Spurred by a recent essay that argues that the line between childhood and adulthood is blurrier than ever (this morning’s column is an example of that), The Atlantic has been publishing a series called “When Did You Become an Adult?” about the moments or events that propel people into adulthood — a world of responsibilities, difficult decisions, and deeper consequences. The entries in the series are both moving and relatable. One person recounts coming out of the closet, another discusses her rape, another says parenthood made him an adult, and someone else says becoming her parent’s caregiver made the difference.
I suspect my own answer is pretty similar to a lot of yours. For me, there wasn’t a specific moment or incident that felt particularly heavy in a sense that it pushed me over the blurry line between childhood and adulthood. Rather, it was as series of incidents — my first broken heart, adopting a pet, moving out of state with my boyfriend, ending that relationship and moving out on my own, paying student loan debt, paying movers to move my stuff across the country, getting married, having a baby, having another baby, supporting my husband through losing a parent — that carried me over into adulthood not in one big bang of a moment, but in gradual anticlimactic fashion. How very adult. And through it all, perhaps one of the biggest byproducts of reaching adulthood has been embracing, and then adapting, to my changing dreams.
Even as recently as a couple years ago, I dreamed of doing something big. Or, bigish — publish a bestseller, have my own show, maybe write a screenplay and see it become a movie (not that I’ve really pursued any of these dreams). Now, I dream of cultivating as much love in my life as I can, spending as much time with my loved ones as I’m able to, seeing the world, and enjoying my kids well into their adulthoods (and maybe, if I’m so lucky, becoming a grandmother one day, too, with enough energy and good health to be active in my grandkids’ lives). Maybe it was the moment I realized that these are truly the Big Things that I became an adult.
What’s your moment?
RedRoverRedRover February 29, 2016, 1:21 pm
To tell you the truth, I’m getting tired of millenials bragging online about “they don’t know how to adult”. It’s become the cool thing, apparently. It’s not something I ever thought about, personally. It just happened in the course of life. Things happen, you take responsibility, you learn. That’s literally all it takes.
Stonegypsy February 29, 2016, 3:45 pm
We’re not bragging. We’re legitimately confused and we’re shouting our frustration to the internet because then we get reassurance that we’re not alone in our confusion and frustration.
RedRoverRedRover February 29, 2016, 4:45 pm
I don’t know about that, it tends to seem like a contest, like one-upmanship on how “non-adult” people can be. There are posts like that all over buzzfeed and similar sites.
What I think has happened is that people have so many different paths now, that there’s no “standard” path to being an adult, but a lot of millenials still feel like if they’re not walking that path, they’re not adults. I really think if people just understood that all you have to do is take responsibility for yourself to be an adult, it would make it a lot easier. Like honestly I feel like I’ve been an adult since I was like 18. Maybe even younger. Not because I’d achieved anything or hit any markers of adulthood (besides graduating highschool I guess), but because I’d realized that I was the person in charge of my life. Graduating university and starting a career and meeting my husband and having kids were great and all, but looking back I don’t think any of those made me an adult. Understanding that my choices were up to me is what did it. And that still would have been the case if I’d made the choice to not go to university and stay in my hometown and work at McDonald’s and marry the guy I got engaged to when I was 17.
Stonegypsy February 29, 2016, 5:23 pm
Okay, well I guess when *I* do it, it’s more in an attempt to not feel so alone. I can’t speak for everyone of my generation.
I will say that I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 18. I have, with some help in the beginning but none for a long time, been supporting myself and having to manage all of my own shit and dealing with the consequences when I fail to do that.
And I feel, generally, like I just do not know how to adult. Really. I opened a bill from my doctor’s office saying that I owe $600 for some simple blood tests and I don’t even know where to start as far as figuring all that out. I went through a long period of unemployment at the same time I was getting divorced and even though it has been a full year and a half since I found a job, I still feel like for every one thing I get caught up on, I fall behind on two other things. And I know that being an adult doesn’t actually mean having it all together but honestly even though I’ve been on my own for over a decade, there is some basic life maintenance stuff that just makes me want to curl up into a ball and just give up on the whole thing. Because how does anyone manage to keep up with everything? And I really don’t feel like anything ever really prepared me for this, and I’m guessing a lot of people feel that same way.
