“What Is An Adult Problem You Were Not Prepared For?”: 55 Honest Responses

Truth time, Pandas: being an adult is super difficult. I know, I know, this isn’t anything stellar or groundbreaking, but it’s the truth. Frankly, schools and universities ought to have courses on how to be an adult. I for one would have gone to every single seminar because there were tons of things I had no idea about: from how to correctly pay taxes to how looking for a job actually works and beyond.

It’s stressful, it’s overwhelming, and it might make you want to hide away from all of life’s responsibilities (at least for a little while). What do you mean, I have to cook, exercise, work, study, maintain my social life, and aim for my dreams at the same time?! Isn’t that a tad too much for a single person to handle? And that doesn't even cover the emotional challenges that come with dealing with true loss as we grow older.

Redditors have been discussing the adult problems they weren’t prepared for in a viral thread and we’ve collected some of the best comments. Have a read through them below and let us know which ones you agree with, Pandas. I know that I’ve run into most (if not all) of these problems when I made the jump from ‘teenager’ to ‘clueless young adult.’ Odds are, so have you.


How often you have to clean to maintain a clean house.

Image credits: DecadenceXO


Losing people. Loved ones passing away is the hardest. Then there’s the nasty breakdown of personal relationships, family relationships and friendships. Then there’s the sad drifting apart that happens when life takes you on a different path to a person you were once really close to.

Image credits: BlackCaaaaat


Aging parents

Image credits: dabocake

The biggest luxuries that adults have are, hands down, time and energy. Without either one of them, you’re likely to get stuck in a monotonous routine of food-work-TV, seemingly, without a way out. And that… that can be demotivating. However, there are ways around this conundrum.

Certified career coach Rita Friedman told Bored Panda that the very first thing that we should think about is what we would use the extra time and energy for if we had it. That’s the first step! Without knowing exactly what your priorities in life are (family, hobbies, health, whatever else you might be interested in), you might not spend your extra time well even if you had it.


Dealing with your parents acting like children.

Image credits: rchaw


People rely on you. Both your parents and your kids. You become the filling in a responsibility sandwich and the weight of it is crushing at times.

Image credits: smolspooderfriend


Trying to make friends

Image credits: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/gzytb3/comment/ftj2db0/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

The Covid-19 pandemic brought about a significant change in the way that people work. Specifically, plenty of people were asked to work from home if possible. While many folks have returned to the offices as the coronavirus vaccines have been rolled out, plenty of employees still work from home, either full-time or part-time. Though some companies are very wary of allowing their employees to work from home for a variety of reasons.

One of the main disadvantages of working from the office, according to many employees, is the fact that they waste a lot of time and energy commuting to and from work. Time that could be spent with one’s family or, heck, even getting more sleep.


Preparing for retirement. Of course everyone knows they will stop working at some point but now that I’m 40, it feels like I really need to get it together. Am I going to continue bad habits that negatively impact my health or will I finally make changes to be healthier later?

My new favorite worry - will I really have enough money to retire AND live comfortably enough to have a good of quality life? 10 years ago this all seemed so far away. Now, it feels like I’m speeding to the next phase of my life.

Image credits: LizLemonSpaceman


Back hurting just from sleeping wrong

Image credits: badninj4


Going from having tons of friends to really having no one.

Image credits: eternalrefuge86

According to career coach Rita, we should ask ourselves if there’s some way that we could accomplish at least some of our goals on our commute. For instance, if we think that we never have enough time to read, we could try reading a book while on the bus or train. “Or could you shuffle some other responsibility to your commute to free up bandwidth during your downtime?” Rita asked.

Unfortunately, you can’t exactly do a lot of the things you’d like during your commute. For instance, you really shouldn’t be doing anything else if you’re behind the wheel of your car. Or if you’ve got a penchant for art, it’s not like you can show off your water-coloring skills on the underground train.


How ignorant so many people are. And seemingly pleased with being so


How f**king dark life actually is. Like, is this all we do, just grind away at jobs we try to care about, but no one else cares about, barely able to afford our bills/houses/debts, constantly struggling with relationships and trauma and watching our political system fail us, our country fail us, our systems fail us, like... this life is not what happy, adolescent me dreamed it would be. Sorry to get real dark on y’all.


Falling in love at an older age but watching life speed by so fast.

Wished I’d met her 30 years ago.

Image credits: NightMgr

That’s why career coach Rita suggests that if combining your commute with your goals and passions simply “doesn’t make sense,” the next “least drastic action” you could do would be to see if you can work remotely. At least some of the time!

“Maybe if you only had to do your commute 60% of the time it would be much more manageable,” Rita said that working remotely even part-time could open up a lot of new possibilities and help manage your time. However, this free time might not be enough for everyone. In that case, you need to seriously consider what’s best for you to live your best life.


My job is destroying my mental health but I need a job so I can pay my bills.

If I reduce my hours for better work/life balance, I lose my insurance during a global pandemic.

Image credits: Qjfomentl


Adults never actually growing up.

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Cliques and bullies are just as bad in the office as they were in school.

Image credits: pulpexploder

“But if it really comes down to finding a way to end your commute entirely, you might need to transfer, find a new job, or make a move,” she said that in rare cases, you should consider more drastic changes in your life if you want to save more time traveling to and from work.


Dealing with untreated childhood trauma.

Image credits: caelosentire


How quickly fruits and vegetable actually go bad when you buy them yourself

Image credits: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/gzytb3/comment/ftjccr8/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3


I lost my wife of 35 years. There is no way to prepare and really no way to describe that loss

Image credits: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/gzytb3/comment/ftjt5ti/?utm_source=reddit&utm_medium=web2x&context=3


The increasing speed of passing years.

