20 Signs That You Are Growing Up

This is scary. And strange. And surreal. I go through day-to-day life with this strange juxtaposition of my own youth next to my own maturity. It’s strange. It’s mind-boggling. Did I mention that it’s strange? Because I think that word definitely applies.

There are moments when I look at myself and think, “I’m just a kid. I’m much too young to _______.” That blank could be anything, from “run a digital strategy campaign” or “start a career” or “graduate college” or “buy a house” or…whatever. This happens when I watch TV. One of my favorite shows is “How I Met Your Mother.” I watch it and assume these people are so much older than me. Then, the realization sets in; in the early seasons of that show, the characters were pretty close in age to where I am.

Me. Age 16. At the time, I thought I was mature. I thought I looked like an adult. Now I look at this picture and see a little girl. (How is the quality of this picture? I feel like my rural Internet makes it hard for me to tell if the quality of the image is good...)

Suddenly, I feel very grown up. It isn’t necessarily because they do things I don’t do. I do a lot of the things that the characters in that show do. I date, I pay bills, I go out with my friends, I have my favorite hang-outs and pass-times. It’s the fact that popular sitcoms are made about people who are pretty much my age.


Anyway, back to “reality.” These moments of slap-in-the-face realization make me stop and think. I really am an adult, and I’ll be even MORE of an adult when I graduate in June and move away to…wherever it is I’m moving to. Here are some of the signs I’ve noticed myself doing:

  1. You have to pass on going to the bars with friends in favor of saving money to make your car payment. Or truck payment. Or, in some cases, horse payment.
  2. Your shopping sprees suddenly focus on suits, modest professional skirts, and *gasp* sensible shoes.
  3. The gifts you ask for at Christmas and birthdays for are remarkably functional. Often, they have to do with furnishing your grown-up home. A toaster, bath towels, candles, area rugs, wall decor. Or, they are functional things that you don’t want to spend your meager fresh-out-of-college disposable income on, such as a new winter coat, running shoes, new tires…
  4. You pinch pennies so you can afford to send nice Christmas cards to your friends all over the U.S. — because it’s so much more personal than writing on their Facebook walls!
  5. When you consider housing, the ability to throw ragin’ college parties is no longer a priority. Rather, you look at whether or not garbage service comes standard and if utilities are included in rent.
  6. Suddenly, spending a quiet night in with your parents doesn’t seem like the end of the world.
  7. When you interview for a 40-hour-a-week job, the duration of employment is longer than your 3-month summer vacation.
  8. Once upon a time, your dream destination would have been some exotic vacation spot. Now, it’s “anywhere where the cost of living is lower than.” (At least, I know this is true for me.)
  9. You are starting to painstakingly groom your sleep schedule into a more “adulthood-friendly” pattern. Staying up till 3 a.m. doesn’t mesh with many “grown-up” jobs.
  10. You use Skype more for business calls than you do to talk to friends.
  11. You have been late to class because of a conference call.
  12. There’s something thrilling about finding the best gas price in the region.
  13. You suddenly pay more attention to your LinkedIn requests than your Facebook requests.
  14. Sleep isn’t something you just catch up on each Sunday, as was once the case. Now it’s something that you enjoy getting as regularly as possible.
  15. Living with your parents over break no longer feels like a “free ride” and feels more like a form of regression.
  16. Once upon a time, you traded Pokemon cards. Now, you trade business cards.
  17. You realize that, just like you have trouble imagining your parents in high school, your younger relatives have trouble imagining you as anything but an adult.
  18. You watch reruns of your favorites childhood cartoons and you catch yourself calling them “classics.”
  19. Any children you may know right now, might consider your childhood music to be the newest generation of oldies.
  20. You see fashions from earlier decades recycling through pop-culture, and you’re reminded of why you’re happy or sad that that era of clothing culture ended (or ever existed).

Do any of these seem familiar to you? Even if you’re beyond the transitional stage of “growing up,” do any of these remind you of your early adulthood? Share your stories, compare notes. I want to make sure I’m on the only 20-something who’s starting to feel old at times!


10 thoughts on “20 Signs That You Are Growing Up

  1. Kelly, I feel you girl. I feel like this all the time. As I sit in a hotel room in Long Beach (away on work) I’m excited to catch a 7am flight to get back to work in my office and be home… <— this is a sign im getting old… and it sucks but this is my life… our lives! welcome to the future!

    • It’s crazy, but awesome. It’s amazing how much the things we want (and need) change as we mature. It’s not a bad thing, but it definitely is strange to experience. Thanks for reading and commenting, Danee!

  2. #3 is spot on. What was on my Christmas list? A microwave cart, a chair, a stand mixer, a dresser and/or gift cards to Ikea. The problem with #3 is, not only does your wish list become more practical, but it also becomes more expensive.

    • I hear ya, sister. I always heard the joke that, “The difference between a farmer and a farmkid is the price of their toys.” Instead of comparing toy tractors to real tractors, girls can compare…Barbie furniture to real furniture.

      Although, Barbie’s accessories seem to be getting more and more expensive…

      Thanks for swinging by, Amanda!

    • It’s not a bad thing, I don’t think. I mean, there are times when I look at myself and think, “When did I become an adult?!” But it’s never with disappointment. There are tradeoffs. I may not be able to get away with some kid stuff anymore, but now I can go out for drinks with my friends, I can travel at my own free will, and I can make decisions for myself.

      I think I like this adulthood thing (most days!) Thank you so much for reading and responding! I really appreciate it!

  3. 21. Getting overly excited for things like new furniture. I was just talking to a friend about how I’m currently in the process of making over my apartment to look less like a dorm room and more like a “grown up home”. Really, there comes a time that the “Girls night out” picture frame has got to go.

    • Hahaha, oh my goodness, I agree! When I started college, I had a big collection of hot pink and lime green stuff. (Correction: I still do.) However, I’ve been making more “adult-conscious” purchases of late. Instead of hot pinks and lime greens, there seems to be a lot more red, black, and blue stuff joining my decor. Not bad, but it makes for interesting color combo’s in the dorms…

      I dread the day when I have to provide REAL chairs to sit in, rather than folding butterfly chairs! 🙂 Thanks for swinging by, DeEtta! I appreciate it!

  4. Amen, and kansasgrains’ comment about furniture is spot on. Being elated about a Dyson vacuum also counts as a sign you’re getting old.

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