So I can’t speak for everyone, but maybe they’ve turned it into a joke/brag so that they can laugh, because the alternative is panic and cry?
RedRoverRedRover February 29, 2016, 5:28 pm
I think everyone feels like that though. Like, you should see my house. It’s a mess. I don’t know how other people keep theirs so nice. And I’m horrible at keeping on top of bills and stuff. None of us has every single thing figured out, but to me that doesn’t signify that I am or am not an adult. I guess people have different ideas in their head of what being an “adult” means.
Michelle February 29, 2016, 7:12 pm
Perhaps a sticking point is how vocal one is about it. There simply wasn’t the same level of discourse available 20 years ago, in terms of the reach of the internet. We’re now more aware of how different generations respond to different stressors. I’m not sure this is a millennial thing sharing disconcertedness so much as our awareness of their doing it. (Disclosure: I’m a high school and college teacher, so perhaps I encounter different levels of this than the general population. I’m quite certain my friends and I did this in high school myself, but the Internet wasn’t a “thing” until after I graduated.)
I’m absolutely not saying that you do this, but I do see the tendency to lump generations of people together and be very aware of those annoying traits that so many had done in generations past. As I’ve gotten older, at any rate, I tend to voice my uncertainty less, or perhaps I just voice my uncertainty differently, than I would have done 15-20 years ago.
RedRoverRedRover March 1, 2016, 10:06 am
Maybe. But I have two brothers who definitely have not followed the old “path to adulthood”, and haven’t hit most of the markers. And my sister also didn’t till fairly recently. None of them assumed they weren’t adults. It was more a question of “what do I do, where do I go from here?” than “am I adult?”. Which is much more productive, if you ask me. Saying you don’t know how to adult, which people say constantly online, kind of takes the responsibility off in my opinion. Maybe that’s why they do it.
Lianne March 1, 2016, 10:19 am
So I almost said something on this topic yesterday, but was just too tired after a long day at work – ya know, being an adult.
First of all the word adult is a noun, not a verb. Can we please stop using it the proper way?
Second of all, being an adult isn’t what’s hard. Life is what can be difficult. Sometimes you’re skating along, making good decisions, things are going your way. And then BAM! Something comes at you and disrupts that order. For some, that bump in the road – again, LIFE, not just being an adult – can be extremely disruptive and cause anxiety, indecision, paralyzing you from making a next move. But that can happen when you’re a kid, too. Sure, when you’re a kid you’ve got parents that shield you and remove a lot of that burden. But for some, shit gets real early and you might feel like you’re doing adult things at an way too soon…but in reality you’re not yet an adult. It’s just that you’ve been thrown something that removes that carefree attitude that comes with being a kid.
And then, a lot of us who are actual adults, say we still feel like kids at times. That may be because the amount of responsibilities you have in your LIFE at that moment are manageable and you feel that carefree attitude associated with childhood. But you’re an adult!
My point in all this is, stop blaming adulthood and saying “adulting is hard!” (as I shudder at using “adult” as a verb to illustrate my point). Life is hard people. Maybe millenials will stop blaming the adult stage of life if they change the way they think about it instead.
Lianne March 1, 2016, 10:21 am
UGH – I need to log in so I can edit! Second paragraph – please START using it the proper way. Sorry.
RedRoverRedRover March 1, 2016, 10:31 am
Yes, exactly! It’s like they’re using the fact that they “can’t adult” as an excuse for why they’re not trying to. I get that things are different now and the old path to adulthood is pretty much gone. But honestly, as a Gen X in the tech field, we had the same problems. We had big student loans, then almost immediately when we got into the job market, we had the dot.com bubble which laid off a huge chunk of us. I know plenty of people who never got back into the field, who moved back into their parent’s place, who are still working jobs like stocking shelves or whatever.
And then we had the next crash in 2008, which I know made it hard for millenials to get jobs, but the Gen-Xers at that point owned homes, had mortgages, had kids, etc. They had a lot more responsibility, and a lot more to lose. And again, a ton of them had to move in with parents, or have parents move in with them. I know so many people who are still struggling because of those two crashes. But they’re not going around saying they don’t know how to adult and using that as an excuse.
Lianne March 1, 2016, 10:38 am
Right! And I am sure some days were and are harder than others to put forth that effort to build your life back up…get a new job, maybe not in your field, etc. Again, nothing to do with being an adult! It’s life and making it your own.
