Being an adult means feeling totally confused when you remember that as a kid, you were looking forward to this.

I mean, sure, you get to pick your own bedtime now and watch as much TV as you want, but there are some um…downsides that child you probably wasn’t anticipating.

What is an adult problem that nobody prepared you for?
by inAskReddit

Let’s check in with the people of Reddit to see what caught them off-guard.

1. Putting up with the c**p

Having to put up with so much c**p from people in higher positions even though they’re less competent than you. Because you need that paycheck.

And as you get older, sometimes life circumstances trap you there.

– peuxcequeveuxpax

2. When does it start?

I’m not sure when I will start feeling like an adult. I’m 40, married, and own a house. But I don’t feel like an adult.

Maybe there’s a checklist or a guidebook I can read or something

– thecatsmeowings

3. Decisions, decisions

The number of decisions I have to make.

As a kid, you never have a lot of choice in what’s for dinner, what to do on the weekend, where you live, your household income, what to do when your vehicle makes a funny noise, etc.

Now that I have to look after all those things, I just wish someone would come along and tell me what to do half the time.

– ghostly_kitten

4. No safety net for sickness

Fearing getting sick and not having enough sick days, causing me to lose my job and the insurance that would’ve helped me get better from being sick.

And related, wondering why I lose so much of my paycheck to health insurance but then having to pay out of pocket and never hitting the maximum where my insurance actually pays anything.

– Tophertanium

5. Hours on the phone

Spending hours on the phone arguing with insurance companies, cell phone companies, telecom companies, student loan companies when they mischarge you.

– RosesFernando

6. Even when you’re right, things go wrong

I have posted this before but I was not prepared for making the sensible “right” decision my whole life and still have everything fall apart.

Lost my job, husband left, became a single parent, had major surgery, entered a pandemic, and had all 3 of my kids develop significant mental health issues.

– 143019

7. Living with regret

After growing up, I realized I was that bad kid/ friend.

I felt like s**t and wanted to apologize. I was just being me.

After growing up, you realize your personality, and try to tailor it more.

I remember going to an old friends house a decade later, my knocks were ignored.

I can hear the parents talking not to answer because it was me. I understood.. and never came back.


8. The fact it’s all a facade

Adults aren’t really more mature than most teenagers or twenty somethings in their early years, they just have more responsibilities to tend to and can’t indulge in all the stupid s**t they used to.

Sure some grow out of hobbies or interests but for every person who acts super mature I know people who just are basically responsible 15 year olds. My dad sure was one.

– TheNoidbag

9. The never-ending cleaning

I feel like I’m just cleaning all the time and the house it still the same level of dirty.

Or it looks really nice for maybe a couple hours.

Then meal time comes around or I spend some time on the couch (I’m not even doing anything how do I need to vacuum again already???) and BAM it’s a g**d**n mess again

– EntertheHellscape

10. The incessant flow of bills

Phone, water, electricity, insurance, rent/mortgage Also, college debt.

Oh, and dental care. Kurt Vonnegut had it right when he said the trouble with getting older is you outlive your teeth.

– Zealousideal_Hand693

11. Caring for yourself when you’re sick

Like when you were younger your parents would get the medicine, or the medicine cabinet would just be stocked all the time, etc.

But here I am with a cold having to build up the energy to go to the supermarket to buy some aspirin and throat lozenges all by myself.

– niwawhatuira

12. Careers

As a kid you hear ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and it’s always ‘nurse, doctor, fireman, game designer’ etc. Which is all so simple.

But then when you do start training/ working in that career and you realize you don’t like it.. it just feels like such a terrifying thing to now have to think of a new career identity.

I’m pretty sure most of us spend a lot of time working through this ‘c**p, my career isn’t viable, what do I do?’ and come to the conclusion that yeah, it actually does make you more sane working in a shop or whatever, then going home at night having paid the bills and not stressing.

It’s the realization that really takes time

– FoxesStoleMyGloves

13. A lack of community

Growing up you have your elementary school. Each day you see your friends and participate in activities together. Sometimes they move away and sometimes you do, but it largely stays the same through high school and middle school. Flash forward to adulthood and you’re just alone. You want to make friends IRL, but have no idea how to go about doing it without seeming creepy, desperate, or god knows what.

This is really hard when you are not overtly religious so you cannot join a religious community. My friend and I talk about this from time to time, it’s arguably the hardest thing to deal with in life. It gets worse the longer you live, as you know you are outliving your generation.

– Nevek_Green

14. Just deciding stuff

Making important life decisions.

When you’re young you have a safety net but when you’re an adult you’re taking on risk that can influence successive years of your life.

