There are days – weeks even – when I wonder how I ended up here: mother, voter, composter. It’s all just so grown-up and yet I don’t feel much different now than I did when I was 15 years-old. Becoming an adult is a gradual process, one that we generally recognize as starting with certain milestones like being able to vote or legally ordering a beer. Then, gradually, the responsibilities get bigger and a little more serious and start involving the welfare of people other than ourselves.
Here are some of the big signs you’re now an adult and the “good ole days” of being irresponsible are long gone:
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You Wear a Toque Willingly
When I moved to Ottawa, I was 30 years-old and yet I’d only been dipping my toes into adulthood. It was when I willingly put on a toque, preceded by long underwear, wool socks and completely unfashionable but highly functional boots, that I realized there was no going back to the carefree days of youth and freezing for the sake of fashion. The ability to recognize that being cold is stupid, not cool is what separates us from our 15 year-old selves. It’s also a very real sign you’ve entered adulthood for good. (But it’s warm here; so it’s a happy place.)
You Buy Life Insurance
I recently had to purchase life insurance, and spent a morning with a nurse in my house taking my vitals, my blood, and my urine. I also answered an extensive health questionnaire which was basically a test to determine when I’ll expire. It’s zero fun, and one of the surest signs you’re an adult.
Two Words: Tax Forms
Sure, you paid taxes when you were young, (or were supposed to) but somebody always did the math for you. The first time you figure it out all on your own is another nail in the house that adulting built.
Friday Night is Now an Excuse to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You used to leave the house at 11pm on a Friday night to hit the clubs. Oh, man. That’s just crazy talk nowadays. As an adult you’ve already been in bed for two hours by that time. Going to bed early AND willingly is perhaps the most convincing sign you’ve entered into adulthood.
You Buy a Minivan
…or some similarly minded car. What you know for sure is that the days when you looked at nothing more than speed and stereo options are long gone. Now you’re looking at crash impact ratings, litres per kilometre, and if there’s enough room for a stroller, a hockey bag, and groceries in the back.
You Write a Will
When I met with a lawyer to write my will, I cried the entire time. To say that my lawyer was uncomfortable would be an understatement. I was such a mess with my red eyes and runny nose, you would have thought I was attending my own funeral, and well I was (or at least it felt that way). Acknowledging your death and deciding what life will look like after you’re gone is terrifying and probably the most adult of all adult things you will do. You will be scared, but you do it anyway. That’s being an adult.
You Order a Salad Instead of Fries
Perhaps the harshest reality check of adulthood is realizing that there’s a direct correlation between what you put in your mouth and your health. You start to pay attention to things like your BMI, blood pressure, and heart rate. Burdened with the weight of all this knowledge you order a side salad instead of fries. It’s all most too much to bear.
School’s Out Forever
The moment you realize you will never have to spend another weeknight hunched over a textbook is perhaps the most liberating feeling a person can have and is a sure sign you are on your way to confirmed adulthood. It’s only when you start spending your weeknights hunched over your children’s homework though that you’ve become an adult forever. Oh the humanity!
You Use a Budget
Sure, sure, you’ve heard the word “budget” thrown around before, but when you actually sit down and write out a budget, things are getting real. Worse still is when you realize those cute shoes don’t have a place in your budget. (Plus, they’d never be warm enough for an Ottawa winter.)
When Appliances Get You Hot
Who here covets new washers and vacuum cleaners? That’s a litmus test for adulthood. For any potential suitors out there, know this, the way to my heart is when you talk “direct drives” and “cyclonic suction” instead of diamonds.