Rachel Grate
September 03, 2015 7:12 am

If you’ve ever felt like a “pretend adult,” you’re not alone: A new study shows that most people don’t start feeling like a real adult until they’re 29 years old.

The study was done by U.K. firm Fly Research, who interviewed 2,000 18+ Britons about when their inner child quieted down. They conducted the study on behalf of Beagle Street life insurance, who wanted to explore the effect of millennials waiting longer for major adulthood milestones. Ultimately, the study was able to narrow down the effect multiple factors have on making us feel like “real adults.” According to their research, the three milestones most likely to make you feel like an adult are buying a home, having kids, and marriage.

And in case you’re wondering, the situation is the same on this side of the Atlantic. A U.S.-based poll by Allstate and the National Journal Heartland Monitor found similar results. After interviewing groups between 18-29 and over 30, they found that, “‘Growing up’ is seen by most to include a supervisory job with a career path, an advanced degree with student loans paid off, getting married and having children.”

Don’t worry, though. Being an adult doesn’t mean getting rid of your inner child entirely — it just means putting your inner child on time out from time to time. (And, when you’re really an adult, it means putting your actual child on time out sometimes, too.)

After all, the study also found that there are certain factors more likely to make you feel like a kid — and while financial reliance on or living with your parents took first place, some of the factors are things we’d all likely enjoy doing at any age. For instance, playing computer games, watching kids’ movies, enjoying cartoons on TV, wanting to travel the world, and having young role models are all hobbies that bring out your inner child.

I for one am definitely glad this study came out, because as a recent college grad I’ve spent the past four months wondering when this adulthood thing would really hit. I came close last week when I went to Target and actually only bought the items on my list, but considering that list included gummy vitamins, I’m definitely not quite a grownup yet.

Now that I know that science says I have seven full years to sit back and relax before adulthood really hits, I actually feel a little bit better. (Though hopefully it won’t take that long to be confident enough to do my taxes without my parents.)

At the same time, some indicators point to adulthood having already arrived in my life. I love my “real job,” and I already get excited about staying in for the night and hosting dinner parties. But I’m nowhere near some of the other milestones on the adulthood list — it’ll definitely be a while before I cross off having a pension, life insurance, or a joint bank account.

Want to check your own progress to adulthood? Check out the full list of qualities and milestones that make people feel all grown up or young at heart from our friends at Mic.

Just some reminders that it’s awesome to be a grown-up

Ten things they never tell you about growing up when you’re a teen

(Image via Revolution Studios/13 Going on 30.)

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