Kate February 29, 2016, 1:30 pm
Like… 26. Sadly I had already been married 5 years at that point.
I had finished grad school and was working my first job as a Research Manager at a global firm, was living in a condo in a very nice part of Boston that my parents put the down payment on but we were paying the mortgage and building equity, and we had a dog. My husband had finished his 4 or 5 year tour with the military and had landed an incredible job. Like seriously, a fabulous job with a huge company and lifetime career potential. Which he would eventually just quit one day and never work anything but retail or pizza again.
And then 9/11 happened and I remember being just so stunned and thinking oh, now I’m an adult I guess. And spending all night sleepless and crying for those poor people on the planes and in the buildings.
And… Everything is totally different now, like I knew it would be that day.
blink14 February 29, 2016, 1:58 pm
9/11 has become a time marker for so many people, its always interesting to hear how people have changed or think differently afterwards. For me, I wonder if I will ever see a plane near a tall building again and not stop breathing for a moment, hoping that it passes by.
Dear Wendy February 29, 2016, 2:04 pm
I bet for a lot of us Gen Xers who were mid 20s to early 30s in 2001, 9/11 is a clear marker between childhood and adulthood. It may not be the moment we crossed the blurry line, but there was a shift (certainly for many people and not just our generation), clearly defining a Before period and an After period.
Kate February 29, 2016, 3:13 pm
I remember, I think it was when I was in the car after my husband had picked me up at work that morning, just having this very strong feeling that life as we knew it was over. Not in an apocalyptic way, just, everything is going to be different now, and a whole way of life and outlook is gone. And it was true. It was a very sad feeling at the time, and there’s still sadness. Not that I had this idealistic childhood or anything, but there was so much you could count on or thought you could at least. It just… Is really different now.
blink14 February 29, 2016, 4:01 pm
Agreed. I was a junior in high school and it definitely changed my outlook on many things. I grew up not far from the city, but at the time was in school in CT, and I panicked for hours and hours trying to reach my family – the circuits were completely overloaded. I had family and friends in the city working and going to school, and sometimes my mom went down for business. Those hours trying to reach home and making sure everyone was ok is probably the most terrified I have ever been.
mertlej February 29, 2016, 3:21 pm
For me, it was Columbine. I was 13, and spent the day glued to the television watching the news and crying. What a horrible day.
honeybeenicki February 29, 2016, 1:35 pm
I think when I moved out and took financial responsibility for myself is when I became an “adult”… I still don’t particularly like it most days but I’ve got it under control.
MaterialsGirl February 29, 2016, 1:48 pm
I think there are different points where I’ve felt like an adult, but something more recent has solidified it. I was driving home late one night from O’Hare after finishing up a business trip. I had been traveling nearly every week for a few months and I was thinking about ordering Pad Thai from Ben Rice and Noodle on the corner. All of a sudden, it hit me: this was the life I always wanted: to be busy with work, to be traveling, to just order food and come home to a nice apartment that I lived in on my own. I was happy with myself finally. The years of living for someone else and the carnage of the divorce had finally ended and I was emerging fresh and new and at peace. That’s when I knew.
kmentothat February 29, 2016, 2:02 pm
I’m so so happy for you 🙂
blink14 February 29, 2016, 1:50 pm
I’ve been 30 for about 6 months and have started to become really nostalgic about my 20s. Of course there was heartbreak, financial struggles, 2 serious medical issues to deal with, but holy crap looking back did I have an awesome time overall. I think perspective has made more of an adult – I definitely do not feel like I am 30 mentally (physically I feel about 100 right now), but being able to look back at a decade of my life and point out the life changing moments feels very adult like.
Loch February 29, 2016, 1:53 pm
I was going to say when we bought our first house but that was still like playing with a dollhouse picking countertops and paint colors. I think it was two things. My first professional job out of graduate school when I became a real dedicated and committed employee because I loved my job. The other thing that really did it was the birth and death of our first child. Figuring out how to go on. I still have moments when I think, “S#%t, I’m the grownup here. I have to be in charge and take responsibility.” And I’m north of 60 .
kmentothat February 29, 2016, 2:01 pm
I’ve been an adult my whole life. I had a very difficult family dynamic (physically abusive siblings, parents that thought “boys will be boys” and swept it under the rug, and a mother that had extreme mood swings). Even as the youngest I was the family mediator and the one that tried to make peace. It’s why I’m fantastic in stressful jobs and also why I end up in terrible relationships.
