When did you know you were an adult?

When I spoke to Kathleen Schmidt for her Twitter Spotlight, I asked her to add a question. I should have known hers would be a great one!

Her question really stuck with me: When did you know you were an adult?

Allison Winn Scotch got to answer the question in her Twitter Spotlight. This is what she said.

The first time I packed lunch for my son.

I know: you’d think it would have been sooner, like, giving birth or buying an apartment. But nothing had a bigger impact than packing lunch and tucking it in his little backpack. Probably because it reminded me of my own mom, and how much of a grown-up she seemed to little old me back then. There is/was something very ritualistic about it, and I knew – bam – I was all grown up. (Even if I don’t always act that way.)

I love this question! It has made me think so much that I wanted to answer it myself.

Not long after I left for college at seventeen, both parents separately confessed that when they started the drive home, they had to pull over to cry. Was I an adult then? Not quite, but it was a step in that direction.

Later I thought I became an adult the first night I spent in my very own apartment after I moved to NYC  (the first time). By that point, I had lived in Manhattan for about six weeks thanks to a summer program NYU offered, renting out dorm rooms by the week. Those six weeks allowed me to get acclimated to the city and my first job before launching an apartment hunt.

I found a small studio in Gramercy Park. It was approximately 300 square feet and I paid $900 or $950 plus utilities. That first night was both exciting and strange, and I found it hard to sleep. In the middle of the night, I got up for a drink of water. When I turned on the light in my dinky old kitchen, I found a solitary roach hanging out on the counter.

Given that it was not at all scared of me, I didn’t have to chase it. I calmly squished it with a paper towel before going into the bathroom and crying. I wanted nothing more than to call my mother and ask her what to do, but I also knew on some level that I didn’t want doubt to creep in. For her to start questioning the life I was trying to build. In the morning, I told the doorman I wanted the exterminator to visit today. It was an adult decision but at twenty one, I was still working to grow up.

Even now in my thirties, I have moments when it hits me that I Am An Adult. Sometimes it is at the most mundane moments such as when I’m lying in bed and remind myself that the only person responsible for getting me out the door to work (and keeping that paycheck coming and the bills paid) is me.

But sometimes it’s bigger. Last week in the midst of a long (and fun) business trip, I finalized the sale of the condo I had owned in Washington, DC since 2007.

When I first bought it, I was semi-stunned that a bank had lent me such a large sum of money to buy the place. I’m not sure if that made me feel like an adult or a total impostor with excellent bamboozling skills.

But now the condo is becoming another person’s home and I’m relieved of the sometimes easy/sometimes tough job that was being an absentee landlord.

Does being ‘just a renter’ again make me less of an adult? If so, I think I can live with that.

How about you: when did you realize you were an adult?

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  • My mother is reading Fifty Shades of Grey
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6 thoughts on “When did you know you were an adult?

  1. isaiahk

    Still not there yet, hoping I’ll get one of these in the future, but I’m no rush. In fact I’m saying this while lying on my bed at 4:23 p.m.

    Reply
  2. Kelly M

    I have to say for me it was similar to Kathleen. It was when my mom died. I had two small children and no longer had my mom to guide me on my journey of motherhood. My children are young adults now and what’s funny is that sometimes I look in the mirror, and while an older version of myself is staring back at me, I wonder when I’m going to grow up.

    Reply

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