This weekend, all over the country, teenagers are graduating from high school. They've been told they're adults now, and they probably believe it, but we all know that's not true.
What they're about to be is college students, followed by a life stage called twentysomething that those of us who didn't get married at 21 experience. It's that period in life where you have all of the responsibilities of adulthood without any of the sense of responsibility of actual adulthood. That awkward transition where one minute you're sitting in an important business meeting and the next you're shooting your friend in the face with a Nerf gun.
The difference between an adult and a twentysomething are pretty clear.
Child: Your mom makes doctor and dentist appointments for you.
Adult: You make doctor and dentist appointments for yourself.
Twentysomething: You don't go to the doctor or dentist for several years and figure you probably won't die.
Child: You don't know what a 401(k) is.
Adult: You know how much you're contributing to your 401(k) each month, how much interest you earned in the last quarter and what your company match is.
Twentysomething: You have a 401(k) because you were feeling more responsible than usual when you were signing papers for your new job so you checked a box that said you wanted one, but now when you look at your paycheck each month you just think about how much pizza that money would buy instead.
Child: Your mom tells you that you can't get new glasses for another month because something about health insurance.
Adult: You wait to get new glasses for another month because you know your insurance won't pay for an eye exam until the new calendar year.
Twentysomething: "Health insurance? Yeah I think I have some of that. Do you think it'll pay for this?"
Child: Your mom does the dishes every day and sometimes you help.
Adult: You do the dishes every day.
Twentysomething: You pick up fast food on the way home because every plate in your house is dirty and ain't nobody got time to do a week's worth of dishes on a Friday night.
Child: Your parents take care of all things car-related.
Adult: You keep your car well-maintained, understand the details of your car insurance coverage and know what to do when a tail light goes out.
Twentysomething: You suspect you should probably get your oil changed but you have no idea when the last time you went in is and you're not even really sure how often it's supposed to be changed in the first place.
Child: You get excited if your parents tell you a piece of mail is addressed to you.
Adult: You promptly open all mail and then properly discard the junk mail and take care of the bills.
Twentysomething: You get pulled over for letting your tags expire and realize you probably should have opened that letter from the DMV that you vaguely remember throwing in your mail pile a month ago.
Child: Your mom drops you off for playdates then spends the whole time talking to your friend's mom while you play.
Adult: You answer the door, graciously welcome your guests to your dinner party, offer to take their coats for them and accept the gift they brought.
Twentysomething: You yell "Come in!" when someone knocks on your door and then go back to watching your movie, figuring one of your friends got bored and decided to come hang out.
Child: Your talk to your friend about her "boyfriend" who asked her through a note in class yesterday if she wanted to go out and hasn't actually talked to her since.
Adult: You're settled down with a spouse and kids.
Twentysomething: The person you like starts texting you every day and then asks if you want to hang out and you start to panic because it occurs to you that the only two options are that it doesn't work out or you stay with that person for the rest of your life and both ideas seem equally terrifying.
Child: Your mom does your laundry for you.
Adult: You do several loads of laundry each week.
Twentysomething: You bring two suitcases full of dirty clothes home when you visit your parents for the weekend because you know your mom will not only offer to do your laundry but also bleach all of the whites you keep throwing in with your colored clothes because you don't want to pay for an extra load to separate out a shirt and three pairs of socks.
Child: You beg your mom to buy sugared cereal when you go with her to the grocery store.
Adult: You buy Raisin Bran because it's healthy and you're down to only three extra boxes of cereal in the pantry.
Twentysomething: You grab some Captain Crunch because you remember you ate Oreos for breakfast the last two mornings because you were out of cereal.