Adulting Will Kill You: How To Escape

Anna Ulmer
January 16, 2024

It’s on t-shirts, memes, and mugs. 

And seems to keep popping up all over social media and yoga studios. Maybe you have seen it:


Prior to this, I hadn’t realized “adulting” was a verb. Urban Dictionary defines it as such:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Grown-up life sounds terrible. And most times, it is.

But how did it even get this way in the first place? When did growing up become so horrifying? Shouldn’t aging be a privilege? Shouldn’t we all be celebrating the fact that we are still alive?

Shouldn’t adulting be exciting and full of amazing experiences and people? Why can’t life keep getting better, not worse?

Adulting is not how adulthood should be. Because real adulthood should be incredible, thrilling, and full of fulfillment.

Adulting is a well-designed, thoroughly thought out trap and we are all victims of it.

Adulting was killing me. It’s probably killing you to.

Here’s how to escape

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No one really chooses to enslave their life to a job, mortgage, or loan payments. No one REALLY wants that. We just don’t know any other options nor have the time or energy to consider paths that go against the grain. We have been conditioned and programmed to believe “adulting” makes us good members of society.

Most of us pay for an education to get a job that doesn’t fulfill us. Then spend most of our lives working to pay off the schooling that got us the job.

Even when we start to feel ahead financially, more adulting creeps and we buy bigger and more permanent things: houses, cars, investing in a family....you know how the story goes.

The cycle continues itself until we retire but then have no passion or energy left to really live how we planned.

This is the pattern of our culture. This is “adulting” and it is killing us.

Slowly but surely, “adulting” drains us of our livelihood as we trade in our precious time for money, and money for things that don’t fulfill us.

I know because I quit adulting. And it was the best decision I ever made. 

I feel more like an adult than I ever have and my life feels richer and fuller than I could have imagined.

Take Full Responsibility For Your Life

Quitting “adulting” doesn’t mean quitting responsibility altogether and raging against the machine with no purpose.


Quite the opposite actually.

Real adulthood requires dedicated and passionate responsibility for your own life.

You must take full responsibility for your happiness.

Think about that for a minute: what if you were to take 100% full responsibility for your own happiness and everything that happened in your life?

“Adulting” is a scapegoat for personal responsibility. When society has a path laid out for us, we don’t have to question anything. We just have to follow the rules. Then when the system doesn’t make us happy, we blame the system.

We forget to look inside of ourselves. To do the real work and take full responsibility for the design of our lives. 

We forget we even have this option. We forget we are free.

When we forget, we become depressed, anxious, and ego-centered.

And it’s no wonder because “adulting” isn’t meant to allow you to discover your inner potential, wild creativity, or freedom. It’s meant to help you climb a packaged path that fits a mold someone else designed.

Taking responsibility for every action you make - every circumstance - means you are in control of your life. You can no longer blame your shitty boss for your unhappiness because YOU are responsible for your happiness. You can no longer blame your shitty partner for the stress you feel because YOU are responsible for changing the situation to decrease your stress.

When you act fully responsible for your life, you are free. Because you are in charge of your life, no one else.

Question Who You Are


Real adulthood and responsibility means facing the truth of your life.  And often times the truth isn’t pretty.

That’s why real adulthood take incredible courage and guts.

Because you must be willing to unravel yourself. You must be willing to question your patterns and beliefs. Questioning what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

Honestly evaluating how jobs, relationships, and habits make you feel.  And then taking action on the truth that you find there.

This is work. It takes courage and determination. It’s not easy to let go of patterns and relationships we hold tightly to. But, it is the single most important thing you can do as a human.

Because if you aren’t willing to question your own life you will never be free.

Conditioning, programming, and normality will rule your life and design it for you.

You must be the creator of your own life if you want to be free of “adulting.” You must take responsibility for designing a life that sets your soul on fire.

A life that makes you feel alive more than it drains you.


Real adulthood means letting go of the path laid out before us by the hands of societal norms.  It means letting go of what others think you should doing: saving for retirement, finding a stable job, starting a family before it’s too late.

Trading in all the pressure to conform and the comforts that come with stability and following the mainstream in order to live your purpose. In order to become more you.

It’s not an easy road to walk. It’s one full of judgement and nay-sayers. It a continuous fight against the current. Yet, it is the only way to really live. And it is the greatest challenge of our time.

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It is our greatest responsibility to be happy. To feel alive. To set ourselves on fire and taste life.

You are meant to be happy, wildly free, creative, and fulfilled. It is your birth right.

If we are not happy and fulfilled it is impossible to truly fill and serve everyone around us.  

This is real work. This is real life. This work will end adulting.

And I, for one, would like to kill adulting before it kills us.

Tips to get started:

  1. Travel (anywhere, anytime). Just go. It’s the best way to reset, refresh, and force yourself out of your comfort zone. Gain new perspectives and figure out who you are and what you want.
  2. Question yourself: journal, read, meditate, be in nature. Honestly, look at your patterns, beliefs, and relationships. Question them. Discover them.
  3. Turn off the TV. Go outside, move your body. Read a book. Start a new hobby. Learn a new language. Turn off the TV. It  is made to distract you (yes, it’s a wonderful indulgence once in awhile) but honestly evaluate how much it is serving you. Your attention is your most precious resource. Make sure you know what your mind is buying.
  4. Connect. Get off of social media. Meet new people. Be present with your friends. Have difficult, interesting, and challenging conversations.
  5. Eat Well. It’s much easier to take on un-adulting when your body and your brain feel good. Over consuming alcohol and processed food will diminish your spirit and lessen your fight. You must fight for your life. Food from the earth is meant to help you thrive. Eat it more.
  6. Move. Energy becomes stagnant in our bodies if we sit for too long. This makes us anxious. We can’t think clearly when energy isn’t flowing through us appropriately. Move in any way that feels good. Walk, run, dance, hike, climb, do yoga. Just start. Love your body and it will love you back.
Anna Ulmer
Anna is a licensed Occupational Therapist, Mindfulness Educator, Yoga Teacher, & Holistic Health Enthusiast. She co-runs a Holistic Education Center in Costa Rica, Life Project Education, & is passionate about adventure, dancing awkwardly, & eating chocolate.


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