Misery Loves Company: Things That Don’t Suck in Theory but Are Actually Terrible

Especially on days when you hate everything


Adult life can feel like checking off an endless list of boring responsibilities. At least we’re allowed to eat candy whenever we want.  

There are too many embroidered pillows floating around this world that offer the following self-important advice: “80% of life is showing up.” As though that’s supposed to comfort me. I’ve been “showing up” since May 17, 1988 when the doctors excavated me from my mother’s womb with a scalpel. TA-DA! There was some applause, plenty of tears, and from that point forward I was — as all humans are — expected. To arrive. To do. To accomplish.

The difference between the expectations of your adult self and younger self is the belief that with maturity comes complacent willingness. That at some point you sit up and stretch your arms and swallow your veggies and get pumped. That you realize, “Adult life’s not so bad! I was just being a kid.” (Because it seems like parents really hate pop music in traffic but boy do they love listening to AM talk radio and surely that has to be an acquired taste.)

Pardon, no. There are plenty of adult things that don’t suck in theory, but are actually terrible. The sooner we stop pretending that we “don’t mind doing X, honestly!” is the sooner we can make peace with those things; just because we hate something doesn’t mean we won’t show up. But at least we’ll know why we’re pissed off. And anyway — of all the team building exercises I know, collective complaining just might be the most bonding.

1. Showers


Theory: Cleanliness is akin to godliness.

Reality: You’re too tired.

2. Manicures


Theory: A nice way to treat yourself!

Reality: You can’t use your phone, it’s boring, you never like the color, you always ruin it.

You’re too tired.

3. Drinking water


Theory: Good hydration solves many problems; is crucial in the quest toward wellness.

Reality: You’re too hungover to lift up the glass; you’d rather be drinking something else; you’re too lazy; you forgot.

4. Eating the rest of your salad once you’ve eaten all the good stuff up top


Theory: Vegetables are very good for you.

Reality: Without salad dressing, lettuce tastes like tap water/indoor ferns and zucchini tastes like bad breath.

5. Calling someone back


Theory: If it’s a work call, it’s productive; if it’s a friend call, it’s fun; if it’s a family call, it’s emotionally satiating.


6. Listening to your voicemails


Theory: You literally just hit a button, sort of listen, then press delete.

Reality: You don’t have time for that prehistoric shit, nor do you to intend to follow up.

7. Answering that email


Theory: Just read, absorb information, assess situation and reply as though this were an in-person conversation.

Reality: Emails are worse than that paragraph in your history book that you had to re-read at least 100 times to sort of understand but with e-mail, you have no one to lean over and go, “Hey, can I just use your notes?” It is the digital equivalent of herpes.

8. The final stretch of that long walk your parents made you take with them


Theory: This is nice time to spend together.

Reality: A thousand needles of death are shooting into your shins and you will probably die if you go one step longer.

9. Running errands


Theory: You’re being a productive contributor of society and also, you really do need groceries for the week.

Reality: You would rather go without food and medicine than remove your back from the couch. You’re very busy. And you’re too tired.

10. Doing laundry


Theory: Nothing better than fresh clothes straight out of the dryer!

Reality: All washing machines and dryers exist on an alternate plane of reality whereby their physical distance, relative to yours, extends 12 steps further with every step you take in their direction. They are always just so far away.

11. Going to the gym


Theory: So excellent for your physical and mental health.

Reality: You’re hungry; you just ate; you’re too tired.

12. Getting anything fixed


Theory: It will feel so good to have that done.

Reality: It can wait.

13. Returning those jeans you ordered online


Theory: You deserve to wear nice jeans that fit!

Reality: You can’t find the return label; you don’t have tape.

14. Going to pee


Theory: What a release!

Reality: You (for whatever reason) literally cannot stand up.

15. Waking up


Theory: Carpe Diem!!! It is time to seize a new day!

Reality: Ugh. Sucks.

And you’re tired.

Illustrations by Emily Zirimis.


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  • Maddie

    Literally these exact thoughts go through my brain on a daily basis. Every. Single. Day. Without fail (or, rather, with?)

  • Inkygrl

    I would read this but I’m just too tired.

  • Alessia


    • Amelia Diamond

      Currently avoiding…

  • Sonia

    Currently having the salad moment as I type this. WHY AREN’T THERE MORE CROUTONS!?!?!!?

