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9 Easy Steps To Becoming An Adult

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Right now, colleges and universities all over the country are flinging open their doors and unleashing this year's crop of optimistic yet confused 22-year-olds upon the world. Welcome to adulthood, young ones! Spoiler alert: ongoing vague concerns about paying taxes and that blinking light on your dashboard are here to stay.

Some of you are not confused. Some of you paid great attention throughout childhood and know how to cook a chicken and change a tire and balance a checkbook and not get drunk at work functions. Some of you 22-year-olds are truly responsible adults, people who fight wars and raise children and weed your lawn without complaining.

I was not one of those 22-year-olds. I had my degree and even a job -- working as a general assignment reporter for a newspaper in semi-rural Mississippi. But I didn't have things like a dresser. Or a couch. Or anything to sit on, really, besides my mattress on the floor and the piles of clothing that I would mound into furniture-like formations.

But I had friends -- smart, older friends -- who would teach me how to cook chicken breast on my little electric burner or tell me that hey, maybe you should go to Goodwill and get a couch there and then bribe Doug in IT with a six-pack if he'll haul it in his truck.

It is OK (and probably, um, perceptive) to feel really adrift and confused when you're 22. Seriously. Everyone feels that way, that you missed some vital lesson, that everyone around you knows things you don't, and why don't you know this?

But here's the truth: being an adult isn't something you are, it's something you do, in small ways, every day. And you can do it. I tracked down all sorts of successful adults -- people who know how to, say, make the four weird items in your fridge into a delicious dinner -- then wrote Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 486 Easy(ish) Steps. So here are some good ways to start:

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