There are a few markers of actual, bona fide adulthood in the tumultuous twentysomething landscape. Despite what you assumed as an undergrad, an apartment and a frame for your bachelor’s degree do not a grown-up make.
Taking over your own health insurance is one such hallmark of actual adulthood. Sharing a Google calendar with a significant other (or a roommate or best friend) is another. Buying and financing your first car is a big one.
It all felt very adult, until I remembered that my dining table centerpiece is currently a beach bucket full of koozies.
The latter is a benchmark that I just recently passed. Taking out a long-term loan, hearing my credit score for the first time (learning what a credit score even is), budgeting out a car payment . . . it all felt very adult, until I remembered that my dining table centerpiece is currently a beach bucket full of koozies and every piece of my living room furniture faces the television.
It was at once a moment of maturation and a slap-in-the-face reminder of how far I have yet to go.
After signing on the dotted line and feeling newly adult and momentarily inspired, I insisted that my boyfriend help me rearrange our furniture to create an actual seating area where people might look at each other when they're speaking. And, emboldened by Pinterest, I made an ambitious decorating plan that immediately fell apart like off-brand painter’s tape.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you can’t grow up in an afternoon. But you can look to these markers of maturity, pat yourself on the back and drink a glass of wine for every one you’ve reached.
So crack that screw-cap, pseudo adult: You know you’re a grown person if:
1. At least two pieces of your living room furniture exist in a 90-degree angle.
2. You have completed at least one Pinterest-inspired DIY project that required at least one trip to a home improvement store.
3. Pregnancies become congratulated.
4. Family vacations become something to look forward to.
5. You find yourself full-on staring down salt n’ peppers at the grocery store, and come to a sudden and startling realization that the Jeff Daniels and Dylan McDermotts of the world have become more appealing than the boys from One Direction. (If you’re a dude, I imagine it’s somewhat like coming to appreciate Meryl Streep and realizing Britney Spears was a little trashy.)
6. “Can I have some time to review the terms?” is no longer code for “I’ve got to call my Dad.”
7. Lifestyle choices become narrowed down to “never drinking like that again” and “never stop drinking” because the hangovers are simply too much to bear.
8. You invest in expensive sunscreen.
9. The behavior of contemporary college students suddenly seems foreign and appalling, and their favorite bars become something to avoid like the plague.
10. You get booted by your pediatric dentist. (That stung, Dr. Cammarata.)
I might never sand and repaint the coffee table to look refreshed yet distressed, but I did buy a retro bar cart. Now at least, after three years of post-graduate posturing, there will be room in the freezer for foodstuffs when the liquor goes to live in the living room. Toast to that.