Hello Adulthood, when did you get here?
You kind of sneaked up on me after college…you know, when I thought you’d already been around for four years at least.
But, Adulthood, you didn’t get here right away. Not even when he and I got married and moved away and made our first few homes together.
I certainly thought I was an adult back then, but you see, I was still leaving dirty dishes in the sink at night. I was still making stupid, newbie mistakes and binge-watching Netflix shows.
But somehow as I’ve slid closer to 30 I’ve found my footing in this new stage, and I know just where I am going forward.
Adulthood, you feel great.
I know there’s so much that goes into adulthood besides one’s age, but I’ve had a few “Aha!” moments lately where I think I’ve identified a few ingredients that go into making a responsible grownup.
First, note this: Some of these may not apply to you at all, and if you’re not doing them it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a responsible adult. This post is really just supposed to be fun, and hopefully a little challenging or inspiring!
10 Signs You’ve Become a Responsible Adult
You dress like one
Your style has evolved a lot since high school and college. You still might not have the biggest clothing budget, but you put tastefulness, maturity, and personality into everything you buy. You take better care of your clothes, and you know how to pick quality out of a lineup.
You don’t get bent out of shape by things you can’t control
And there are many of them: Your family members. The weather. Politics. The way anyone responds to you, ever. You’re learning to roll with the punches, choose joy in your circumstances, and do what you can to improve the situation as far as it depends on you.
You don’t let deadlines creep up on you
You almost always pay your bills on time. Embarrassing, last-minute bids for extensions and grace periods are few and far between. In fact, you’ve even gotten better about returning your library books before they’re overdue. Note: You know that a good planner can help with deadlines!
You don’t go to bed with a sink full of dirty dishes
Remember how you used to cook up a storm or host a get-together and then have zero motivation for cleaning up afterwards? You felt very little guilt about letting the dishes pile up…for days. Now you put your kitchen in order before you go to bed, even if you’re tired.
You’re ready to fall asleep by 10:00…or 9:00…
If you stay up past 11:00 it’s a “late night,” and if you’re up past midnight it feels like you’ve had a night of debauchery. The fact is, you’re so busy being responsible all day that you need your hard-earned rest at the end of it. You’ve probably also realised that going to bed at a decent hour is a positive habit. And maybe you’ve become an early riser, too, which makes bedtime all the more important.
You don’t store stuff at your parents’ house
It’s convenient not to have to deal with all your stuff. And sometimes when you’re living in really tight quarters it’s necessary to keep things at mom and dad’s for a time. But you know they can’t–and shouldn’t–house your stuff indefinitely, so you’ve finally taken the last box. You’ve done some major decluttering, and now your home comfortably fits everything you own, with breathing room to spare.
You stick to a budget
You’ve made some financial mistakes and had a few false starts with budgeting, but by now you have a pretty good system down for tracking your income and spending. You live within (or below) your means, and are working towards financial goals. Keeping a budget has taught you the cost of all the things you buy, but it’s also given you stability and a whole lot less stress when surprises come along.
You don’t lounge around when you get off work
Gone are the days when you’d get home from work and bum around for an hour or two to “recover.” You defer leisure til later, instead using your post-work time for responsible things like housekeeping, bill paying, parenting, and sundry chores. You’ve learned to work while you work and play while you play; you still have plenty of fun, just not at the expense of duty.
You don’t gamble with your future
Whether your body is reminding you that you’re aging, or past choices are catching up with you, you’re definitely less frivolous with your health and resources than you used to be. You’re curbing bad habits now so you can enjoy all those dreams you imagined long into your future.
You see yourself as a heroine, not a victim
Life is rife with injustice, and you’ve already lived through a lot of difficult times and things that just plain shouldn’t have happened. They still make you depressed or even angry to think about, and you know there are more hardships ahead. But you’ve chosen to take control of your story. You know that every heroine in every story faces difficulties. Those difficulties are part of her plot, and the way she responds to them makes her a heroine.
You can choose to grumble at all the things that shouldn’t be so hard, like adulthood. Or you can embrace it. You can rise above whatever’s trying to keep you low and stagnant and discontent. Do the best with what you have, where you are.
Have I “arrived” as a perfectly responsible adult? Not really. I still struggle with most of these things from time to [sometimes often] time. But I love improving and I’m okay knowing that there’s room for more of that in my story.