Adulthood: Changing Times, Changing Priorities

Please enjoy this post from staff writer, Mitchell Pauly.  Mitchell writes for and he relaunched his site today.  Make sure to check it out!

As I’ve gotten older,  I’ve started to recognize things more for what they are and less for what they should be.  Over the last five years since college, responsibility has chased me down and molested me, made me feel less like a man and more like the leather clad sex slave in Pulp Fiction.  During these times the weight of adulthood makes my knees buckle, my head spin, and entire stretches of days go black—it’s as if life slipped me rohypnol and was very gentle.  I have been lucky; so far there hasn’t been any collateral damage, no evidence that any abuse took place, and so I push the shame deep down inside and wonder how I can prevent similar events from happening again.  Then my life goes black once more.

Changing Times

A week used to be like a beloved sitcom for me; various episodes filled with shenanigans, women, jokes, drinking and mishaps.  My life now is more like the ancient educational films I used to watch in grammar school: boring, worn and slightly racist[1].   I have trouble remembering what I did the weekend before.  Also, I have trouble remembering what I did the weekend before.  It is a sad state of affairs, if it weren’t for the vibrate function on my cell phone I would have no sex life at all.  I have met a wonderful girl and we are engaged.  She is lovely and thoughtful, the other day she said she was going off birth control.  She said looking at me was enough.

Changing Priorities

Adulthood has a way of forcing itself upon you; it must be great friends with responsibility.  While my priorities used to be women, snowboarding, gym and career -in that order, they are now whatever life dictates they should be.  I feel like I am driving a car with shot brakes, trying to avoid a collision, always reacting to the changing road conditions rather than steering the vehicle to safety.  To boot, the vehicle is a beater because I am trying to save money.  My priorities now extend years in the future, and this makes them feel less tangible “in the now.”  I am nothing if not for whom I will be.

That is an exhausting way to live.

How I am Fixing Things: Be Irresponsible

I have surrendered myself to adulthood; a life that is like a syndicated marathon of your favorite show that only plays the boring episodes.   However now I have a rule: once a day, I try to do something slightly irresponsible.  I am not talking something on the level of placing my balls on my boss’s mouse or keyboard.  No, something more inane—I have stolen a cup of coffee from the executive area (the only people in the office building who get free coffee), I have blown off 30 minutes of work by leaving for the gym early (which is in the same building, so leaving my computer open at my desk makes it look like I am off to the bathroom), I have forced myself to mid-week concerts despite the sleep deprivation, or simply bought an ice coffee.  These things make me feel a little younger, a little more the Mitchell- of-days-past.

You should try it

Try it.  Try being irresponsible.   Don’t jeopardize your marriage, relationship with your kids or your career, but try it.  Do something once a day that could be deemed mildly irresponsible.  It will make you feel younger.  It will make you feel more connected to your youth, and will hopefully make you feel like you haven’t let that person down.  The younger you could never have guessed what adulthood would be like; that would be like guessing the end to LOST.  Being a little irresponsible is like dropping bread crumbs throughout your week, each one a little moment that makes your life easier to remember for yourself.  Also, it will make your life easier to remember for yourself.

So think about that.

[1] That kids, is called “dark humor”.

Is this how you feel about adulthood?  How has adulthood changed your perception of reality?

About Mitchell Pauly

Mitchell Pauly is the main writer at Snarkfinance and a staff writer for Club Thrifty. He is a successful professional investor and financial analyst for Fortune 500 companies and enjoys nothing more than a cringe worthy joke. You can follow him on Twitter @snarkfinance.


  1. I hear you on this! Since when did my “down time” become reduced to watching a movie all by myself on a Friday night after everyone has gone to bed? Sometimes when things get dull, I do try to spice things up by doing something that is outside my comfort zone. Every now and again I surprise myself with what I’m capable of (or learn never to do that again)!

