According to Amanda: Coming To Terms With Adulthood


Staff Writer

The most important things in life aren’t learned in school.  I’m not talking about how “love is all that matters in the end,” or “kindness is the most important gift.”  No, I’m talking about the things that no one ever bothered to teach me – like how to balance a check book, what the term ‘media mail’ means or how to line up my tires correctly when I go through a car wash.  

All those things that I never paid attention to as a child were never taught in school.  This collection of things that everyone seems to know how to do, but no one actually learned.  I think it’s called “adulthood.”

The first time I faced “adulthood” I was 18 and alone for the first time.  It was my first month of college, and I wanted to return a textbook to Amazon.  To do this, I thought I had to go to the post office.  

In theory, I knew exactly how post offices operated.  You bring the mail, they send the mail and it ends up at the correct address.  

In reality, though, I’d never been to the post office.  Naïvely, I wasn’t worried – that quickly changed when I walked in with my little English 1101 book tucked under my arm and was faced with a wall of packages.  I just grabbed the closest one to me that seemed like a reasonable size.  I realized I’d made a very wrong choice when the woman behind the desk rang it up for $35.95.  

I struggled to pay a dollar at the vending machine in the basement of my dorm – no way was I shelling out over thirty bucks for postage.  

Turns out, it was a Super Express Priority Overnight Guarantee Will-Be-Delivered-Via-Private-Jet package.  My bad.  

Sheepishly, I took it back to its cubby on the wall and grabbed a big, padded envelope instead, which seemed more appropriate.  That one rang up a little more than twenty dollars.  Strike two.  

I put that one back and hesitantly moved toward another package.  I looked over at the woman behind the counter – she just shook her head and waved me back up to the counter.  She then informed me that I probably needed to send my book via ‘media mail,’ which was the cheapest option.  Turns out, most people just use their own box – just have to add the packaging slip, which I did have. I wasn’t totally unprepared. 

As I was leaving the post office, only out a little more than six dollars, I wondered what other glaring gaps in knowledge I had lurking. As it turns out, there were quite a few.  

I found another the first time I filled out a check. The signature goes on the right side.  Another turned up the first time I went through a car wash. It only took me three times to get my tires lined up properly.  I can sense more will appear in the near future when I move into my first apartment. Are utilities ever included?  

The older I get, the more convinced I become that “adulthood” has less to do with age, and more to do with how many knowledge gaps you’ve filled.  

Unless I’ve just revealed to you another knowledge gap, in which case, I suppose you can expect a retraction when I figure out what “adulthood” actually means.