    • Amelia Diamond


      • Gene

        I hate croutons. Always have. I think I’m an incorrigible adult as I disagreed with everything except 15.

        • gdimu

          Yes. While reading this all I could think was: I don’t get it. I’ve joined the dark side of adulthood.

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    The manicure thing. I always find myself TWITCHING in the chair cause I just want to get out.

  • DarthVadersCats

    THIS POST IS MY LIFE. It also relieves me to know that I am not the only pee procrastinator in the world.

    • Amelia Diamond

      doing this rn

    • CmBF

      Huge pee procrastinator here! The Doc said not to do it. It can cause UTIs.

      • houndstooth

        Oh shit! :/

  • Fran

    The only way I could finally enjoy a manicure and consider it a treat was learning to do it myself. It’s my post-lunch Sunday ritual: some silly sitcom on Netflix (something I can just listen and laugh at without looking) and start. Nothing fancy, just trim, file, color. It doesn’t have that out-of-the-salon feel but after I clean the rest of my fingers it actually looks nice! And if I don’t like the color I can just do it again. It also relaxes me a lot.

    Agree on absolutely everything else, though!

    • Lillian

      I was on this kick for a while and I have to agree, it IS nice and relaxing and CHEAP. But then my cuticles got disgusting again and I was like ugh treat yo self and I haven’t looked back. Actually that’s a lie I feel tremendous guilt over how expensive it is, so it’s prob time to return to Sunday self manicures.

      • Fran

        Ugh, yes, cuticles are my problem too. Usually when they get too out of control I get a “real” mani, like once every 2 months or so. I still enjoy it more doing it myself, though!

    • Aydan

      I do the SAME thing!! I take off my nail polish, draw a bath (I know wasting water), and then paint my nails after! All while watching the same show or movie or whatever on Sunday evenings. It makes me feel so so good and def keeps the Sunday scaries at bay!

    • Hannah Cole

      I need to start this Sunday ritual! So good for the mind and week prep

    • Amelia Diamond

      That’s so nice that you made this a ritual

    • Sarah Tindale

      I do this too! also CND sticky base coat saved my life. It legit makes your manicure last twice as long.

      • Fran

        YESSS. I used to think a good top coat was the secret for a long lasting mani but nope, it’s definitely the base coat!

      • Amelia

        thank you thank you thank you! must try

    • pennyjenny

      Yup, I always do it myself. I normally do it before bed, because I am not a crazy sleeper, and my nails can dry while I’m sleeping.

  • Ugh errands and appointments. And paperwork. I’m way too tired for that shit.

    • Lillian

      Calling to make an appointment is about the worst thing there is.

      • Kelly

        Or re-scheduling an appointment you already had to call to make. Worst.

        • Amelia Diamond

          Same I’m just like welp, looks like I’m never going to the doctor so bye

    • pennyjenny

      I ONLY make appointments places where I can do so online. It literally took me an extra month or so to get a root canal that I really needed (pain!!!) because the referral place doesn’t do online appointments likem my regular dentist does.

  • Alison

    Wow this makes me feel so much less bad about all the chores I put off. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not but phew.

  • Krista Anna Lewis


  • the color is always sliiiiiiightly wrong.

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Aisling

    Before I read this, I knew that exhaustion would be a key factor. I know this because it is only 6:30 pm and I want a nap.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I could literally almost always fall asleep at any given moment if left alone and slightly horizontal for two minutes

  • The salad one, I ALWAYS do this and regret it!

  • Hannah Cole

    I thought I was the only one who detested showers!

    Serial answering-machine-non-checker right here – it’s got me into trouble multiple times in the workplace, but it’s just such a pain and time waster…

    • Amelia Diamond

      showers r the WORST

      • Hannah Cole

        don’t even get me started on the hair washing…

  • Omg! I was seriously discussing my “manicure anxiety” with my mom the other day! I cannot get my nails done anymore because I always hate the color and cannot for the life of me choose a color/design without second guessing. It’s also the worst when you don’t do them yourself/spend money getting your nails done and then fuck them up which makes you feel like shit. UGH!

  • kellymcd

    Not until I started working full time post college did I understand why my mom would fall asleep any time she was remotely close to touching the sofa. I always thought it was that she never drank coffee. In reality, she was an adult and just too.damn.TIRED.

