I’ve always joked about not wanting to grow up, but I think getting older snuck up on me. One day I just woke up, and boom, I’m an adult. Here are 16 signs that tell me I’ve finally crossed that threshold into adulthood.
1. I understand what “networking” means.
Growing up, I believed that hard work and determination could bring success in all aspects of life. As an adult, I now understand that too much of that success really rides on who you know. Enter: the concept of networking. I’ve had to force myself to go to so many events and talk to so many strangers for the sole purpose of sticking my feet in as many potential doors as possible.
2. I don’t understand what “yeet” means.
Slang changes too fast, I can no longer keep up. “Yeet” is just a sound to me. Does it even have a meaning? Does anyone say “lame” anymore or is that just me? It took me way too long to catch on to why people on the internet started saying “big mood.” (At least I believe it’s the newest form of “same,” but I could still be mistaken.) Kids these days and their new words are too much for me. (I’m only being slightly sarcastic.)
3. Both standing and sitting for a prolonged period of time leave me sore.
I remember falling off monkey bars as a child and being perfectly fine, but now I can sleep wrong and wake up in pain. Why are you doing this to me, body?
4. I’m more concerned about wrinkles than acne.
I still occasionally break out, but it’s the three wrinkles between my eyebrows that really drive me insane. They weren’t there a few years ago, and there’s no way to hide them now. My age is showing on my face. (At least regularly dying my hair will prevent me from ever noticing if I start greying.)
5. No one can stop me from eating cake for breakfast.
The true sign of adulthood: being able to do whatever you want whenever you want, such as buying anything and everything at the grocery store without a special occasion. No adult can tell me that I can’t eat cake for breakfast, because I am the adult.
6. But I know if I do eat cake for breakfast, my stomach will hurt the rest of the day.
My body can’t handle sugar the way it used to anymore. That doesn’t always stop me from devouring as many sweet things as possible, but I pay for it now.
7. I drink better alcohol than Natty Lite.
The good old days in college consisted largely of smiling politely and taking whatever cheap beer was handed to me at tailgates and parties, no matter how awful it tasted. Now I can say I’ve gone wine tasting in both Napa and Italy. Wine always seemed like such a classy adult beverage, and I’m still a bit surprised I enjoy it.
8. Drinking too much hurts the next day.
The older I get, the more frequent (and brutal) the hangovers become after a night of drinking. In college I was invincible, but now I have to plan for a day of rest. Sometimes it’s not even just the hangover, though. Too much alcohol makes my teeth hurt and gives me heartburn, too. Maybe it’s better to just not drink at all anymore.
9. I chew Tums more often than candy.
Everything gives me heartburn. I can’t go anywhere without Tums unless I decide to stop enjoying life.
10. I have the “there’s food at the house” conversation with myself daily.
Fast food is always tempting, but I have to remember to be responsible and save money as much as possible. I understand now why my parents were always opposed to going out to eat after already having bought groceries.
11. I’m genuinely excited about having an office.
I recently joined a women’s-only coworking space, and I am thrilled about having a place I can go to get work done where I won’t get distracted by Netflix. Paying a monthly fee for what is essentially office space because I want to work? Who even am I anymore?
12. My bedtime has gone from 2am to 9pm.
It started with nights I’d fall asleep on the couch with a book in my hands or the TV on, and eventually it became: brushing my teeth for bed around the time I was once leaving the house for a night out.
13. I’m no longer mistaken for a high school student.
I became a substitute teacher this year, and remembering all the times I’ve been ID’ed at the movie theater, my biggest initial concern was that students (or faculty) wouldn’t take me seriously because I look so young. Maybe I don’t look as young as I thought anymore, because that has not come up once. Most students have actually been surprised I’m not married with kids already.
14. My favorite albums are all at least 15 years old.
I will never forget listening to Green Day’s American Idiot straight through for the first time on Window’s Media Player on my parents’ desktop computer… in 2004. I still listen to that album religiously, as well as most other music I loved in middle school. Those albums are now almost old enough to drive.
15. I’ve met a 13-year-old named Hermione.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first released in 1997, which makes the series 21 years old, but it didn’t click for me just how old the generation of kids who grew up on Harry Potter really were until I met a middle schooler named after one of the main characters.
16. My friends are having babies because they want to.
Probably the most shocking revelation of all was my best friend-since-seventh-grade telling me she and her husband are thinking about trying for kids. I’m not sure I’m even ready to raise a kitten yet, but a lot of people in my age group are parents because they were ready to become parents. My generation is now officially raising the next generation. We’re not the kids anymore.