Let's be honest: it's not easy being an adult. But even though growing up is hard, there was probably a particular moment in your life when you truly realized you were no longer a kid and had actually become — gasp — a full-blown adult.
Maybe it was when you had to pay your first bill or maybe it was when you got married. Either way, it was a moment in your life when things got real.
And the answers were real and honest. Here are some of them below.
1. "I was driving to my grandpa's funeral with my husband, big brother, and daughter in the car. We adults were joking around about how it’s like we’re playing adults, when I looked at my daughter's face and saw she looked horrified. She catches my eyes and says, 'If you’re not the adults, then who is?' And I went, 'Oh fuck. We’re not playing adults, we are the adults.'"
2. "When I had to get really creative in earning money so I could pay rent and feed my kid."
4. "When I hit that age where childbearing goes downhill if you wait any longer. I always felt like I wasn't old or adult enough to have kids, but now it's about to be too late."
5. "When my mom died last year, and I went to go view her body so my dad and brother didn't have to. Then the week I spent with my dad up until the funeral... man, I hope I never have to see him like that again. He had a full-blown anxiety attack at like 4 a.m., and I had to comfort him while I was grieving horribly myself. I definitely felt like I'd grown up then."
7. "The moment that comes to mind was last year on Christmas Eve. I took a temp job almost an hour away that was only a few days and it was holiday pay. My parents are in a different state and I decided not to visit last year. No mom. No Christmas dinner. I drove home in the dark after a 12-hour shift and got home before my roommates. The only Christmas treat I had was a bag of candied pecans. A woman I didn't know had passed out at work, so I ate them alone in the dark with the cats, and I was thinking if my life was a movie, this scene would be a low point."
8. "When I was the one to pick up the check after a family meal, where my parents were present. I truly felt like an equal and adult who made their own money and choices."
9. "At some point in the last couple years, I learned to stop 'mirroring' others in an attempt to people-please and that felt more adult to me than paying my bills, doing my taxes, buying a car, etc. I'm in my late 20s and just now grasping who I really am beyond the niceties that I thought were necessary for so long. And it turns out, underneath it all, I like myself. And so do a lot of the people that I choose to share my unadulterated, no-bullshit self with."
"Adulthood, for me, means understanding that I'm not going to make everyone happy all the time, the opinion of any one person should never be over-valued, and the only people I need to worry about pleasing are the ones that see the warts and the ugly and choose to stick around regardless of my flaws."
11. "When I realized that I was finally in charge of my own well-being and that I can decide what I want to do with my life. It's very empowering. I love being an adult. When things get more expensive, I go and work harder. If things are fine, I can relax and do the things I enjoy. I'm in charge of what food goes into my body, I don't have to finish the plate, I don't have to stay in the same room with abusive people, I don't have to go to school, but I can go whenever I want to learn something new — it's brilliant. I'm autistic so many things suck as they are, but being an adult is the best part of everything."
"I don't have to do the things that make me feel overwhelmed and burned out. When it truly sank in was at the airport from Chicago to London after I left a long-term relationship. I was 24 at that time. I relied on him for everything. And now, I'm doing it all by myself. Hooray!"
13. "The two days I spent calling every therapist in town that would take my insurance, trying to find one who is taking new patients. I finally found one, and she ended up being perfect."
"I went no contact with my dad, and I'm evicting him from my head as we speak. He'll never get what he deserves and there's nothing I can do about it. But I deserve happiness and nobody is going to give me that either. I have to do it myself. I guess I grew up. It's bittersweet."
15. "This feels classist (because it is) but when I made enough money to do things on a whim. I felt completely in control of my finances and my own life. I wasn't tied to anyone else. I'm also now at a place where I feel independent enough to start seriously dating — it's weird how that works."
"I see my cousins in shitty relationships with kids and they can't leave cause they are dependent on their spouse. I'm too wound up to let that be me, so I made sure I had a career and a significant amount of savings before I wanted to put myself out there relationship-wise. Then I can leave."
17. "When I realized that every 'wrong' done to you won’t necessarily have a 'right' ending. Sometimes shitty people hurt you, sometimes luck isn’t on your side. Life is a series of choices, and I choose to be happy given the circumstances I’ve been dealt and/or deserve. When push comes to shove, I’m blessed."
19. "I thought I was an adult when I realized my parents weren’t flawless. However, I proceeded to get frustrated by it for years. I think I became an adult when I finally understood that’s who they are and that despite all their flaws, they did their absolute best to give me the best life they could, and I just needed to stop complaining and be patient with all their quirks and annoying flaws."
21. "For me, it was when I had my son. I was a big partier, and I didn't expect to have children, so I enjoyed my singleness. My birth control failed and I had a baby to care for soon after. That was a big change and it was hard being an adult when all my friends where out partying."
23. "When I began to realize how my parents cannot solve any of my problems. And in any case, they've got enough of theirs to deal with. Unlike when I was a kid, my parents had some sort of a solution to almost every problem I had, and I could blindly depend on them to resolve the issues I faced on a day-to-day basis. Now I'm all alone in this."
25. "When I turned 15. Divorced parents; eldest child. IYKYK. I’ll leave it at that."
26. "When I had to pick an insurance plan at work for the first time as a full-time employee. It was so overwhelming with big words like 'premiums,' 'deductibles,' 'HSAs,' etc. We would have an insurance open house at work where we could ask questions, and they'd go through each plan, but I couldn't ask them to explain this stuff like I was 5 year old in front of my co-workers."
28. "When I got promoted and started managing other people. It was like, 'I’m in charge of all these people? Scheduling them? Paying them? Disciplining them?'
"It still has been one of life’s greatest challenges and rewards to manage others and really learn how to support people in being their best."
29. "I grew up in a special needs household, so there was always pressure to put the entire family — their needs, their opinions — first. The first time I made a big life decision my family didn’t approve of (i.e. moving in with my partner), I knew I’d hit adulthood. No amount of guilt or desire to please them swayed me. I still felt distraught about how they reacted, but rock solid in my choice."
30. "The first night I was alone with my firstborn. It hit me that I was totally responsible for his well-being."
31. "I've joked in the past that a higher-stakes relationship made me an adult, or that I was old and boring because I asked for a vacuum for Christmas and was thrilled to get one, or because I've grown past the immature attitudes and actions of the people around me. But deep down, I worry that I'll never really feel like an adult. I'm 23 and still living with my family because I can't afford to move out. I don't know what I want to do with my life, I lack what I consider to be important life skills, people frequently don't take me seriously because of my age and gender, and part of me is still waiting for someone to tell me what to do."
"Every day, I see another person I went to school with graduating, traveling, getting married, having babies, and I'm just...here. I don't even want the same milestones I see for them, I just want proof that I've done something other than sitting here like a bump on a log."