I think I had a few big ones like Wendy, the real one was when I was a senior in college and my mother’s long term affair was revealed. Every member of my family lost it and my parents were telling me things way way way beyond what a parent should tell a child. They also asked me to take a train home from college and bail them out of jail in the midst of it (long story). There were also death threats to my family so I was literally in fear for my life. I very calmly demanded they go to therapy until they finally did. And then I went to the student health center and started therapy. And still graduated with honors. And with real boundaries with my family for the first time in my life.
And thaaaaaaaat was depressing. Other adult moments: going to college against my parents wishes, moving every time I have moved for work, getting a cat….15 year commitment! Leaving bad situations and being able to be happy again after. Hoping, despite everything, to happy again after.
Dear Wendy February 29, 2016, 4:22 pm
Woah, I want to hear much more about this in a very nosy, probably inappropriate, way.
ktfran February 29, 2016, 4:51 pm
kmentothat February 29, 2016, 5:38 pm
I feel like when I even start to write it out it sounds like I made it up. Like Mexican mafia, people calling my dad and saying this guy offered him $20,000 to kill one of us, my parents getting arrested for trying to sink his boat…it’s surreal. I am pretty upfront about all of this with guys that I get serious with (and oddly, that I have a pretty good relationship with my family now) and my history of being cheated on. So this is why is was SUPER shocking that this last one cheated. Salt in a wound, in like the most cruel way.
ktfran February 29, 2016, 2:12 pm
I can’t think of a defining moment when I knew I was an adult. There have been lots of little instances that make me feel more adult than a moment before. For instance:
Deciding to work in Yellowstone for a summer while in college.
Moving more than 1,200 miles away from my hometown after college.
Renting my very first apartment…without the help of roommates!
Calling off an engagement to a perfectly good person.
Making lots of friends in yet another brand new city and deciding this was home.
Learning to stick up for myself.
Learning to cook well and healthy.
Every Saturday and Sunday when I go through my lovely morning routines…. Like Sundays, early morning grocery shopping, picking up a coffee and pastry, brunching with friends, relaxing and finally prepping for the week.
However, I think the biggest for me is that I’m finally comfortable with who I am. And I like myself. That’s made a huge difference in whether or not I feel like an adult.
Michelle February 29, 2016, 6:59 pm
However, I think the biggest for me is that I’m finally comfortable with who I am. And I like myself. Yes. This. So much this.
So many of those other things are just markers. Not to negate them or minimize them as means of “crossing that line,” but merely to identify that there are things that happen to some people but not to others, or they happen at different times, so trying to say, “It’s when I had/did fill-in-in-the-blank” as a marker of adulthood won’t work for everyone. I’m so grateful that no one here is saying that.
I turned 40 last week. I married “late” (5 years ago); we paid off our mortgage maybe four years ago; our cars are paid off; our student loans are paid off; we managed to send me through grad school (out-of-state grad school, so higher tuition) with no student loans; just this summer I finally started a full-time job that comes with a slew of benefits and a pension (I’m a teacher). We’re childless, and it irks me to hear those with children tell me they didn’t really know who they were until they had children. (Again, I realize no one here is saying that; I’m just very aware of that childless state.)
Any of those could be (mis)construed as, “Welcome to adulthood!” For me, though, it’s that I’m finally becoming comfortable with myself. Many feel more comfortable with themselves sooner than I did; I’m sure there are those who are never quite comfortable with themselves, regardless of age. I like myself; I see things how I could improve, but as I stand now, I’m happy with how things are.
Michelle February 29, 2016, 7:03 pm
As an addendum: I think that helping my husband bury his mother 14 months after we got married helped, too, as did my husband losing his job 10 days after we got married. It was a rough start; my MIL wasn’t even 70, and she died six weeks after being diagnosed (cancer). I remember how undone my husband was; he was 37, which to my mind is too young to lose one’s mother (and I’m saddened when I hear about people who were younger than we were when we lost his mother).
