disrobing so that you can poke around in their proverbial cubicle. So you nut up and start dating. When she asks why you don’t have any furniture, and you’re eating your meals off a computer chair, just lie and say you just moved and your breathtaking collection of antiques is in storage.
Having a girlfriend tells the world that you’re capable of successfully dividing your attention between your professional and personal life. Everyone is proud of you.
7. Purchasing A Car
That Tahoe your parents bought you in 2009 gets the job done, but it still stinks like beer and puke from that road trip you took for your football team’s bowl game during senior year. It’s time to up the ante. Odds are you’re going to get yourself into a lease that doesn’t quite fit into your budget, but fuck it. Everyone is in debt, right? What the hell is the point of all those credit cards if you can’t floss a little bit? Grab yourself a nice Toyota Camry with leather interior and satellite radio, and let all the bitches on the block know that you’re a man of means.
Purchasing your first car lets people know that you’re not afraid to let the bills pile up, and join the debt-plagued dregs of society.
8. Getting Married
Ah yes. Marriage. The ultimate sign of adult conformity. You found yourself a partner of the opposite sex (or the same sex, not that there’s anything wrong with that), and you’re ready to take the everlasting plunge of monogamy.
I think Alec Baldwin said it best in The Departed:
9. Purchasing A Home
You’ve made it. You’re living the American dream. You’re buying a fucking house. No longer will your meals be consumed in a dark apartment off a computer chair while watching reruns of 30 Rock on Netflix. You’re a man now, and men live in houses with wives and kids and animals running around and shitting everywhere.
Purchasing a home tells people exactly how much money you make.
10. Producing Offspring
Maybe it was on purpose, maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t really matter, because you’re having a baby. If you could ask the 21-year-old version of yourself if you’d have kids before you were 30, he would respond, “Are you out of your fucking mind?” and then shotgun another Keystone Light. None of that matters now. Brace yourself, because shit is about to get real. You thought cleaning up after that pet you got was a pain in the ass? You’re about to have a miniature human being on your hands that you’ll be one hundred percent responsible for.
Having a kid tells people that you’ve successfully made the transition into adulthood. Your days of never-ending Halo 4 marathons, binge drinking, and peaceful sleep are over. I’m praying for you.
For the record, I’ve only done 5 of the 10 things on this checklist, so I don’t know what happens after you’ve completed them all. I assume you just die. Be careful out there.