For the longest time we say, “When I grow up I want…” but at what point do we stop saying that?
The feeling that you’re an adult is one that creeps in on you. Most don’t realize it’s happening. For me, I woke up one morning, not that long ago, with a baby on one side of me, husband on the other in our house we own about to get up at 4am to start my day and I took a look around to be hit with that moment of realization. This is it. I’m actually an adult.
How did someone who previously left an old plate of nachos under her bed for a week in high school get here? Not just an adult by age but by responsibility too.
You might still be living in the land of the youth. Let me warn you, the signs aren’t always obvious like trying to use an old coupon or getting excited about a sale on the “good” brand of toilet cleaner. Sometimes the signs are more subtle.
You actually start noticing the “spot” on the countertop that seemingly always needs to be cleaned.
You know the “spot.” The “spot” that your mom is always talking about when she’s saying you didn’t wipe down the countertops. The “spot” you missed while mopping or vacuuming. THE spot.
There comes a day when you will join in noticing those specks of filth. Is it a hard water stain? Juice? Cheese? Whatever it is and wherever they are, you’ll magically find the need to wipe it down almost everyday.
Beware. These spots can be ANYWHERE. Even in your sink.
When a great gift for you is a practical one.
“What do you want for Christmas?” If you find yourself starting to fantasize about a steam mop or finally getting a valance for the curtains in that one room… you are a responsible adult.
Say goodbye to gifts you didn’t know about. You’ll be asking your family to get you new tires for Christmas. You won’t even miss the surprise of opening a gift. In fact, it gets to the point where you have no clue what something is… you’re almost hesitant. Will you like it? Do you already own it? You’ll say thank you, no matter what but will secretly it was a new potato peeler and not socks with sushi on them.
You send acknowledgments for gifts.
I think what will really set you apart from young adult to responsible adult is this one thing. SENDING GIFT ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.
It’s kind of a lost art. Remember after every birthday mom would have you sit down and write thank you notes to those who thought of you on that day? Why did you stop…?
If mom doesn’t have to remind you to do this anymore (because you’re actually doing it) then you have transcended into a considerate and thoughtful adult.
Sending a thank you note isn’t a waste. When you spend your money on someone, you want to know they got what you bought! Even if someone handed it to you in person, you should send a thank you note of some variety.
Personally I think a text isn’t good enough. It’s kind of tacky and informal for gifts over $20 in my opinion. I always hand write my thank you notes. Nothing too long. A couple sentences thanking a friend for their generosity and letting them know I’ll be using it or how I’ve already put it to use.
If you struggle with thank you notes, click HERE to see a basic structure you can turn to!
Understanding the importance of the RSVP.
Something that seems like common sense, just isn’t. If a gathering is asking for an RSVP it’s because there is money on the line. The host is paying for you to do something- eat, drink, take up space at a venue, etc. RESPOND TO THE RSVP.
Even if you are not going, you send it in. Don’t send it back as “maybe” to not offend the host. Fully decline. A maybe still wastes your friends money. And odds are- you’re not the only person that never gave a firm answer.
Suddenly a party expecting 20 has only 10 show up. No one throwing a party at their house wants to try and store party leftovers meant for 10 additional bodies or have their fridge full of Bud Light for a month.
If your hosting the party, the other nightmare is having additional people show up.
If it’s a dinner party and someone brings a plus 1 without notifying you, now your table doesn’t seat everyone, the food ran out too quick, there’s no ice to keep the drinks cold and the party gets sober because the plus one didn’t BYOB and drank two bottles of wine.
RSVPs are important. Maybe you have to go through planning a wedding or baby shower to really get the impact- but until you respect the RSVP, you are no adult in my book! (Half joking… half…)
When it didn’t require a phone call to mom to get something done.
Yep. She’s great. The adulting pro in your life you turn to with all your questions.
The day you stop assuming she knows everything and start being able to figure out things without a step-by-step over the phone is when it’s time to wake up to the fact you’re a grown up.
Making lists & following them.
When I was younger, I remember having little pieces of paper around the house with scribblings from my mom I could barely make out… lists. All sorts of lists. Never on the same piece of paper. It drove me nuts.
Fast forward to now. Oops. I have SO many lists. Thank goodness technology has caught up with this habit and *most* of them are electronic.
Not only do I have a written planner where I make a list for each day but in my phone I have general lists that are ever-growing. One for show ideas. Blog ideas. Groceries I need. Gift ideas for my friends and family. Ideas for things to do on the weekend. The list, literally, goes on!
I don’t recall the day this started happening. It just did. Maybe college? I didn’t take me long to realize why adults were always making lists. Because using your brain gets harder as you age and makes it so you forget to buy butter EVERY DANG TIME YOU GO TO THE STORE.
If you haven’t graduated to making lists all the time, then you are not officially an adult. There is still time for you!
When a kid naturally considers you an authority.
Having a kid point out your age is always a wake up call.
Children naturally gravitate towards adults and immediately view them as authority figures without being verbally told to do so. They are able to basically smell the adultness on you.
When you own a safe.
You nearly peak at being a responsible when you finally buy a fireproof safe. “What would you grab in a house fire?” is an easier question when there is a bunch of stuff you don’t have to grab!
I have a little electronic safe with a flood and fire case inside of it where we keep original copies of important government documents, cash, and other things you don’t always need but do always need safe.
Did you think you were a responsible adult until you read this and realized you should probably own a safe?
Here is a link so you can take care of that right now!
Probably the most annoying thing about accepting your adulthood is also realizing that everything everyone said about growing up and age being just a number is all true.
Most bits of cliche advice that you tuned out every time you heard, are absolutely correct. If you’re stubborn, it’s tough to come to terms with because you are now the adult who will soon be administering the same crap you didn’t want to listen to.
One of just a million epiphany’s you’ll have. Don’t be fooled by the mislabeling of adulthood. Nowadays it’s seen as mundane, plain, and void of time for fun. It’s time to rebrand!
Spend the next couple of weeks rebranding what being an adult means to you!
Now that I have a kid- this is something I needed to do. To me, it means having enough years of wisdom to navigate the world with compassion and being willing to share what I’ve learned with others (or in my case, the next generation!)
Do your actions line up with the kind of adult you want to be? Food for thought!