10 Things We Thought Would Happen In Our 20s But Didn’t—Let’s All Laugh

When we’re children, being an adult seems fun and glamorous, but when we actually grow up, we realize it’s not all that simple. Here are a few things we used to believe about our 20s that ended up being totally wrong—let’s all collectively laugh at our pain together.

  1. We’d do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted and answer to no one. We all had those moments as children when our mother told us to clean our room and we thought, “One day, I won’t have to do what you tell me.” While we may not necessarily have to answer to our mothers anymore but that doesn’t mean we still don’t have to take orders. Now, we take demands from our bosses and not answering could mean losing our jobs rather than being grounded for two weeks.
  2. We’d have everything figured out and our acts together. As we’re scrolling through our news feed, it may appear that everyone has it all figured out, but the reality is that we’re all stumbling through life learning as we go along. Especially when we’re in our 20s, being an adult is a mixture of googling “how to” and calling our mothers for advice. We shouldn’t be too concerned that we aren’t sure where our lives are headed or what we’ll be doing five years from now. It’s smart to try and plan for the future, but it’s impossible to plan for everything.
  3. We’d be married and have kids by 25. When we’re kids playing house, the idea of being a mother at a young age doesn’t sound too bad. After all, we enjoyed playing with our baby dolls and that wasn’t hard considering they didn’t milk and never kept us up all night. Now, the idea of settling down and having children too early is enough to make us want to purchase a chastity belt.
  4. We could buy whatever we wanted with our endless cash. There were probably multiple times in the grocery aisle where we asked our parents for candy, toys, or Little Debbie cakes and they gave us a stern no. We walked the aisles, staring fondly at all the goodies, thinking to ourselves that when we got older, we’d buy all the treats we wanted. Not only do we know now that all the extra junk food is detrimental to our health, but we simply don’t have the funds to make it rain at the cash register.
  5. We’d be incredibly successful in our careers. We just KNEW at a young age that when we grew up, we’d be totally successful at whatever dream job we had our hearts set on at the time (most likely a movie star or singer). The truth is that this isn’t a reality for most because success is a mixture of who you know and years of hard work. In our 20s, we’re most likely hunting for an entry-level position or getting your foot in the door.
  6. We’d own an incredible home of our own. Owning a home in your 20s is so far-fetched that it’s almost laugh-out-loud ridiculous. The reality for most 20-somethings is renting a house or apartment while trying to build that pesky thing called credit as we live paycheck to paycheck. The beautiful Victorian home with multiple bathrooms and a fireplace that we imagined will just have to wait.
  7. We’d travel the world 24/7. The harsh reality of money is usually foreign to most children, which is why parents often reiterate the cliche “money doesn’t grow on trees.” If it did, we would have most certainly planted multiple money trees in our backyards by now. Most people don’t have the funds to travel out of the country, not to mention the time we’d have to take off work. It hurts our wallets enough taking time off when we’re sick and the thought of a weeks-long vacation out of the country is nothing more than a pipe dream at this point. That $1,000 round trip plane ticket will have to wait.
  8. We’d be done with school forever. For most children, school is the dullest day-after-day activity they have to suffer and long for the day they can move that tassel at graduation. However, once we hit high school, we realize we have a whole 4+ years of school ahead of us, depending on what career path we choose. Even when we’re officially done with school, we still have jobs that we must report to day after day.
  9. We’d grow up to be tall, thin, and supermodel beautiful. While we may often feel pressure from society to be a stick thin, 5’9″, sun-kissed goddess with legs for days, these standards are typically unattainable. We realize now that the women we’ve grown up seeing in magazines don’t even look like those glossy photos. Absolutely every small imperfection has been airbrushed and tucked to give off the idea that flawless beauty is attainable. We now know that all we can do in life is try to live a healthy life and love the bodies we have.
  10. There’ll be no more family obligations to attend. As kids, we’d much rather spend the evening in our rooms watching television or playing video games rather than spending time with family we rarely see and whose names we can’t remember. Now, we still have to attend those family functions, only now we have to work around an even more hectic schedule. If we’re married, well, that’s just another family whose social functions we have to mark on our calendars.
Emily is a freelance writer living in Tennessee. She received her degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. In her free time, she enjoys playing Pokemon and cuddling her two cats. Follow her on Instagram at @nillacat