This is Why I'll Never be an Adult

I have repeatedly discovered that it is important for me not to surpass my capacity for responsibility.  Over the years, this capacity has grown, but the results of exceeding it have not changed.

Normally, my capacity is exceeded gradually, through the accumulation of simple, daily tasks.


But a few times a year, I spontaneously decide that I'm ready to be a real adult.  I don't know why I decide this; it always ends terribly for me.  But I do it anyway.  I sit myself down and tell myself how I'm going to start cleaning the house every day and paying my bills on time and replying to emails before my inbox reaches quadruple digits.  Schedules are drafted.  Day-planners are purchased.  I stock up on fancy food because I'm also planning on morphing into a master chef and actually cooking instead of just eating nachos for dinner every night.   I prepare for  my new life as an adult like some people prepare for the apocalypse.

The first day or two of my plans usually goes okay.


For a little while, I actually feel grown-up and responsible.  I strut around with my head held high, looking the other responsible people in the eye with that knowing glance that says "I understand.  I'm responsible now too.  Just look at my groceries."

At some point, I start feeling self-congratulatory.


This is a mistake.  

I begin to feel like I've accomplished my goals.  It's like I think that adulthood is something that can be earned like a trophy in one monumental burst of effort and then admired and coveted for the rest of one's life.  


What usually ends up happening is that I completely wear myself out. Thinking that I've earned it, I give myself permission to slack off for a while and recover. Since I've exceeded my capacity for responsibility in such a dramatic fashion, I end up needing to take more recovery time than usual. This is when the guilt-spiral starts.  

The longer I procrastinate on returning phone calls and emails, the more guilty I feel about it.  The guilt I feel causes me to avoid the issue further, which only leads to more guilt and more procrastination.  It gets to the point where I don't email someone for fear of reminding them that they emailed me and thus giving them a reason to be disappointed in me.  

Then the guilt from my ignored responsibilities grows so large that merely carrying it around with me feels like a huge responsibility.  It takes up a sizable portion of my capacity, leaving me almost completely useless for anything other than consuming nachos and surfing the internet like an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP. 


At some point in this endlessly spiraling disaster, I am forced to throw all of my energy into trying to be an adult again, just to dig myself out of the pit I've fallen into. The problem is that I enter this round of attempted adulthood already burnt out from the last round. I can't not fail.  


It always ends the same way.  Slumped and haggard, I contemplate the seemingly endless tasks ahead of me. 


And then I rebel.  

848 comments:

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Anonymous said...

so funny!! love it!!

Elf said...

Perfect! (Friend on facebook posted a link to this post. Nailed it!)

Jose said...

Awesome post. So true. Oh you must have done so much introspection to nail it so good.

jose

brokenbiro said...

I think I must have multiple personality thingio and write this without knowing.... this is soooooo me. And I'm tremendously encouraged that hundreds of people love this because it makes me feel less like a loser.

mgriffinjewelry said...

Oh wow- I'm glad to know I'm not alone. I have been thrown into being a psuedo-housewife role b/c I moved across country with my new husband. EXCEPT I don't like/can't cook, I like to shop and drink and not pay bills on time, then i think shit I should be some sort of fucking adult now, huh. Guilt spiral, failed attempts, mess, internet, it all says game over, try again??

Gigi said...

ummmm??? Allie? I miss you. Where have you been?

Was listening to a radio show today and someone called in by the name of Allie - and she so made me think of you (especially once she started talking - totally how I imagine you would sound!).

I'm sure you are super busy trying to be a grown up and all (which is totally over-rated; just so you know....) but I just wanted to let you know how much you are missed in blog-land. x

Annelise said...

You make work tolerable. Thank you.

Jess said...

Personally, I can't see how being an adult can really help the world...Being a pirate, on the other hand would be awesome! I wish I was in a crew of pirates. I could pillage, plunder, rape and sail the open oceans without a care in the world....except for other ...pirates, but I'd be able to fight them off, on account of my superior pirate-crew (which I will choose based on general swash-bucklingness, handsomeness, comradery and crafty fighting skill - the kind where you're merely hoisting a sail and, OOPS just stabbed you in the kidney), the speed of my ship and my all-round nautical knowledge. You could have a sister pirate crew and ship. And anytime you wanted, you could come aboard my pirate ship and look at my treasure and booty (it's like beyonce's ;) ). I might even let you take some cool looking things, I'm sure my handsome pirate crew wouldn't mind. And if you ever got chased by a sea-monster or any sort of bad-ocean-thing, my crew would ...protect you with our cannons, muskets, swords and stabbing sticks (for those that don't have swords). We may even have some snake-bayonettes. I came up with an epic idea the other day, where you tape a knife to a snake's head, and then train it to slither around and stab people. I thought it would probably work better if you had a jumping snake, because then it could do more than just highly poisoned ankle wounds.

And THEN we could each find a Jack Sparrow (not a Will Turner - he was a bit gay. All he could do was fall for people's tricks and make swords), then own the ocean. THEN if we wanted too, we could summon up calypso and make her dance for us, and maybe she could turn us into mermaids, and then we could live under the sea and sing with all the merpeople, fish and crabs. ahhh what a life...