  2. I can relate in some ways, life does seem to get more “boring” as we succumb to the routine. It gets even more so with kids in the house, but it’s even more important to “spice things up” when you get to this phase.

    • I will be sure to let my wife know we should be spicing things up. I a terrified of having children, and partially because I feel I have so little time now… how can having kids help in that regard? Like a kick to the shin helps win foot races.

  3. I hear you on the part about how your priorities are whatever life dictates they should be- sometimes your life (or your boss) just kinda tells you what your priorities are and you have to roll with it. This is one of the many reasons we are striving for financial independence- so at least we can control what we do with our time while we are making money and set our own priorities in that particular arena.

    • I’m in the beginning stages of getting my financial life together, and I’m definitely feeling this right now. It seems like every time I start working towards a plan, life says “Oh no, we’re going in this direction now!” Frustrating! I’ll be so glad when I have more financial freedom and can set me own priorities.

  4. 100% agree and am working for the same thing. Although, to be honest, I feel there is the issue of youth as well… how much sacrifice for financial independence is worth trading in some youth over? There has to be a percentage we are all comfortable with… but I am not sure if I have found my personal balance.

  5. Being irresponsible, intentionally, is definitely something I haven’t considered! It’s very true, though, that once you reach adulthood you shift your priorities and acting irresponsibly hardly ever has a place.

    • I think it is important in working towards not losing that sense of “anything can happen” that comes with childhood and being a teenager. I don’t want to lose that completely.

  6. LOL, Mitchell, right on as usual. Add kids into the mix and it’s only more of the same, although the immense love you have for them helps tremendously. LOVE your idea about being just a bit irresponsible once a day – I think I’m going to try it. :-)

  7. Gosh, I’ve been so responsible for so long I can’t even think of one thing slightly irresponsible I could do. Hmmm, maybe I’ll eat that left over pumpkin pie for breakfast.

  8. The only time I don’t act like an adult is when I’m with my brothers. I wouldn’t really call it irresponsible just a tad bit immature. When my brothers and I get together we still do stupid stuff but it’s always fun and will probably never stop.

  9. I like the idea of being a little irresponsible. I can’t help but think about how awesome life was back in high school when I didn’t have any real-life problems or responsibilities. Maybe I’ll go sit in the bathroom at work for a half-hour today and just surf the internet…

  10. Awesome as usual Mitchell! I can relate all too well to this and try to do something crazy at least several times a week just to break the monotony. Of course, this tends to drive my wife a little nutty but it makes life a little more fun and someone has to make our kids laugh – right? ;)

  11. I’m hardly in adulthood right now. You’re supposed to make good decisions as an adult, right? Yeah, I’m still working on that.

  12. “have blown off 30 minutes of work by leaving for the gym early (which is in the same building, so leaving my computer open at my desk makes it look like I am off to the bathroom)” I remember doing that! :) Sometimes it does feel good being a little bad! I almost bore myself sometimes always doing the “right thing.” I think that’s why I spontaneously bought my trip to Iceland in September. I needed something just for me.

  13. Yep, it’s pretty sad when you look forward to 10PM because you can go to sleep! I miss some things about being younger, but I feel much more confident now most of the time, so I guess there are some good things about it.

  14. So true! I remember as a child I always wanted to be an adult so “I could do whatever I wanted.” Who knew that now that I’m an adult, I sometimes pine for the days when I was a child and had no responsibilities and nothing truly important to worry about. (My child self might disagree with that though).

    • I get to drive a nicer car, have more money and have a lot more sex than younger me (well, more volume less variety). That is about it. All in all, I wonder if that is enough to justify adulthood as “better”.

  15. I completely agree with you. Being an adult is great but it sucks at the same time. I love not having my parents over my shoulder. I hate having all the responsibility…Life is boring during the week. The weekend is used to recover from the week.

  16. As an adult has definitely feel like the days just blend together and that it is not as exciting as when I was younger. I try to mix it up every now and again, but it is more challenging when you have responsibilities.