(Same goes for single vs family)

– Convex_Cube

15. Childish office politics

My first employer was a young tech company. Aside from the big wigs (president, vice president, etc) the majority of the company was younger than 30. And it was a blast. Everyone got along usually.

My current employer most people are above 40’s. And it is like high school drama all over again. So much political BS and the majority of leaders act like entitled children. So much scapegoating and name blaming. So many fake people and relationships.

I don’t get it.

– thed**thmachine

16. D**ths in the family

The d**th of the elder family and your rising name on that list. I was just ruminating earlier today with my station.

It feels like I was 20 just yesterday, but then suddenly I have an adult daughter, I’ve buried grandparents and a parent, and now more voices turn to me than I can turn to myself.

– zaxmaximum

17. Dealing with repairs

When to know a tradesman (plumber, auto mechanic, dentist, etc) is scamming you or actually doing their job.

You wanna give them the professional benefit of the doubt too, but s**t happens all the time.

Do i really have to be a Renaissance man in order to properly vet someone to do what they say they’re gonna do?

– YoureNotMom

18. All the errands

How much time you spend just doing stuff.

“Oh need to replace my tire and that’s over by the store, so while I replace the tire I can do some errands and I’ll save time and be home in no time” three hours later “Okay just one more errand before I head home”

Also how putting off a small task just a couple days in a row can quickly amount to a longer chore/responsibility later. “Eh I can just leave this in the sink, get to it later before bed” x 2 days “Why is this grime caked onto this plate still I’ve been scrubbing for 10 minutes straight!”

– whyImcalledqueen

19. The endless cleaning

I had chores when I was a kid, but I had zero clue how much actual work went into keeping house.

I cleaned my house this morning and by midweek it’ll be a war zone of pet hair, crumbs, and dust.

I don’t even have kids wtf it’s like the underpants gnomes show up when I’m asleep and f**k my house up

– Sn00dlerr

20. The isolation

You can go days on end without having to speak to a single person, at first it’s a dream come true, after about 2 months you start talking to your toaster to pad the silence while waiting for your toast.

– austinape9

21. Making friends is hard

How much harder it is to make friends.

I kinda feel like if you hadn’t already made some good friends by 25-26, you’ll end up stuck with superficial friendships.

– I_h**e_traveling

22. The lack of thinking skills

How uneducated people are.

Like, the complete lack of reasoning and critical thinking is astonishing.

You can’t even have a proper conversation with some people because they make up their minds and the conversation is over.


23. The childishness of other adults

I thought when I graduated from college the workplace would be full of serious people.

Oh god, was I wrong!

There is so much childish behavior with adults that it amazes me our society functions at all.

– eddyathome

24. Being on

Always having to be “ON”

At work you need to meet goals and be ON

At home with your kids you need to be ON

With your spouse you need to be ON.

I’m very fortunate that my wife and I can just sit and veg in complete silence for hours. And nobody is internally freaking out.

– [deleted user]

25. Just getting housing

“normal” housing becoming a luxury and designed for 2 people to split the bills. How is this normal?

People used to live in households where the wife didn’t work and raised 3 kids on a single income.

I make $50k a year and can’t afford to live on my own.

– monitorcable

26. Worry

Are the kids okay? Their grades, job, mental health? Can we make that bill this month? Is the dog getting sick?

Is that a lump I should worry about? Is Mum recovering from her fall? Did I remember to send flowers for the MILs birthday?

It never ends

– LadyMirkwood

27. Mental health

Mental health disorders and productivity.

I spent my whole hs and Uni years doing my bare minimum to have a good currículum and then discovered that my sh**ty time habits wouldn’t work in Adultland.

– Perless_cucumber

28. Single parenthood

The isolation of being a single dad. Single parents don’t have a fall back, someone to carry the load for a couple minutes while you decompress and jump back in the fray.

When your one deep – there is no break. When your not at work, your at home.

There is no going out, getting away, dating or adult time.

I’m rural and don’t have family or a sitter for my boys so it’s all on me.

– Bedeaux_Active_420

29. Becoming a parent to your parents

That moment when the switch is flipped between having parents who are vital and have their s**t together, and essentially becoming the parent to people who have significant health/memory issues.

Health decisions, bills, disposition of assets, paperwork…and that’s on top of your own life and responsibilities.

It’s stressful to navigate, and painful to watch.

– Organized_Khaos

30. Pants

When you’re a kid, you don’t wear out clothes, because in 6 months, you’ve outgrown them.

That slows down by the end of high school, and there’s this weird transitory period where you slowly discover that you’ve worn out tat really comfortable pair of jeans and have to replace them, and no, holding on for a little longer just isn’t an option.

– BitPoet

I’d rather just not deal with it anymore, honestly. Anybody got a de-aging potion on them?

What would you add to this list?

Tell us in the comments.