Jess said...

Personally, I can't see the fun in being an adult at all. Really, you're just making society more and more boring. Being a pirate, on the other hand, would be awesome!

I wish I was in a crew of pirates. I could pillage, plunder, rape and sail the open oceans without a care in the world....except for other pirates, but I'd be able to fight them off, on account of my superior pirate-crew (which I will choose based on general swash-bucklingness, handsomeness, comradery and crafty fighting skill - the kind where you're merely hoisting a sail and, OOPS just stabbed you in the kidney), the speed of my ship and my all-round nautical knowledge. You could have a sister pirate crew and ship, and you could come aboard my pirate ship and look at my treasure and booty (it's like beyonce's ;) ) anytime you wanted. I might even let you take some cool looking things, I'm sure my handsome pirate crew wouldn't mind. And if you ever got chased by a sea-monster or any sort of bad-ocean-thing, my crew would protect you with our cannons, muskets, swords and stabbing sticks (for those that don't have swords). We may even have some snake-bayonettes.
(I came up with an epic idea the other day, where you tape a knife to a snake's head, and then train it to slither around and stab people. I thought it would probably work better if you had a jumping snake, because then it could do more than just highly poisoned ankle wounds.)

And THEN we could each find a Jack Sparrow (not a Will Turner - he was a bit gay. All he could do was fall for people's tricks and make swords). Well, I could, you can just give Boyfriend a pirate hat and a sword. THEN if we wanted too, we could summon up calypso and make her dance for us, and maybe she could turn us into mermaids, and then we could live under the sea and sing with all the merpeople, fish and crabs. ahhh what a life...

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

The clean all the things picture made me laugh out loud. I love it. PS Will check your blog next time I am up at 3:16 am. Been there.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely hilarious and totally describes my life

MonkeyHandler said...

You're just like me, except thinner, blonder, younger, funnier....

This was way more complimentary of you in my head...promise!

(Oh, and I LOVE ellipses!!)

Samar said...

This is me and every single other human that I know.

The end.

Mesila 333 said...

Dear Gods.

I thought this was just a "me" thing. Apparently I am not at all alone.

So maybe I should stop feeling like such a conspicuous walking travesty, since I am apparently part of a moving herd-travesty and so can relax in the bliss of knowing no one's going to notice me sitting in my motorless, sailless failboat with my face glued to a screen and my ass glued to a chair.

Hooray!

Anonymous said...

What the fuck I am reading your blog and this specific image for the first time at 3:17 AM how did you do it

Darkmage said...

'surfing the internet like an attention-deficient squirrel on PCP.' nearly made me spit coffee all over my computer!

CLEAN ALL THE THINGS!

Vinesh said...

I think that this right here might be my favourite blog post yet. You, Allie, are a comedic genius. xD It's so true as well, I do the EXACT same thing.

Kristin said...

While at work, I laughed so hard at this that I cried and everyone now knows that I'm definitely faking when I say I am "working".

It was worth it. You are a genius.

Bryan said...

You're drawings are outstanding. The writing is great, but the drawings have me gut-laughing all day. This particular post has me summed up perfectly.

Bryan said...

@Simone: ADD = opposite OCD. I suggest Allie suffers from ADD, like me.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan said...

I even posted a picture of my freezer full of food on facebook. Ostensibly it was to show off how much meat I had purchased, but really it was just to prove I was responsible enough to feed myself.

Bryan said...

@dogimo:

"You know what would be a great extra thing for you to do? Start an "adult blog" that would be supposed to be your non-comic/non-tragicomic side. It would just be all text posts, you describing the most boring possible things from your daily day-style existence (or if no boring things happen, make them up). And people would be reading through it, saying "why am I reading this?" and "wow, Allie is secretly boring like I am boring sometimes." But nobody would ever ever get that the whole thing was just a goof!

If somebody else earlier in the comments thread already said the exact same thing I did, I apologize. I couldn't read that whole thing."

Gonna go ahead and assume no one thought of this earlier, cuz if they did they'd notice that in the part where you say people would think "why am I reading this?", people would stop reading it. No one would go to that blog. Ever.

Joyf said...

No, you know why you'll never be an adult? Because you are SELFISH. There. I said it. Could there possibly be any other explanation for the fact that it is now Thursday, and you have failed to throw your adoring readers any fresh meat for an entire week? I didn't think so. If you think the crushing experience of Winning the Internet is terrible, imagine the crushing experience of just having discovered this blog, being high on humor for several boring workdays of reading through archives, and then running out. Abruptly. No comparison.

So get over yourself, and throw us a post, for god's sake.

P.S. Also, if you're even considering responding to the vast amounts of e-mails you're getting, I'll give you a hint from the adult world (I'm a spy there, sometimes): be a little hard to get. "Real people" have assistants whose only job is to stave off the masses, most of whom don't expect any contact anyway. Be your own assistant and just cold start ignorin' people. Except commenters, of course - must read the comments.

