For some, the journey into adulthood begins quite early in life. I am not one of those people. At 22, the law says that I have been an adult for an entire year now, but my brain insists it’s still a work in progress.

This year I’m living, cooking and paying bills on my own with a bunch of other noobs. The whole ‘learning to adult’ process has been an interesting development for my housemates and me. Give nine dudes with relatively high tolerances to filth and messes full adult privileges and responsibilities, and you have a recipe for, well, filth and messes.

Walk through our house on any given day and its like walking around a disorganized garage sale. I’m not even talking about the clothes and shoes randomly strewn about. It’s more like on any given day you can find any given thing in any given room.

Need a broken piano? Looking for a couple dead or dying house plants? A busted lava lamp? Anyone interested in these broken speakers or an old record player stand? What about these five random light bulbs, these candles, this block of wood, some bleach? Want a knee brace? A bag of tools? Hot sauce? I should probably mention that this is our dining room. I haven’t even left my seat and those are just a few of the things I’m seeing as I glance around from our dinner table, which is really just a glorified ping pong table.

Like cleanliness, adult cooking has been a struggle. The most complicated dinner we’ve managed to piece together has been lasagna. In our defense we have taken the time to make a meal plan. It’s just that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all labeled ‘Frozen Pizza’.

What we lack in cleanliness we make up for in resourcefulness. We’ve learned to duct tape windows, defrost chickens in the bathroom sink (kitchen sink was full of dishes), and carefully stack three weeks’ worth of recycling into a one-week bin.

For us, adult life began in this old, drafty house that’s full of holes. The boundary between “inside the house” and “nature” is incredibly blurry. Every now and again we’ll find a dead mouse in the kitchen. We’ve had raccoons in the hallway to our garage. We are in a long, drawn out war against a chipmunk that unfortunately remains at large. Tape hangs from the ceiling, covered in flies. Stinkbugs crawl the walls. We’ve battled (and ultimately defeated) a scabies infestation.

This is not to say there aren’t older, draftier houses with more nature in them. And it’s not to say that we dislike the way we live. In fact, we love it. I imagine that when I’m older and a much more qualified adult I’ll look back nostalgically on the days of filth, friendship and pizza boxes that are empty, because life right now is anything but.