Jessibel5 February 29, 2016, 2:14 pm
I asked my late 50’s mom recently when she felt she became an adult and her response was that sometimes she still doesn’t fully feel like one.
ktfran February 29, 2016, 3:13 pm
YES! I mean I’m 36… but some days I feel like an adult. Others I feel like I’m still a kid and all I want is my mom.
SasLinna February 29, 2016, 2:20 pm
For me, it’s the moment when I started to realize that a lot of life’s questions simply don’t have any definite answers and that I truly have to trust my own judgement. I think for a long time I was kind of looking for a formula to guide me, but it does not exist. That’s equally freeing and terrifying.
I also think that you can become an adult several times, and in different ways. People’s stories are about experiencing a deep shift in perspective, which can happen several times and with regard to different issues. I’ve heard from people who experienced such a deep shift when they lost their parents in their 50ies and became the oldest family members still alive. Doesn’t get much more adult than that!
K February 29, 2016, 2:23 pm
Probably when I first moved into my own apartment after college. I lived with a housemate at first but then moved into and rented my own place. I think if I ever buy a house then I’ll truly fully feel like an adult. That’s kind of the marker for me, which I know is dumb.
jamie5015 February 29, 2016, 2:27 pm
Really, it was when I was 29 that it all finally came together. I spent that year going through very low-level employment and essentially poverty, divorce, had to put down my cat from my teens (making that decision and staying with her felt very adult), and on and on. By the time I hit 30 I had started to rebuild my credit, moved to a new city with a real career job, my own apartment (no family, spouse or roommates) and felt like I had made a 180 in about 8 months.
Sara February 29, 2016, 2:40 pm
I became an adult slowly, too. But for me a big “I’m an adult now” was when I realized that my parents don’t always have the best answers to a problem/situation I have. That I know myself better than my parents know me and that I have to trust myself to make good decisions. And that those decisions might not look what my parents think I should do.
Hobbesnblue February 29, 2016, 5:31 pm
I wasn’t sure what my answer would be, but you said it for me! Learning that I shouldn’t live for my parents’ approval was and is still hard for me, especially because I was always a very good kid, but it’s the only way I can have a life that’s true to my desires and ethics.
Anonymousse February 29, 2016, 9:45 pm
Me too! When I kind of realized they are just grown people, and didn’t necessarily know the answers.
Jessibel5 February 29, 2016, 2:54 pm
I usually only feel like an adult if I’ve gotten my to do list completely checked off and have a sense of accomplishment about my day. Like, if I do an extra thing like get my oil changed, I walk around with this swagger the rest of the day and have to tell myself to “sit DOWN, Jessica, you didn’t just cure cancer.” so that attitude probably defeats the purpose and shows that I’m still not really mentally prepared to be an adult.
Stuff comes up and you just have to do it. Shit happens and you just have to deal with it. I guess I’ve felt like an adult for a while then.
I mean, I KNOW I’m an adult. I keep other things alive (dogs) and I keep my house from falling down by cleaning the dryer vents and turning off the outside water in the winter and all that jazz. I know how to change my tire if I get a flat. I go to my job every day even though some days I hate it. I’m (usually) in clean clothes (jeans totally don’t need to get washed every time you wear them!). I go to my dr’s appointments, and make said appointments without being reminded. But sometimes I still just feel like I’m an approximation of an adult and I’m still playing at it, because sometimes I need to call my mom for stuff, or pops gets a “yo, old man, how do I…..?” And sometimes I’m not as productive as I feel I should be so I feel less adult. So I know I am one, but don’t always feel like one?
Portia February 29, 2016, 3:27 pm
I think it was sometime in my early/mid-twenties between finding and securing my own apartment during my second year of grad school (loved that place) and moving with Bassanio to another city together a few years later. We had to make a lot of decisions that would shape what our life was going to look like. And those first few months in the new city weren’t easy, especially because I didn’t interact with a lot of people and wasn’t making friends (being in grad school and going back and forth every few weeks was rough). But I did feel more like an adult and was thinking more long-term than I had before.
Portia February 29, 2016, 3:28 pm
Also, Hyperbole and a Half FTW! 🙂
Jessibel5 February 29, 2016, 4:36 pm
With the pictures appropriately memed from the “This Is Why I’ll Never Be An Adult” post!
findingtheearth February 29, 2016, 4:35 pm
The first night I was home alone with my newborn daughter. Then slowly as she gets older and I get more and more accustomed to staying home and being boring.
