10 Signs You’re Becoming a Real Adult

Adulting is hard to do, and it feels like almost all of us spend the decade of our 20s figuring out how to do it. But there comes a time in every young woman’s (or man’s) life in which we realize that we are, ever so slowly, learning the ropes of adulthood. Here are some signs you’re on the right track.

1. You care about your credit score

The first time your college-self got a credit card, you went a little hog-wild. Now you’re trying to pick up the pieces of too many nights out and apply for a better card, with lower interest, better rewards, and frequent reporting. The moment you get approved, you start planning ways to boost your credit score, tracking it as it goes from 620 to 687. Your late-teen self didn’t even know how to read a statement.

2. You bargain shop

Whether it’s Groupon, Cartwheel, or just a thorough Google search, you actively hunt down the best prices on things you’re planning to buy. Need a new lamp? Instead of just picking one up at Target, you look around and compare costs, finding the best deal possible. You become very pleased with yourself for saving $10.

3. You own a tire gauge

Not only do you know how to use it, you actually check your tires from time to time.

4. You return library books on time

This is one I have been struggling with for my entire life. I’ve got the habit of using the library down pat (Free books! Free movies!), but not so much the avoiding-fines part of it. The day I remembered to call and renew was a momentous occasion.

5. You look forward to bedtime

Long gone are the days when you stay up ’til the wee hours of the night just for kicks. Some days, you might even roll out of bed and whisper “t-minus sixteen hours until the next sleep.” This is how you know you’ve achieved Prime Adult Status.

6. You schedule appointments—and keep them

When the reminder comes from your dentist’s office in the mail, usually on a cheery tooth-themed postcard, you call them up that very day and schedule your next cleaning. You’ve got a regular doctor and you go to checkups. Heck, you have health insurance (even if it’s on your parent’s plan, it still counts—thanks, Obama), and you not only stick to your appointment date, you actually get there on time. You get your oil changed every six months and your eyes examined yearly, like a true champ. I can’t even tell you how many times I skipped out on appointments during my college years, and when I realized I was actually getting good at keeping them, I gave myself a gold star on the grownup chart.

7. You know how to say no

Saying “no” encompasses a lot of categories: invitations for a night out when you’ve got work in the morning, requests to take on something extra at work, favors asked, opportunities offered, or even that second date. It takes a deep knowledge of yourself to recognize when you need to say no to something, even if it sounds good. Maybe you need rest, or less stress in the workplace, or just time to do things that recharge you. When you recognize that no, that person just isn’t worth your time, and you can say so graciously, you’re one step closer to true adulthood.

8. You don’t ever accidentally put your underwear on inside out

Oh, that’s not a thing? Okay. . .maybe that’s just me. The number of times I have spent an entire day with inside-out underwear and not realized it is a surprisingly large amount that I am unwilling to disclose at this time. It is obviously something I am still working on in my quest towards adulthood.

9. Your bills get paid on time

The day you sign up for automatic bill payments is the day you put on your newest pair of Big Girl Pants.

10. You’re not afraid of working on yourself

We’re a generation of introspection, with billions of blogs and tweets and emotional Tumblr accounts. But that doesn’t always translate into being able to openly and honestly confront your own flaws. Whether it’s therapy, or talking with a friend, or even just making a list of goals for yourself, a willingness to recognize you’ve got stuff to work out signifies a shift into a mature and fruitful life.

If you check off even half of this list, congratulations, you’re well on your way to adulthood!

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