12 Signs You’ve Graduated From Your Early 20s



I bought this bar of sea salt soap over the weekend. It was meant to be a nice mini-gift for my parents — the type of thing that probably isn’t substantial enough to qualify as an actual present, but is something you might get for someone during a weekend getaway at one of those souvenir-y gift shops that only really exist in beach towns — where people like me feel guilty for leaving without buying anything, and thus decide to buy a bar of sea salt soap for their parents.

Longish story short, I ended up forgetting to give the bar of soap to my elders. (We got distracted by Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, and all of a sudden it was time to catch the train.) And since holding onto a bar of soap for 1-2 months seems like a pretty weird thing to do, I decided to keep the bar of soap for myself. I’m on day two of semi-luxurious soap, and already it’s proven to be a better investment than any shot of tequila ever has been, or ever will be.

Anyway, spending two paragraphs talking about a bar of sea salt soap seemed like a somewhat relevant way to start this article. Here are 12 more signs you’ve “graduated” from your early 20s:


1. The terror that is friends visiting for the weekend has decreased substantially:

 For one, the allure of the whole thing has naturally waned — despite the initial excitement, they’ve gotten to be too much time, stress, and money for anyone to handle. Hosting a friend for the weekend means that your weekend is completely compromised, and visiting a friend for the weekend means that you’ve surrendered both your free will and your monthly spending budget. It’s an exchange now only reserved for 1-2 close friends, and it’s probably better that way.

2. You’re at the same stage in your drinking career as 2015 Kobe Bryant:

There’s flashes of the old you, but forcing the issue will probably result in severe injury.

You look back at that 2009 title run, and have no idea how you really did it.

3. Your friend connection web has become slightly stressful:

Since the swamp of Facebook loops together everyone you’ve ever met, you now have your immature connections (friend from 7th grade who you cruelly teased substitute teachers with) roped into the same comment sections as your mature connections (superior at work who decides whether or not you get a raise…which determines whether or not you can renew your lease, which’ll probably determine the fate of your current not-a-relationship.)

This can all be quite anxiety-inducing.

4. You use buzzwords, and are serious about their synergistic upsides:

Right out of school, you probably scoffed at buzzwords. They’re a hilarious way of pretending to communicate, and a little part of you died inside every time you dropped the synergy bomb into an email.

You still find buzzwords very funny, but no longer hate yourself when employing them. Buzzwords pay the bills.

5. You’re beginning to frequent bars where people actually sit at the bar:

Less Zedd, more Elton John.

6. Kids are far away. Sort of:

Articles like this one are annoying in the sense that they implicitly tell you what you’re supposed to be doing relative to a majority that is both everybody and nobody. Having kids, for instance, is something that is closer to the majority, but some idiot on the internet telling you when you’re gonna start thinking about having kids seems pretty hilarious.

Anyway, I recently had lunch with an older friend, and he was talking about moving out of the city and trying to have kids. Granted he’s the other side of 30, but these are conversations that are now being conducted — and are temporally closer than planning your high school’s senior class prank.

7. You might talk loudly about your obsessive hobby:

I’ve personally read about 495x more than I did when I was in college. It’s become an increasing obsession — I’m reading entire catalogs of authors I’ve always wanted to read, and am beginning to reward myself with being able to read (for instance, if I clean my room, I get to spend X amount of time reading).

I’ve noticed many of my peers have taken up somewhat of a similar obsessive-hobby. Cooking seems to be a big one — as is beer-brewing, or Cross-Fit. It’s the obsession aspect that I find interesting; the compulsion feels unhealthy, but it’s clearly a positive way to channel anxieties and a certain type of stress that seems to have only appeared in the past few years.

8. Living alone used to seem super sad:

Now, it’s definitely a dream.

9. I don’t think you’re allowed to get through an article like this one without talking about marriage:

Or bachelor parties, or other things relating to the fact that you or people you know are willingly embracing permanent monogamy.

(At least for now.)

I think what happens here is that you go to your first wedding/bachelor party, are all excited about the event and prospect of participating in such a joyous union, and then suddenly realize weddings are also incredibly skilled checking account assassins.

I’m pretty sure the reason people give up their dreams of being a musician and fully embrace that ad sales job they were about to leave is because they have way too many weddings coming up.

10. You know pop-culture, but can pretend not to:

If you always have been, you’re probably still pretty up to date with the current trends and chart-toppers. Furthermore, you or someone you know has probably written a verbal thesis on how good that new Nick Jonas song is.

But at the same time, you’re making the types of references you laughed at your dad for making in 1999. For instance, Craig Krenzel and Maurice Clarrett were pretty spectacular during last night’s NCAA National Championship game.

11. Nothing sounds worse than trying to “rally”:

I met up with some college buddies recently. I wasn’t looking to go out (it was the weekend after New Years), so one of my friends and I strategically planned the evening so that dinner was “the thing.” Had the dinner been at 7:30 instead of 9:30, there certainly would have been pressure to “rally,” or to head to a bar for a drink or two. But with dinner being so late, it was socially acceptable for us to part ways after our meal.

Everyone seemed pretty thrilled about it, and I’m looking forward to many more evenings in which dinner is “the thing.”

12. Obligatory thing about trying to learn about and distinguish wine:

Is there an age where people suddenly are expected to know the adjectives that go along with certain wines, or are 31 year-olds just better at pretending? Looking forward to finding out.