The only time I don’t feel like an adult is when I don’t know how to do something other adults do. Or I remember I am 30, still renting, and have no solid plans for “adult” things like home ownership, marriage, etc.
othy February 29, 2016, 4:45 pm
I left home and moved 2,000 miles away for college when I was 17. I was still supported in part by my parents (and lots of scholarships).
I graduated from school and was engaged at 20.
I was married at 21.
Even with all of that, I would view my full adulthood hitting at 24. That year, I got my first real job, even though it was only part time. In fact, it was on my birthday that my boss called me to let me know they were hiring me. I got bumped up to full time within 3 months, and got a big raise after 5 months. Enough that Othello and I were comfortable buying our first house. Nothing makes you feel like a grownup like getting a cashier’s check for your down payment.
Since then I’ve finished my master’s degree, Othello finished his bachelors, and we got a couple of cats, a dog, and a flock of nieces.
I did get into an argument with one niece the other day. I asked her if I had to be an adult, or if I could be a kid again. She told me I couldn’t be a kid because I was an aunt. And aunts are adults. And she liked me being her aunt so much that I wasn’t allowed to be a kid again because then I wouldn’t be her aunt anymore.
Rangerchic February 29, 2016, 5:39 pm
Othy – I have an aunt that is only 18 months older than me…we were like best friends growing up so yes, aunts can be kids too!
LisforLeslie February 29, 2016, 5:12 pm
The first time I sent back a bottle of wine because I just didn’t like it was the first time I really felt like an adult.
Other memorable moments that made me say “Huh, I guess that changed”:
When I didn’t need anyone to co-sign an apartment lease.
The first time someone called me Ma’am instead of Miss (that one was hard).
When I was in the ER and didn’t immediately call anyone because I just didn’t want to deal with any questions until I had answers. I was nervous but not in pain and saw no reason to make my life harder at that moment.
othy February 29, 2016, 5:20 pm
I was in elementary school the first time I was ma’amed. So it didn’t bother me quite as much.
Anonymousse February 29, 2016, 9:49 pm
Ha ha! Ma’amed in elementary?
I totally despise being ma’amed. One thing that always tickles me about my husband is he calls old ladies “miss.”
Anonymousse February 29, 2016, 5:17 pm
I think I’m technically a “millennial” and I’m a parent and I still feel like a kid sometimes. I feel like an adult when I’m thinking something along the lines of, “those youths!”
Adulting is hard. It really is, some days.
Maybe the most pivotal adult moments for me were times where I realized I am resilient on my own. Ending a physically abusive relationship, even though it broke my heart. Being single, alone, in a new city and being happy with that. Overcoming anger, learning to breathe.
The first time my net income on my tax return was an “adult” number was a real celebratory moment as an adult!
MaterialsGirl February 29, 2016, 6:17 pm
The first time i owed significantly on taxes. That one hurt
Anonymousse February 29, 2016, 9:47 pm
Yeah, that’d do it, too. Damn. I’ve had told pay, but never significantly.
Lynn February 29, 2016, 5:22 pm
When I got a my own dog, I think I became an adult. It’s the first time I had to think about anyone other myself in terms of “oh I can buy whatever” or “oh I can go here, here and here.” I can’t just go to happy hour, I can’t just go out of town, I can’t pass out at a friend’s apartment… I can’t do any of that unless I’ve made prior accommodations or plans for my dog. Also between food, bully sticks, toys and scheduled vet visits, I spend anywhere from $100-400 (vet) a month on him. BUT! I wouldn’t have it any other way because I love him so dearly.
GertietheDino February 29, 2016, 5:27 pm
I still feel like a non-adult sometimes. I feel most adult when all my stuff is done (house clean, laundry done and put away, dishes done, etc.). It gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Rangerchic February 29, 2016, 5:38 pm
I think that’s a tough question. I just turned 40 in December…But, I had my first child at 19 and I thought I was a grown-up then that had it all figured out, ha! I look back and laugh at myself. But the rest of my life journey so far has both adult-like moments and feeling and non adult-like moments and feelings. The two biggest “oh shit, I have to deal with this as an adult moments” have been: My mom calling me and telling me she left dad and they were divorcing (after nearly 40 years of marriage – out of the blue).
