t seems that within the past decade memes have rapidly entered our public displays of feelings, emotions, and thoughts, allowing us to find humor within even the bleakest aspects of life. For the younger generations who’ve lived the majority of their lives with the instant communication and information of the digital age — talking to you millennials and zoomers — making memes to communicate feelings can range from a silly gif to a darkly humorous stan lingo that shows a fatal affinity for a favorite celebrity.

We share memes with friends and family to make eachother laugh and even offer a lowkey and encouraging method to cope with challenges we may encounter everyday. We save memes on our phones and computers to capture the humorous takes on daily life or a world phenomenon and preserve it for a time where we may need a laugh.

The journey into adulthood is often a bumpy and rocky period of transition where there seems to be a new encounter with adult struggles and realization at every turn. It can be an overwhelming time, feeling entirely foreign for anyone who has never faced independence in a true form. If you’ve found yourself struggling with aspects of being an adult — or becoming an adult (because who really can confidently say they feel like a full adult) — memes about the struggles of adulthood and independence can bring you a little bit of comfort, letting you let go of a much needed laugh as well as know you’re not alone in the passage of growing up. Here are a few of our favorite memes about being an adult.

Realizing Work is, Like, a Lifelong Thing

Adulthood is most often associated with entering and participating in the workforce, something that can sometimes take a toll on even the best of us.

Turquoise background with skeleton with a text bubble saying, "I can't believe I have to spend so much of my life working in order to live in a world that might collapse at any second."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Especially when faced with a global pandemic, having the realization that work is what is needed to maintain life for most of us can be a pretty dreary one, particularly when your current job is not one you’d label as a dream career. It’s a common adult dilemma: work can bring misery and the thought of work can bring even more misery. Hopefully you are not in this camp, but most adults can most likely relate to the sense of dread that comes alongside a desire to finally be free from work, whether that be the end of a long shift or that sweet taste of a Friday afternoon.

Cleaning Your Room is Now the Pinnacle of Having Your Life Together

A clean and tidy room somehow motivates you to wake up at the crack of dawn and workout before work and read before bed and be amazing.

Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles with the text "When you finally clean your room and feel like your life is back on track."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Your room has been dirty, filthy even, for the past few weeks. Life’s been busy, you’ve hardly had time to be at home, and your room has taken the damage of weeks worth of clothes thrown offhandedly as you flop into an unmade and unkempt bed. But then, after weeks of living like a teenager, you find inspiration on a Saturday or Sunday morning and clean your room. Do your laundry. Wash your sheets. Marie Kondo your closet. Make a box of clothes to donate. And your life somehow has found its way back towards order and progress, and you feel unstoppable. A clean room feels glorious and can motivate you to make lifestyle changes, short as they may last, that compel you to feel optimized at levels that Gwyneth Paltrow tells people they should aspire to. (Don’t buy into being an optimizable thing, however, because you’re a human being.) Nevertheless, a clean room can inspire you to try habits you’ve been trying to establish, from reading everyday to making your bed every morning, and these changes can make you actually feel better. But, then life catches up to you, and your room accumulates disorder to the point of being cluttered, and the vicious cycle repeats.

Working from Home Used to Sound A Lot Better

Being an adult means having to push yourself to do your own thing without anyone else’s guidance most of the time. And, trust us, finding the motivation to work from home can feel like the end of the world.

White background with photograph of a woman on her laptop and red text saying, "Home office now hates as much as real office."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Due to public health concerns over COVID-19, many Americans have found themselves working at home, and many think this trend will last much longer than the pandemic itself. Because of this, creating home office spaces has been on many adults’ minds. While the trend to create a workspace in your own abode may have started out exciting and fun, you’ve probably gotten a little sick of it by now. That dread that you felt going into the office and were unburdened from since the transition to telework probably has been revived every time you step foot into your own personal workspace. What a drag.

Adulthood and Not Getting Enough Sleep Are a Dynamic Duo

Even when you tell yourself you’re going to get an extra hour of sleep in, reality always seems to find a way to make your nights feel shorter and shorter.