  17. Did you really type “put my balls on my boss’s keyboard” in there?? LMAO..

    I hear you though, my friend.
    You need to keep it a little wild and silly. Me and my wife can be total goofballs.
    Just ask our kids..

  18. There’s definitely something to be said for making an effort to lighten up and enjoy a carefree moment or two throughout your day. The problem is, when you force yourself to do it, it can feel just that – forced. The impact usually just isn’t the same. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort though otherwise it’s all too easy to get crushed by “adulthood.”

  19. Live a little…words to live by in my book. Sometimes forced spontaneity is the only way it works for me. Forced or not, it feels great to do something stupid or edgy a few times a week. I’ll def keep my nads off my bosses mouse though…

  20. I agree and disagree at the same time. The playful side of all of us should not take a dive because of the adulthood routine. It’s on you to switch things up from time to time, and not focus on the negative side of growing up. Also kids make my life better as I laugh everyday with how they entertain me and my wife. We put on some music and we can laugh for half hour straight. Yes times were fun back in the teenage and twenties years, but that is where they should stay in the past. Nothing is better than the present and I choose to live it that way.

  21. I was never really an overly irresponsible person, I had a stretch of irresponsible behaviors my senior year of high school. So adulthood has felt like a slow steady gain of responsibility. Though as of late I have made a lot of irresponsible spending choices.

  22. I agree being irresponsible once in a while can help ignite some life into the boring adult life. I think the routine makes it boring since we hardly get a lot of free time to do whatever we want.

  23. Ha! Younger me would punch me in my fat gut and ask my wife out for a drink. I hate that guy. What a bully.

    Still, he was way cooler than me, with his faux hawk and cool sneakers. I’ll try to emulate him a bit. Where’s my hair gel?

  24. Glad you liked it.

  25. When I was in high school I worked at a restaurant. Sometimes I had to open the kitchen at 6:00am, so I had to be there by 5:30. There were times I was having such a great time the night before I would just stay up all night, work my 5:30 – noon shift without a blink of an eye. Then I’d go home and sleep all afternoon. Remember OWNING a Friday night like that? I do, vaguely…….adulthood tells me I’d better go to sleep by 10pm if I have to get up that early. Jeesh.

  26. I’ve been half in adulthood since I was 18, which means that now, 7 years later, I am an old soul. I do enjoy being an adult (yep, responsibilities and all) but being irresponsible sometimes is fun too. Though my definition of being irresponsible here and there is most certainly not what many non-adults would think is fun or irresponsible.

  27. Am I an adult? I guess I am. Sometimes it still seems weird when I’m at work and something crazy goes down and one of my workers brings it to me to “fix”. In my head I’m thinking “Crap, that’s crazy! Who’s in charge here?” Then then I remember, I am ;-)

  28. I totally related to the changing priorities. My life used to seem like it was full of freedom and possibilities now I feel like I am in survival mode week to week. I’ve been moving out of some responsibilities to make space for the reasonably irresponsible. I just burned an entire day playing video games, something I used to do all the time.

  29. Being an adult sucks sometimes. You have to be disciplined, take responsibilities and all those things, it’s TIRING! But everything is part of life and you just have to take it as it is and adjust to it.

    Got to get my priorities in better order.

  30. I don’t know if irresponsibility is the answer so much as having goals and feeding passions outside of work and the day to day. Life is exciting when you’re fostering your creativity or challenging yourself.

  31. Very amusing post Mitchell. Refreshing to read something on a money blog that’s real and with “dark humour” as you put it! I’m through the looking glass when it comes to accepting the onset of adulthood post-University. I’m content to focus on career, health and relationship in my mid 30s – but only because I consciously decided to max out on making the most of my 20s filled with shenanigans. Life isn’t a rehearsal….

  32. I am TERRIBLE at remember what I’ve done that past weekend. Whenever a coworker asks me what I did over the weekend, I really have to put all my energy into recalling exactly what happened.

Speak Your Mind