Being an adult isn’t always easy. Some days, you’re BBC interview crasher Marion Kelly, rocking a trench coat and DGAFing through a press conference like a boss. Other days, you’re Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 waking up with a new adult body and responsibilities and wishing you could just go back to eating Razzles with a young chubby Mark Ruffalo. But we all grow up, and even if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, here are 12 signs that you might be getting the hang of this adulting thing after all.
1. Doing Your Own Chores: Taking out the trash instead of playing garbage-can Jenga. Fixing your toilet/changing your lightbulbs yourself instead of calling your parents. Washing your clothes instead of buying new underwear. Doing your dishes instead of eating off paper plates. It’s like the world’s most boring game of “Would you rather,” but at least it means you’re no longer sitting in a dark room wearing dirty clothes surrounded by garbage (unless that’s your thing; we don’t judge).
2. Wearing Athleisure for Actually Working Out: Sure, wearing those leggings is your go-to Sunday boozy brunch outfit, but when you wear them because you’re really going to go to the gym, and you actually plan on doing something other than sitting on a stationary bike and reading US Weekly, you’re now a mature grown up that makes good decisions about your health (and can look cute while doing it). That doesn’t mean you won’t still enjoy a mimosa afterward though.
3. Eating Breakfast: You’ve finally embraced that whole “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” thing, and you swear it’s because you made that decision on your own and not because your mom harped on you about it for the first 17 years of your life. Sometimes it’s a very sensible Instagram-worthy green smoothie, and sometimes it’s a piece of (also very Instagram-worthy) chocolate cake. But hey, it’s still breakfast. Yes, Lucky Charms count.
4. Buying (Mostly) Matching Furniture. Gone are the days of hacked-together IKEA pieces and that chair you found for free on the sidewalk. Instead, you’ve invested in a couch that can seat more than two, a coffee table that’s not an empty cardboard box, accent pillows, candles with scents you’ve never experienced in nature like teak and sandalwood, and at least one patterned pouf. Goodbye, dorm room chic, you will not be missed.
5. Having a Budget: You pay attention to bills, 401(k)s, and budgets even if you’re not completely sure how they work. You still buy stupid things — because Amazon Prime — but at least now you do it responsibly. You know how much is roughly in your bank account so going to the ATM doesn’t always feel like an ambush. And you do your own taxes, or have someone other than your parents do them, which makes you feel simultaneously accomplished and depressed because OMG, IRS, WTF.
6. Building Mature, Meaningful Relationships: You have relationships with people because you want to and not (only) because you all wear pink on Wednesdays, and you actually work at keeping those people in your life by making plans and more importantly, not flaking on them. You’ve learned when to take the high road in an argument because you are now a grown-ass adult who doesn’t have to resort to petty insults and over-the-top dramatics, and also because you know what you did, Becky.
7. Going to a Nine-to-Five: Well, you didn’t become a unicorn or an astronaut or a movie star (yet). But in the meantime, you still need to work because, you know, you have to pay rent and eat. Somewhere along the line, you decided you wanted a career, and you now have a steady office job where you show up every day, kick it with your work bestie, live for happy hours, and get excited about benefits beyond ping pong tables and free snacks. Who doesn’t love free snacks, though?
8. Caring About Your Health: You finally have your own health insurance and make (plus show up) to regular doctor’s appointments. It’s definitely better than just hoping illnesses will go away or self-diagnosing yourself with rare, incurable diseases via WebMD. You also voluntarily go to the dentist and floss your teeth. Every. Single. Day.
9. Staying in on a Weeknight: You’ve overcome the very real, serious affliction that is FOMO, and you are down to stay in on a weeknight (gasp) because your good friends — the couch and Netflix — are calling. You willingly go to bed at a reasonable hour (double gasp) because adult tiredness is real, and the only people allowed to take afternoon naps without judgment are under 5 or over 65.
10. Grocery Shopping on the Reg: Grocery shopping entails buying items other than (i.e., in addition to) cheap wine and condiments, which means your fridge is stocked with real food instead of half empty takeout boxes and Taco Bell wrappers. You can cook at least one signature dish that isn’t instant ramen or pizza rolls, and you even eat veggies… sometimes.
11. Not Being the Only Living Thing in Your Home: If you can keep a third party alive in your home — a plant, fish, or better yet, a cat or dog — you now understand the triumph and terror of being responsible for somebody other than yourself. You’ve come a long way from the days when you tried to convince your parents you could take care of a pet so they caved and got you a Tamagotchi, and then you never remembered to feed it. RIP, little Tamagotchi.
12. Buying a House: We hate to break it to you: The only people that can legit afford to buy houses are celebs, CEOs, child actors that didn’t squander away their fortunes during their rebellious teen years, and old people like your parents and grandparents. So if you’ve bought or are in the process of buying a place of your own, congratulations — you’ve reached peak adulthood. Enjoy your new house, weekends at Home Depot, and your forthcoming AARP membership.
Share your best adulting tips with us @BritandCo!
(GIFs via Giphy)