And, about a year after that – deciding together with my husband, last April to move to Colorado – 12 hours and a several states away from our entire families. One of our best decisions ever…though we do miss friends and family.
Having my two daughters didn’t make me feel grown-up, oddly enough. I think because, though I love my children to pieces, I didn’t center my entire world or identity with them.
veritek33 February 29, 2016, 5:45 pm
Do you ever really feel like an adult? I mean, I still feel like I’m a kid. I will say that buying and selling houses does make me feel pretty grown up. But probably what hit me the hardest was the first time I had to take a parent to the hospital or help with their medical care. It was always the opposite, and now the roles have reversed. That’s a hard slap of adulthood.
Or the time I bought a turkey for Thanksgiving because I was hosting. Turkeys are adult purchases.
Don’t worry, I keep Oreos in the freezer at all times to eat in bed and wear Halloween socks year round to keep the universe balanced.
Lianne February 29, 2016, 6:04 pm
Like others, several moments have made me realize or think, “wow. I’m a real adult now!” Like, dealing with my grandmother’s death (she practically raised my brother and me), moving to NYC at the age of 24, thinking I would move BACK to Boston with no job and rely on savings (ended up getting job and not having to though), living in my own apartment for 4 years where I loved doing anything I wanted, buying my first brand new car on my own, throwing myself a graduation party when I finally got my degree at 31 years old, moving in with a guy (my now husband) for the first time, getting engaged, buying a home, getting married, and now having a baby. I love it all. And I love that being an adult means that I get to make my own decisions and create my own life, for good or bad.
mandalee February 29, 2016, 6:44 pm
I think I felt like an adult after I moved to a random city in the middle of nowhere with my boyfriend at the time (now husband) after college. I was drowning in student loan debt and had to juggle two jobs just to make ends meet and finally make a budget, pay my bills, and save money. I remember being so very proud the first time my savings account hit four digits. We also got a dog soon after moving in together and I remember quickly going from the romanticized view I had of raising a puppy when my parents did most of the training, to having to being fully responsible for another living breathing thing myself. About four months in to us living there, my husband was traveling and the dog got sick, my brakes in my car completely went, and the apartment flooded and I remember sitting there and thinking “shit, being an adult sucks” after I managed to work everything out.
Having said that, I’m almost 30 and there are days when I still feel like I don’t have my stuff totally together like I thought I would at this age, so I wouldn’t say I feel like an adult everyday even now.
Ladyinpurplenotred February 29, 2016, 8:05 pm
Buying a vacuum and looking at healthcare.
Anonymousse February 29, 2016, 9:54 pm
Ha! Perfect answer.
Also, life insurance.
veritek33 March 1, 2016, 9:27 am
I’m not gonna lie- when I bought my new house I suddenly had carpet, so I did a bunch of research and found a badass vacuum and it’s actually, dare I say, fun(?) to vacuum that room?
I don’t even know who I am anymore/
SpaceySteph March 1, 2016, 9:32 am
Choosing healthcare is without a doubt the worst thing about being an adult. I support a single payer system at least partially because it would mean I wouldn’t have to choose my own healthcare again.
Trixy Minx February 29, 2016, 10:21 pm
I am not adulting. I spend my summers goofing off in national parks and winters in ski resorts or other places. The whole 9-5 m to fri is not going to happen anytime soon.
Amanda March 1, 2016, 10:00 am
Last December. When in a short span of barely 18 measly hours I got a phone call to come to the hospital and then was filling out forms to have my Dad cremated.
Diablo March 1, 2016, 10:20 am
1987. Age 21. The middle of a lengthy recession that would last at least another several years. Very few jobs going. My parents lost their house and businesses and left the province for work down east, about 2000 miles away. I was starting my MA, so I stayed. No financial support, and basically no contact, as long distance rates were high back then. I had to figure out how to eat and stay in school to finish my education. Then i met M when i was 23. She had been on her own since age 17. We tag teamed life. Somewhere in there I became an adult. If you ever wonder why I am so fierce in my devotion to her, it’s because she had my back, to the last dime of both our resources, when nobody else, family or anyone, was offering any support. When you accept that you owe someone everything, even your life itself, because they already gave everything to you, that’s one way to know you have grown up.