Video still of Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child with text, "Overthinking" overlaid onto her and a header text saying:"Me: I'm going to bed early tonightMy brain at 3:15am:"
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

The alarm has been set. Soft lighting achieved. Bed freshly made. Electronics turned off. Book on your nightstand marked. Tonight’s the night you’re finally going to get an extra hour or two of sleep. And then, as if prompted by the smell of freshly laundered sheets, your psyche says, “LOL, not tonight!” and rushes your mind with that last email you sent. Was there an embarrassing typo in there? This leads to an unsubstantiated fear that today somehow was your mom’s birthday and you forgot, only to then realize that, no, her birthday is not even in this month. Before you know it, it’s two in the morning and you’re supposed to wake up in five hours. Welcome to adulthood: a constant rush of worries, thoughts, and overthinking about the responsibilities that come along with it! Don’t you love it here?

Responsibilities? I Don’t Know Her

Oh, how we wish we could just ignore all of the things being an adult asks of us!

Painting of four women huddled around an overlaid image of a sleeping Lindsay Lohan. The women around her have text over their faces saying, "Responsibilities," "Anxiety," "Adulthood," and "Deadlines."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Sometimes, when especially overwhelmed with the pressures adulthood demands of us — emails, deadlines, buying greeting cards for every random event for every random acquaintance in your life, the list can go on — it can feel tempting to just shut down. To pull a My Year of Rest and Relaxation and quite literally take a year off from the daily pressures of adulthood. Too bad this isn’t feasible for most of us, so the best we can do is delude ourselves into thinking that a Saturday is Sunday so we can feel the rush of realizing there’s an extra day in the weekend. Delusional!

Being an Adult Means Juggling a Few Different Personas

We’re not saying it’s about being fake — but being an adult means that you have to think about how you present yourself.

Grid of four images of Dolly Parton. Top left: photograph of Parton wearing pussy bow with overlaid text "LINKEDIN." Top right: photograph of Parton wearing a Christmas sweater with overlaid text "FACEBOOK." Bottom left: black and white photograph of Parton wearing denim outfit with overlaid text "INSTAGRAM." Bottom right: photograph of Parton wearing Playboy bunny outfit with overlaid text "TINDER."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Must we document ourselves all the time? Must we?” If you’ve found yourself asking this Gerwig-ian question, the answer most likely will disappoint you because for many adults, staying connected online is no longer an optional endeavor but a fact of life. Of course, you can still opt out of a platform here or there, but when employers look for things like personal networks and professional images online, you kind of have to give in. Thus, the online persona is born, or rather, the online personas are born. You play the part for each platform, showing your audience a different facet of your personality. It may be exhausting and feel disingenuous but has become a regular aspect of being an adult in the digital age.

Nobody Told You Responding to Emails Would Be This Painful

Is your inbox full to the brim? Are you constantly responding with, “Sorry for the late response?”

Photo of character Kevin from "The Office" making a resistant face as a hand with broccoli comes toward him. Kevin has text, "ME," on him, and broccoli has text, "ANY EMAIL," on it.
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

Ah, email. The land of spam offers from that website that you inadvertently visited three years ago, random messages from your parents that very well could’ve been sent in a text, and actual work information. How do we juggle it all? It’s definitely not by creating a self-imposed aversion to opening, reading, and responding to emails, but somehow that seems to be the normal reaction to the culture of emails. Seem contradictory? That’s because it is! Adulthood and emails are like cookies and cream, good together but also still good on their own, however their combination has been defined as concrete and irreversible. Don’t try and resist emails — you don’t want to be known as the bad emailer, do you? — but don’t live on Gmail. Find a balance or keep up unhealthy patterns until one of them bite you in the butt. You’re an adult — figure it out!

Finding the Time and Energy to Tailor a CV for Every Application… Not Possible!

“So, you’re telling me there’s no such thing as a Common App when it comes to jobs?”

Video still of Amy Klobuchar with a white header and black text, "ME USING THE SAME CV TO APPLY TO DIFFERENT JOBS."
Meme courtesy of Instagram.

You’re probably a real adult if you even know what a CV is, so if that’s the case: good for you for that, I guess? You know what it is and now you have to write one. You write one and submit it, but then you have to do it all again? Even when job descriptions differ entirely, you may find yourself tempted to fudge your applications a little by using an ahem “generic” or templated CV and resume to save a bit of work. Hopefully one of them works out, right?

Being an adult is an exciting, frightening, fun, and overwhelming time. Entering the professional workforce is very much the same thing — well, we can only hope it’s fun. Using memes as a method of cathartic connection to strangers struggling with the same problems as yourself is a good way of knowing you’re not alone, that your difficulties with being an adult are most likely not isolated issues specific to you. Hopefully these memes have made you laugh or smile or at least know that we’re all in this together — nobody’s got it down perfect.

Aug 28, 2020