When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
Even as a person in their early-thirties, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…
I’m already, I guess, doing ‘grown up’ things. I go to work, I pay bills, I have a credit card, I have rent, I have a long-term relationship… the only thing missing, traditionally, is the dog, the mortgage and the marriage… but the marriage I don’t want (oh, and even if I wanted to, I can’t, because marriage equality in this country simply doesn’t exist… probably the same way our Prime Minister believes that climate change doesn’t exist.) And as for a mortgage, well, that’s a long way off.
I’ve thought about this for a while, and I realised that I kept confusing feeling like a grown-up for discovering my independence. Yes, they do tend to go hand-in-hand, but I’m not really sure at what point I felt like an actual grown-up.
I mean, I’ve done a number of things in my life that are very ‘grown-up’ of me, and been forced to deal with situations on my own, without relying on my parents to bail me out, or make everything better, or make the problems go away, but that’s part of growing up; it’s part of being independent; it’s part of real life.
I think that moving out of home, moving interstate and living in a share house with strangers was perhaps one of the first real moments where I felt like a grown up. Then when I actually started working full-time for the first time ever, really solidified that for me. Having the responsibility of having to actually get up and go to an office, work a 9-to-5 and earn an income was all completely new to me. Tax became new to me. Having to then budget for food and rent and bills also became new to me, and that was perhaps the first time I truly felt as though I’d finally become an adult. I was no longer being cared for by mum; I was now on my own, and if I spend all my money too soon, then that was a problem I’d have to get myself out of – and yes, it did happen occasionally in the beginning, but I’m glad that it did. It taught me a number of lessons, and it’s helped structure me to become the person that I am today.
I think getting married was the first time I felt like a real-life grown up. I had already had several jobs, gotten used to paying my own bills, graduated college and moved to my own place, but something about getting married just sealed the deal for me.
Seeing my credit score for the first time also made me very aware of my new found adulthood. Yikes!