Secrets of Adulthood

Christina Olcott Mundell

This article, entitled Secrets of Adulthood comes from Christina Olcott Mundell at

I’ve been on a mission for the past year.

It hasn’t always had a clear, direct focus. It’s a little scatterbrained like I am. Sometimes, it loses its steam, but I’ve yet to completely give up.


Some days are better than others, which I think most people say. Some days, it feels so much easier to just dig that hole and sit there. And hope nobody peeks down inside.

But my mission? To be happy. To essentially change my life and mold it into something I can feel good about on a daily basis.

I’m going through a divorce now that was a long time in the making. I’m living on my own for the first time in… well, ever. I went from my parents’ house, to the dorms at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, to sharing an apartment with a friend, to moving in with my soon-to-be ex-husband.

I’ve never been totally responsible for my own well-being, let alone that of my children’s and the damn cat (that’s her name. TDC for short).

It’s been liberating. It’s had its crazy fun moments. It’s had its “Oh my GAWD, what are you thinking?! You are crazy!” moments.

But those moments have been far overcome by “You got this, just keep swimming” clarity. I’m lucky I have a few close and supportive friends, on top of amazing parents and a brother I was blessed with.

It’s been an adventure.

So I’ve been taking more time for me, which I’m not very good at. If I have free time, I feel like I should either be a. working b. cleaning or doing something at home or c. suffocating my children with love.

I’ve taken up running. I’m not good, but I’m doing it anyway.

I’m reading a lot more often, too. Right now, I’m reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.

I already sing in the morning. My closet is pretty clean. No comment on the fighting right. I read Aristotle back in my college days. And I would say that yes, I am generally having more fun.

One major part of the book is revealing the secrets of adulthood. The parts of being an adult that no one really tells you, but that you come to find out on your own.

I had fun making my own list. Some are goofy, much like their author. Some are serious. Some are just hard truths I’ve learned.

My secrets of being a grown-up:

1. It’s OK to rip the “do not remove by penalty of law” tags from your own stuff. And at hotels. Do it. It’s liberating.

2. You can never say “thank you” too often.

3. If you have the time to complain about something, you have the time to change it.

4. Diet Pepsi is not an acceptable substitute for Diet Coke. Ever.

5. Talk to strangers. Even the strange ones.

6. A bottle of wine is always better when shared with a friend. Two bottles is even better. After that, the details get fuzzy.

7. Some people suck the life out of you. Limit your time with them.

8. Watching “Forensic Files” late at night when you’re home alone and have an overactive imagination is never a good idea. GO TO BED. Just make sure you double-check the locks.

9. Does it look like the car next to you parked too close and you can’t make it out? Yes? Then they probably did. Don’t try to back out anyway. It will not end well. Also, don’t flee the scene of the accident. Especially when it’s your 16th birthday. Your parents will not be amused.

10. Your parents will forgive you. Even after they pay the deductible.

Some of those truths have been an easier lesson to learn than others!

What’s on your list? What secrets have you learned the hard way (or even better, which ones have come easily?)?

Christina Olcott Mundell is a single mom of two boys in central Nebraska. She blogs regularly for Also read her personal blog at

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