After seeing a young couple on HGTV talking about how buying a home made them feel like adults, I couldn’t help but think about what it actually takes to become an adult. I thought of my 21st birthday — the pivotal age in which you can do almosteverything — and all of the people who told me this was my official portal into being a full-blown adult. At the time I believed what they were saying, but the only thing that actually changed in my life was that I could legally order a beer with my dinner. My age was still just a lousy number incapable of triggering any life-altering moments, and just like I’d felt no different after turning 16 or 18, turning 21 still left me feeling like I was 20. I didn’t have an “aha” moment, and I didn’t automatically feel like a responsible and knowledgeable adult.
I wondered when I would feel like an adult – would it be once I had my first full time job? Started paying for my own car insurance? Took control of my finances? I tried to craft my own adulthood manual in my head, visualizing a check-list of everything I believed to be a right of passage into the next stage of my life. Sooner or later, I’d ticked most of the boxes and was anticipating the final wave of emotion and accomplishment, the reassurance that I’d finally done everything right and could continue advancing on in life. I had a real “big girl” job, I no longer needed financial support from my parents to pay my bills on time and I was in love with an amazing man in a happy and healthy adult relationship. Nothing happened.
At 22, I chose to pack up and move to Florida to be with John. I would have never thought of this event as my turning point, or as my entrance into a new and adult version of myself. At the time I just saw it as following my heart and taking a risk, knowing deep down that it’d be worth it. After moving in March, I started from the ground up, attempting to find a job after only a year of full time work experience. Within a month I had a job at a small marketing company. After years of careless spending I’d made a huge dent in my credit card debt, and I even started saving money. I recently booked a cruise with John and paid for my ticket with some of that money. I started cooking and found myself actually passionate about trying and making new things after years of eating ramen and cereal for dinner. I decided to start this blog and share so many of these experiences with the world. In a mere 6 months, I flourished.
After reflecting on all of this, my day came to an abrupt halt, and I had my moment. In between thoughts of what meals I wanted to make for John’s parents this weekend and typing away on my computer, I all of a sudden noticed how much I’ve changed in the past 6 months. There I was, choosing what recipes to make, when just a few months ago I didn’t even know how to make a baked potato (sad but true). All of the subtle changes in my attitude and outlook on life since my move came together, and I realized that I felt like an adult because I had made it happen for myself. Once I stopped doing all of the things that I thought I needed to accomplish in order to become an adult, I finally opened up my very own path into the next chapter of my life, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.