As we graduate college, get a job and time rolls on, responsibility and adulthood become unavoidable. Although some might want to stay an angsty teen or party-hard college kid forever, most of us are OK with adulthood. That said, there seems to be a transition into being an adult, a few token moments when you realize, “OK, I have arrived.”
Some are lame, some are fantastic, some are inconvenient and some just downright suck, but most happen to us all, like it or not. And, OK, these aren’t all going to apply to you. I currently have $50 in my checking account and just spent $45 of that on books with the hopes that my mom will give me some leftovers for dinner tomorrow night: Adulthood, amiright?
No, these are just a few signs that you might have noticed along the way that mean you’re growing and changing. Don’t be upset if you can’t budget your money properly or express how you feel about politics, that is what maturing is all about: messing up, figuring it out and maybe buying a dog. Personally, I recommend buying something on impulse once a month (read: a purse maybe, not a dog). Nevertheless, I dare you not to admit that some of the following have been real-life, positive changes since your fustercluck college days. Cheers to adulthood!
You’re on a budget. In adulthood, impulse buying has, for the most part, come to a sad end. Being an adult means responsibility, which most likely means you’re receiving those sweet tokens of soul-sucking love in the mail, also known as bills. Many of which you probably didn’t even know existed (sewage?) and because of these bills, your ass is now on a budget. Things like power, water, gas, groceries, car payments and property tax all come before spending money which, sadly, there usually isn’t much of.
You cook. Chances are you didn’t go from living with your mom to living with a personal chef (and if you did, damn you) so that means dinner’s on you. One of my favorite things about being an adult has been cooking. Learning the ways of the kitchen and, over time, producing edible meals, turns out to be very enjoyable and relaxing after a stressful day at work.
You manage your time. Or, in other words, your time matters and you care how you spend it. For me, this means consciously scheduling my free time for things I care about, like dates with my man, Saturday breakfast with my parents, happy hour with my girls, early morning workouts and most importantly, time for myself to read and relax. As an adult you must manage your time because, frankly, there isn’t enough of it!
You’re willing to give your time/money to a cause. You want to know what really happens during the transition into adulthood? You go from being young and self-absorbed to young and self-aware. You open your eyes, mind and heart to the tragedies that surround you. Things like ALS or homelessness start to pull at your heartstrings and you decide to put some effort into making this world a little better. This is a time where you might look back on your life so far and realize, “Wow, I have been truly blessed,” and realize for the first time that not everyone else was dealt such a great hand. This motivates you to get involved, give back and care about humanity.
You start to develop political views. As you age and start seeing things like taxes and insurance come out of your paychecks, you start to care about those things. We hear about injustice in the news and we start to look into the reasons, laws and policies behind what goes on in our world. We become of legal age to vote and we do our part to learn about the candidates and what they stand for and we engage others in political debates and conversations.
You find yourself giving advice. No, you don’t jump into adulthood and become the bearer of all things wise and knowledgable. But, you have made some mistakes over the years and when you see someone else about to jog down that dark path, you talk to them. Perhaps you know a someone ditching high school to do drugs and you take a minute to talk to them about the importance of doing well in school and taking things seriously. Or you could know a young person being bullied and you let them know that life is so much bigger and more beautiful than these dark moments. As you get older you start to notice people going through things you’ve experienced and you give them advice, you share your story.
You enjoy family time. Could you imagine being excited to have dinner with your parents on a Saturday night pre-adulthood? No, probably not, because there was always something better to do in your youth then hang with your fam. Well, not anymore! Turns out family time is pretty freaking awesome. As you get older you realize just how special family is. They are there through thick and thin and have that special ability to love you even when they hate you.
You network and never burn professional bridges. This is a big one. As you get older you begin to realize that it is all about who you know. Networking is a great professional tool and if you’ve made a good impression on someone they will remember you. Even when you are in a poor work environment and want to tell your boss how you really feel, you don’t. Or you do so in a way that is respectable and professional because who knows what will happen later in life. You might change your mind and want that job back or your boss might mention your name to a colleague with a job opening. You just never know so you always maintain professionalism and you try to never burn bridges.
You have a pet. It is pretty much impossible to take care of a pet, feed it and make sure its shots are up to date unless you have your shit together. You really can’t be irresponsible when another beating heart depends on you for everything. Pets are hard work. They require love, attention and a ridiculous amount of money. Being mom to a furbaby pretty much equals adulthood in my book.
You dress appropriately. Before the Internet rips my head off, what I am saying is that as you get older, your wardrobe changes a bit. Most places of employment have dress codes and you begin to realize that low cut tops are better for the bar than the conference table. Personally, I noticed the change from wanting to be “hot” to wanting to be more modest. I became very uncomfortable in short shorts and low cut tops and before I knew it my whole wardrobe was from The Limited. And I love it.