I’ve always thought that adulthood sounded like some exotic destination that I’d never really get to like Fiji or the inside of Ryan Gosling’s bedroom but in reality I guess it’s been slowly creeping up on me for some time now. I thought perhaps it’d be like Publisher’s Clearing House where someone knocks on my door after I’ve put together a book shelf with real tools without crying or cooked myself a balanced dinner with all the food groups and I’d magically be handed a paper that says – “Congratulations – you are an adult. You are able to make mature decisions and can now be taken seriously”. I know it doesn’t really happen this way but wouldn’t it be better if it did? I’d love if there was a checklist to maturity of things I need to do in order to feel like I both have my life together and that others can see the proof. You need to sign a lease for a new apartment? — no problem – just hand them your certificate of adulthood and sign away.
Feel free to comment and add to the list but here is what I think I am doing and have done that really makes me feel like an adult these days:
1) Buying furniture for your house or apartment. This does not include bean bags or hammocks, because c’mon – as much as we’d all love to live in a fort – it’s not practical.
2) Having movers move said furniture into your apartment/house. Nothing says “I’m doing okay” like the ability to pay that extra $30 to have your shit delivered to your house instead of asking your dad or friends to help you move it.
3) Doing your own taxes. Seriously, I really felt like I was the most mature person in the world when I did this. It only happened for the first time three years ago and I still have my dad double check it but man did I feel moderately competent at life after I did it. Also, last year when I loved to Japan I filled out a foreign tax form AND checked my friends’ tax forms. #adultfosho
4) Being able to kill vermin without crying/screaming/vomming. I can’t lie – I’m not all the way there with this but no longer living with other people is definitely forcing me into being my own heroine as I rescue myself from stink bugs, spiders, and (shivers) cockroaches.
5) The ability to refuse taking shots and to avoid certain types of alcohol. When I was 21-26 I had a hard time saying no – even when I know it would hurt, it always hurt so good. But once you’ve vomsploded so violently on New Years Day that you had to wear sunglasses to New Years Dinner (which your grandma was attending) and had to lie about said sunglasses (I’m sure everyone believed I “scratched my eye”) you’re hitting a bottom. There are many more stories of me and shots and alcohol types that make me behave badly (*cough* – tequila) – but my mom and dad read will read this so we don’t really need to get into it here do we?
Anyway, I think the ability to say “no” in any situation (not just booze related) is a major step in being an adult. It says you know your limits and you aren’t afraid to stand up for yourself and that is awesome. I’ve always admired people who can just say “No, I don’t want to do that” without giving excuses, mostly because I am not that person. To this day when I don’t want to do something for whatever reason I feel the need to give 3 reasons why I don’t want to or can’t do it. It’s terrible and I blame my innate guilty Catholic conscience.
6) Being able to be alone and live alone. Yes, this is a bit of a depressing one but a good indicator of maturity.Last year in Japan marked the first time I have lived alone without friends or family. It was hard at first. If there were dishes in the sink they were clearly mine – same goes for hair in the drain, a disgusting bathroom and expired food in the refrigerator.
Being able to live alone makes you accountable for all of your flaws and being able to balance cleaning, cooking, and entertaining yourself is super hard. I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it but I find I am doing okay. There are days when I’m lonely but then I go to the kitchen (sometimes pantless – one day I will write about the joys of being alone in one’s apartment pantless) and start cooking a well balanced meal like a real adult which I usually narrate with Julia Child’s voice. Disclaimer: I never said living alone doesn’t make you a little nuts.
7) Being financially responsible. This is the pits. Do I need to say more? Paying your Bills, Bills, Bills like a Destiny’s Child song is the worst, but it’s necessary because you can’t flee the country and live off of the grid for the rest of your life no matter how much paying students loans makes you want to die inside. Paying the bills sucks. It’s part of being an adult and it’s horrible. Not everything on this list is great you know.
8) I will follow paying the bills with something awesome. Traveling. Or shopping. Or whatever it is your real world job affords you to be able to do that you love. Yes, being a student rules, but being broke is awful. Being an adult means you are making money and maybe you have enough dough to save or put aside to do some amazing things. Did I mention I just got scuba certified in Malaysia over Christmas? I did? Well, see, — being an adult rules!
Look at me, I’m killing it and that is only 8 things on the checklist that I have done toward my girl scout badge of maturity. I’d probably also add being a good friend, a good listener and a good family member is probably on that list….sort of like not being a selfish jerk, but I feel like that is sort of a given and not just for adults but for all humans. What do you think? Do you have an “I’m a real adult” checklist? What’s on it?
Featured image via.