From Our ReadersThe Test of Adulthood: Are You There Yet?From Our Readers

Whether you are an angst-ridden, analytical and unanimously mature 16-year-old, an “officially adult” 18, or a wine-purchasing 21, it can be hard to mark the exact moment when one truly becomes an adult. If you, like me, can’t quite figure out when we complete our journey past the threshold of grown-up-ness and into the qualms of adult life, I may have the solution. The following is a short, completely accurate list of seven ways to determine one’s position on the adulthood spectrum. Check three items or fewer and continue to enjoy your youth. Check three and a half and I’m sorry about the pimples. Check four? Congratulations, adult—you made it. P.S. Rent is due.

1. You have been following the presidential race for at least two years.
Skip this one if you just turned eighteen and are now psyched to cast your very first presidential vote.  That’s great, but it doesn’t assure adulthood. Also, insider tip: don’t forget to look over the propositions. If you really are an adult, you have been fully invested (or at least minimally aware) of the 2012 election since mid-2010. Ah yes, the bygone days of a million candidates, frequent debates, and fun Michelle Bachmann impersonations. You were in it for the long haul. You garnered some enjoyment from all this political fodder and now it’s time to reap the rewards. The conclusion of this adventure quickly approaches, just like the LOST finale, and you cannot contain your excitement. What does it all mean? HOW WILL IT END? WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS??

2.  You have purposely purchased a sample packet of peanut butter instead of the whole jar.
Not what you were expecting after #1, I bet. But seriously, do I have to elaborate? No adolescents are this foolish. This is purely adult nonsense. Children, preteens, and teens can all claim ownership of the sufficient self-control to enjoy a normal serving of peanut butter without becoming legume-eating monsters. Only adults are so intoxicated by the sticky substance that they must kill an entire jar in two days.  You know how you are supposed to stop believing in the tooth fairy after you loose your last tooth? Same idea.

3.  You’ve called BS on a cab’s “not working” credit card machine.
Listen, they always work.

4.  You have a credit card.

5.  A parent/spouse/best friend has forgotten your birthday.
Facebook makes this one a little complicated since it is basically a well-oiled birthday alert system, but if your parents (or spouse, or significant other, etc) have yet to sign their names away to the lovely blue book, they will most likely forget your birthday at some point. It’s not a “16 Candles” big deal. It happens, and they’re not doing it maliciously (probably). Here’s an example of how the conversation might go. Parent: “What day is your birthday?” You: “Today.” Parent: “It’s the 28th already?” You: “It’s the 26th.” Maybe they’re getting older and things occasionally slip their minds, or maybe you’ve grown up and aren’t CONSTANTLY REMINDING EVERYONE that your big day is forthcoming. Either way, someone forgot, you got over it, and you’re excited to see who drops the ball next year. Boom: adulthood.

6.  You have accidentally ordered a whole fish.
This is a wonderful and essential rite of passage into the adult world. Perhaps you were out for Chinese food and innocently ordered the steamed white fish. Surprise! Maybe you were in Maine and ordered snapper and “Oh goodness, what is this on my plate?!” I’m not talking about your basic scales here. I mean full-on fish body– tail, head, eyes, hopes, dreams, you get it. Your first test when the carcass arrives is to remain calm. Only true adults can control their shock and awe. The next test involves the fish’s actual consumption. This one is pure ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ There’s no way you know how to handle this. It’s okay. Seriously, Keith, put down the butter knife. Just try your best. Secretly everyone feels bad for you, and like my high school drama teacher said before my Oklahoma audition, they want you to succeed.

7.  You fear seagulls or pelicans or both.
Perhaps the most important sign of adulthood. You know what I’m talking about. While kids hardly notice these beach-time companions, adults are fully aware of their ominous presence. Hitchcock did it for crows, and the adult psyche does it for seagulls and pelicans. Whether you are simply concerned about a possible lunch-snatching or you are seriously worried about a body-snatching, every adult harbors at least an inkling of fear toward these avian monsters. It is, of course, purely based on aggression and has nothing to do with the flu. Don’t tell me you were 100% on-board with Scuttle from The Little Mermaid. Something is off there; we all know it.  Also, if you didn’t fear seagulls or pelicans before you read this paragraph and now you do—congrats, you can count this twice toward your adulthood knighting.

So there you have it. A quick list to help separate the children from the adults. One last note: if you write a checklist of ways to determine adulthood, you are a child.

You can read more from Rachel Kaplan on her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Feature image via.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1170120114 Melissa K. Nodurft

    I’m scared of all birds. Does that still count for the last one? And friends who think gulls, you’re wrong. I’ve lived in the midwest for my entire life. They’re everywhere. All you need is water. After all, they’re called seagulls, not oceangulls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=615883564 Alexandra Mercogliano

    I’m not totally sure about this one…. especially one about fearing seabirds… someone obviously doesn’t spend enough time out in nature. I agree on the fact this is an ‘Are you an adult?: for New York City people’ article….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=747100427 Marlana Moore

    this sounds like an are you adult for new yorkers and no one else

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611542237 Tyler Vendetti

    Oh thank god. And to think I’ve been under the impression that I was an adult this whole time. What a relief!

    :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=587108618 Rachel Casey

    I would like to change Seagulls to Pigeons as there is nothing as vile as a Dublin pigeon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002466882328 Ellie Motolly Tully

    I have just turned 18 and have been freaking out because I’m now an ‘adult’! Thanks for making me realize I’m not. Hehe ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1329468099 Alyssa Christine Lladoc

    Not an adult yet too!:) the only thing i have is a credit card..i don’t think fear would be the word for no. 5. It should be hate, then I’d have two things checke on the list:)
    Hate seagulls

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000180120838 Kati Ber

    not an adult yet! yay! :D

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