It feels like we all spent half of our childhood dreaming about what being an adult would be like so that we could finally do everything we wanted to do. But now that we actually are grown up, it feels like the adulthood we idealized was definitely not the reality we got.
Reddit user u/Due_Winner_2026 recently asked, "As a child, what did you think would be awesome about being an adult, but isn’t as awesome as you thought it would be?" Here are a few responses:
1. "Not having a bed time. It fucking turns out...you actually need one."
"I used to think 'I'll get to stay up late every day!' I'm in bed by 10 p.m. most nights."
2. "'I'll get to eat whatever I want every day!' Yeah, and you also have to pay for it and/or cook it yourself, dipshit."
"I get to decide what I want for dinner each day! Except, now I have to put thought into what I'm going to eat each day. And then I have to cook it."
4. "I thought getting mail was so cool as a kid. Now as an adult, I realize that it’s only bills."
5. "Vacations. I never realized how stressful the thought of taking one would be. Saving money that could be used elsewhere, the planning, what if the car breaks down, will the cats be fed? etc."
6. "Sick days. Taking days off work as an adult is miserable. You’re home the whole day feeling terrible, and chores and work are racking up while you’re too sick to move. Sometimes if you work hourly, it means you won’t get paid for the day and you really need the money. No one makes your food, no one brings you meds or tucks you in. Plus, now with COVID-19, you’re often expected to work the whole day from home anyway even if you’re too sick to function. Then you have to spend days catching up on everything the second you start feeling better even though you definitely aren’t 100% yet. I hate being sick as an adult."
7. "Back in the '90s, there was a girl at my school who had her own private landline and one of those transparent plastic phones, which seemed so cool and grown-up! Now I cringe every time the phone rings."
8. "Working. Everyone makes it seem like a such a cool concept. Be cool, independent, and everything. Nobody fucking talks about the toll it takes on you. Nobody."
9. "I couldn't wait to be living alone as a kid, but now I've come to realize there is nothing more precious than a mom or dad's hug, them randomly bringing a bowl of fruit for you in the day. Their company doesn't leave room for sadness to even exist No one would do that for you, man."
10. "Not having a dedicated nap time each day. I used to hate thinking that I needed a nap. Now, I really do need one. Oh, those were the days, man. How wrong I was."
11. "Having guests. I thought it would be awesome, but in reality, I barely ever invite anyone to my home. Half of the people closest to me have never been to my home. I had that when I lived with my parents, my friends called my home their second home. I thought it would be even better when I had my own place, but I don't know why, I just never felt comfortable with having people over in my own home."
13. "The freedom to do anything I wish. As an adult, the realization that there is so much choice, but so little time paralyzes me. Too much choice can lead to indecisiveness."
14. "I couldn’t wait to decorate my own place. Now while shopping, I’ll pick up a throw pillow or blanket, cringe at the price tag and put it back. Do I really need a Halloween pillow just for one season that costs that much?"
15. "I waited for a really long time to finally feel 'mature' or 'grown-up' myself. It never happened the way I imagined it to happen. Yeah, I learned a few hard lessons and got a bit wiser, but there was never a time when I suddenly did not feel like my child-self anymore."
16. "Having an important job where people rely on you. Man, I used to think that was so boss. Like, how awesome would it feel to be so important and smart? It never occurred to me that's exactly why my parents were always in a bad mood when they came home from work."
17. "Puberty. Like having a mature body. Because of all the movies where it happens, I thought I would have this glow up and have this 'femme fatale' kind of body pretty much overnight and lose the chubbiness and every insecurity I had."
$100 could buy me an entire toy store as a kid but doesn’t even cover 10% of my rent as an adult."