Christel Warren said...

Allie. In the past two weeks I found your blog and quickly fell in love. Within a week I had read your entire archives. I bought your "I care about this Alot" shirt and showed your blog to three entire friends who now think my shirt is the funniest thing ever. We constantly quote "Ah ahm ah spahgahttah nahdle" at each other. We are like horribly annoying fangirls, and the subject of our fandom is you and your blog. Just last week I was reading sections of your blog in which you updated 2, 3, or more times a week. Why, now, when I've run out of Allie-fueled joy, do you choose not to update for two entire weeks? My F5 key is going to be worn out before you make another post at this rate. Please don't abandon me when I've just discovered my love for you.

Am I creepy yet?

Bryan said...

@Jess:

"(I came up with an epic idea the other day, where you tape a knife to a snake's head, and then train it to slither around and stab people. I thought it would probably work better if you had a jumping snake, because then it could do more than just highly poisoned ankle wounds.)"

We're almost there:
http://pix.motivatedphotos.com/2008/10/15/633596636995548540-NaturalSelection.jpg

Orrin said...

I just found this blog, and let me say, you rock and then simultaneously kick all of the asses that were left un-kicked by your rocking. Also being an adult is overrated. As is cleaning.

Stormy Cruz said...

Allie!
I thought it was a fluke the first time it happened, but I definitely left a comment on this when you first posted it and it seems to have been sucked into internet oblivion. It's happened a couple times now.
Perhaps Hyperbole and a Half is just becoming so intensely popular it can't take the pressure?
Anyway, just thought I'd give you a heads up. Hope all is well, chica!
<3,
Stormy

Stormy Cruz said...

OH MY GOD I'M A MORON!
I'm sorry, lady. Problem averted. I didn't realize there were 45676 pages of comments and I was just looking on the wrong one. So...yeah. I'll just get back to my coloring book now.
;)

Andrea said...

This is too fantastic, and all too familiar. Thanks for the awesomeness!

Administrator said...

I find myself living out this internet fantacy not only on my own time but also when others pay me to do it!

www.sorryigotdrunkand.com

Gardmwm said...

Dear Allie, I loved your comic and would like to share a possible cure: try reading Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley (aka flylady.com)who is so there for all of us who weren't Born Organized and are always somewhere between Guilt and Self-Loathing. You're not behind -- jump in where you are! Gardmawm

Anonymous said...

Mind -> blown.
I have this always, though i hope i get sick of myself and change.

Love the site keep it up.

Anya said...

OMG I HAD NO IDEA HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE LIKE THIS. I feel so much better now about my cycle of dooooom!

Jen said...

Hi Allie
I seen a lady at my son's football practice that reminded me of this post. I guess it's a little weird that I was watching her for so long but whatever. Anyway, she pulled up to the fields, her son jumped out of the minivan, then she opened the trunk and pulled out a running stroller. She then plopped her little baby in it. Something about how she walked to the trails next to the fields was so funny. It was like she was saying 'I'm going to run while my kid is practicing football because I'm a mother fucking adult.' She was all decked out in running gear from head to toe, all looked perfect and brand new. I had to laugh. I thought 'omg...what an idiot'. So wrong. So funny.
Love your blog,
Jen

Anonymous said...

The words ring true but those illustrations had me rolling. Love it!

brokenbrilliant said...

It's never too late to have a happy childhood! Adulthood is over-rated as a precursor to "expiring". What if I come in a package that doesn't have an expiration date?

my4kidsma said...

Yep, this is my life. 'Cept I've got 4 kids to not be an adult with. God help them.

Courtney said...

Completely and utterly hilarious! This made my day.

PtMagie said...

Oh. My. God! When did I give you permission to look inside my brain and share my life!?!?! I'm now on day six of avoiding returning a call to my aunt, and the doctor's office just called - as I typed this! - for the third time in a couple of months to schedule my annual. I'm deep in the "guilt" phase of the former and very close to the "why remind her now?" phase. The doc? Eh! I pay her, I'll go when I damned well please! Seriously, you're description was so dead on it was scary. At first. Then I felt a deep calm wash over me that I am NOT ALONE!

Anonymous said...

I'm not alone in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nathaniel Hoffelder said...

Did you see this:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home

The Oatmeal credited you for one of the scenes.

Amber said...

I need this on a poster. I'm serious.

allsortsofawesome said...

ahahahaha. I just saw the link from The Oatmeal here and (even though I read your blog, like, religiously) I still had to re-read this post. So. Awesome.

Timbo said...

Found you from Oatmeal

This is utter genius.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you use a fegget computer.

Anonymous said...

I do this ALL THE TIME! one minute, i'll be all "I need to grow up", then the next minute, i'll be asleep cuz skool sucks

Lisa Aschen said...

Wow, there sure are a lot of us out there. Nice to know I'm not alone, seriously. And re:banking...that's why I got married. Just be productive enough to fall in love and get someone else to do it for you:) It actually works for shopping and bill paying too.

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