  • Katie

    salad solution: put chopped kale and spinach (no one likes big leaves we’re not brontosauruses), halved grape tomatoes, diced red onion, avocado cubes (lots. this is important), crumbled feta, halved Kalamata olives, and pumpkin seeds (maybe even strawberry slices if you’re feeling ~summery~) in a Tupperware. put lid on. shake violently. enjoy! your interesting and enjoyable salad bits will be distributed evenly, right down to the bottom, while your boring leafy greens will be deliciously smothered in cheesy avocado paste. no sugary salad dressing required. also none of that weird kale massaging that gets sliminess underneath the manicure you already hate.

  • BuffyAnneSummers97

    Could you possibly be anaemic??

  • Katie in black

    haha, exactly 😀 especially with returning stuff… no tape around, keeping it here forever!
    and Amelia, you are one day older than me! I already loved your articles (and can relate a lot) but now after I know about the birthdate I´m feeling the twin vibes 😀

  • Reading this as I have half a plate full of spinach with a tiny bit of dressing left in front of me… the worst part to eat!

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Yes to all of this. Except the manicures because I do them myself and they’re FABULOUS.

  • Harling Ross

    I started doing this thing where I eat all the worst parts of my salad first and save the good stuff (i.e. FALAFEL) for last but then I realized I was often too full to really even *enjoy* the good stuff at the end so idk how to solve this problem. There is no solution. #thisis24

  • Gabi

    RT to this entire thing. I’m 22 and graduated a year ago, and contrary to popular belief adult life IS as hard as it looks. Numero uno, I don’t even have a laundry in my walk-up, and thus, therefore, ergo have become Victoria Secret’s most loyal customer. Secondary, VOICEMAILS. My mom will leave me one and say “Hi, it’s Mami, it’s 2:37 on Monday the 27th”. Yes, mother, I am aware you called, and yet you leave me a voice message reiterating what is already on my home screen.

    BUT, to play devil’s advocate, watch this video (all of you at MR, anyone else commenting, Obama if you’re reading this, which I mean why wouldn’t you be) because it’s a great pick me up and has a true message: This Is Water by David Foster Wallace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfw2Qf1VfJo

    Anyways this is the first time I’ve ever commented on something and it’s exhilarating. Thanks again for the article!

  • lily

    My grandpa told me that he has been having “90 year old problems” (he is 90) like not being able to get out of bed. I asked him if he was depressed and he said no, his bed is just too comfortable and he doesn’t feel like leaving it. Congratulations everyone, we are all experiencing the same issue as my 90 year old grandfather

  • Ugh. Laundry is the freaking worst. The only time my apartment is really, really clean is when there is laundry to be done because I will literally do anything else. I am literally incapable. It’s pathetic.

  • Mun


  • Cristal S.

    voicemails, emails, errands!! it’s so true

  • maru

    to pee takes so much work!!

  • Laura

    I can’t keep a track of how many times I’ve falled asleep during a manicure.

  • kjrobot

    I think you have seasonal affective disorder.
    Or you and I need to do a freaky friday switch.
    These tasks are THE WAY I procrastinate.

  • LM

    I avoid peeing at all costs. Laundry sucks, I have no patience for a manicure anymore, and the only way I accomplish an online return is to email all labels to my husband and send him to work with the box to give to the UPS guy. I hate seeing that little red “unread” number on my email app so I open things without really reading them and forget to respond. Also, I repeatedly respond to text messages and forget to hit the send button- because I am too f*%#ing tired! Did I mention that I’m a 31 year old mother of two? My 7 year old son wakes me up before he starts getting ready for school, the only way to solve the salad problem is to make sure there’s lettuce stuck to the fork with every bite you take, and the only reason I go to the gym is because it’s the only way to guarantee that I shower that day ( I go every day thankfully). I never drink enough water because the cooler is too far from my desk and I can’t get up to refill my water bottle. I only see this getting worse with age, so I’m doomed to suck at adult life forever.

  • Sarah

    I wish restaurants would offer less lettuce/similar greens in salad and just make veggie bowls! It would be way more interesting, delicious, and have an equal balance of all veggies. I can’t stand salads because the proportion of greens to non-greens is too high, but I love eating a good mix of reds, yellows, purples, and greens.