Having nieces only makes the problem worse. Their age and the perceived number of years past doesn't align at all for me

Image credits: QuarantineTitans


Not being able to sleep due to stress. Yet here I lay, exhausted but wide awake.

When I was younger I could sleep anytime, anywhere.


Realizing some friends are s***ty and you shouldn't be friends with them anymore

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The depression dude, the depression

And the feeling of loneliness, even when you have people around you.


Not being able to leave a job you hate because you might just become homeless without it

Image credits: Go_J


Dental costs. Not only is it just expensive it is so much more choice. Unlike say a broken arm where you have to get it fixed a chipped tooth or other minor need is on you even the dentist will be like "up to you man". Then on top of that the insurance for dental is just about the worst thing on the planet, it also seems arbitrary. 900 dollar night guard that doesnt actually fix the problem and will likely still lead to major issues in the future sure no problem insurance paid in full. 2000 on realignment to actually fix the thing causing the grinding issue? No way in hell, you are over 19!

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The snowball effect of poverty. Every major bill or unexpected emergency ($500+) takes you back 6 months to a year. It feels like you're on an escalator made of mud.


Deciding what to eat for 3 meals a day 7 days a week

Image credits: coltonious



Arthritis is f**king horrible and early onset autoimmune arthritis is worse than just having an ache in one or two joints. I hurt all the time, everywhere, and everyone just assumes you're faking it or you're a pill popper. I am not going to live another 20 years with this pain like my dad did

Image credits: porcelina99


Having others rely on you as an emotional ballast. I can barely stay sane myself, let alone carry the weight of someone else's sanity.

Image credits: unknown


The amount of family get togethers you don’t want to go to after you get married.


Dealing with people, so stressful


The lack of clear objectives in life. As a kid, your parents tell you to do x so you can do y. School is about chasing grades and measured accomplishments with clear and distinct steps to success. After school, it’s all fucking arbitrary. Yeah, people say work hard so you can make money, but there’s no clear pathways. Everything seems circuitous and having goals barely helps inform how to achieve them. Also, you can work your fucking ass off and still be broke.


You can work full time and still not have enough money for everything you need. I never worried about that as a kid because I always figured I have a good job (and I do!)


The ignorance of people in high places. I used to think at a younger age that someone was where they were due to being the best person for that position or the most qualified. Now I see its more about who you know, tenure, false perceptions, and ratios to name a few.


The lack of time for myself. Life is all work, housework, yard work, child care, bills, emails, phone calls...

Image credits: HawaiianShirtsOR


Having a presentable place, and debating myself on why it matters. It always frustrated me when my parents had a guest over and we had to deep clean the whole house. Like if it’s my close friend of 8 years visiting, why do I care what they care about my cleanliness? And yet, every time people are over I find myself cleaning the apartment up for some reason.


It's entirely possible to lose your job through no fault of your own



Image credits: icantwithlyf


How quickly your knees will age.

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In my mind, my Momma should be about 40. She has always seemed to be so strong but sometimes I want to fall apart when I see her take several attempts to stand up or make excuses about driving on the interstate. She will be 70 soon but to me, she is still young. I don't know what I'll ever do without her.

Image credits: LG0110


Just how hard it is to lose weight once you're past your 20's.


The constant obsessive feeling that I'm fast running out of time to have an enjoyable life even though I'm only in my twenties

Image credits: DeathBat92


Having to have a genuine purpose in life


How expensive living is. I worked all through high school, but my only "bill" was the gas I put in my car. 30 hours a week on minimum wage goes a long way on shopping sprees and nail salons when you don't have any other expenses. I developed nasty spending habits, not the "value of a hard-earned dollar" my parents were hoping for.

I'm not in crippling debt or anything, but sometimes having to spend money on groceries or utilities depresses me more than it rationally should.

Image credits: isweatglitter17



It never ends.


How expensive lamps are

Image credits: heyitsbev



When I would drink a lot during college I would wake up the next and feel totally fine. Thought maybe I was immune to hangovers, then at some point in my late 20s they started to hit me and hit me hard.


Being able to not cook the same meal everyday while balancing hundreds of other tasks. I will always admire my mom for how she was able to cook, have a clean house, work 43 hours and help her children do homework all while taking time to work out at the end of everyday.

I could mention other common problems like money management and common tasks that I haven't mastered, but what really hit me like a train was the actual transition of adulthood. Im talking about having to make my own appointments and having to keep tabs on myself instead of handing every single document to my mom. I realized how unorganized I was when I found my birth certificate in the same drawer where i have junk receipts.


Crippling loneliness and romantic rejections. Muh heart is just dead, and now I feel empty inside.


The utter soul crushing search for a job


No one telling you to stop procrastinating


The moment you really realize that you’ll be working almost every day for the rest of your life.. not that work is bad, but it’s a very daunting thought


How much freaking money I’d have to spend on toilet paper, and this was a decade BEFORE Covid 19 TP hysteria.


You have to buy insurance but can never use the insurance or else no one will sell you insurance.


The endless teeny tiny implications of adult freedom.

"You have your own medical insurance plan now, you need to pick a primary care physician."

Ok who should I pick?

"Up to you"

But like where should I start, how do i know which doctor to choose?

"Up to you"

How do other people find one?

"They just pick the one they like"

I don't know any of these doctors!


Being sued