My Definition of “Adulting”


A lot of people dislike the term “Adulting.” Even Urban Dictionary, known for its hilarious and often subversive definitions, defines it as:

Being a responsible adult. Used by immature 20-somethings who are proud of themselves for paying a bill.

I define the word as going through the motions of doing adult-like things because that’s what you’re told adults do, even when you don’t feel like an adult yourself: pretending to be an adult. A great example of this for me is planning for “retirement.” I opened my first 401(k) when I started my job last year at a company that offers matching up to 6%. My husband Tom said, “You should at least put in enough to maximize your employer match; otherwise, you’re just leaving money on the table.” So I throw 6% at that 401(k) every paycheck, even though “Retirement” feels more like a far-away land from a fantasy novel than something that actually happens to people. l make those huge student loan payments every month, and I also know that the Social Security system that I’m forced to pay into won’t be around anymore once the Boomers bleed it dry. Hence: Adulting.

My generation (Millenials – another touchy term) gets a bad wrap for not adulting well, but we all know that every older generation complains about the generation that follows. Baby Boomers certainly didn’t give themselves the title “The ‘Me’ Generation,” but that same generation complains about Millenials taking selfies. The fact of the matter is, being an adult today doesn’t look like it did when our parents were our age, but many of the same hallmarks remain:

  • Learning how to do things on your own without running to mommy and daddy for help all the time (at least we have Google)
  • Understanding that your parents aren’t superheroes or fortune tellers, but flawed human beings just everyone else
  • Figuring out what you want out of life, and making decisions with those priorities in mind
  • Realizing who you really are, and learning to love (or at least manage) that person, warts and all
  • Establishing and enforcing your boundaries: moral, mental, and physical

This blog is essentially a place for me to discuss what’s going on in my life: food, books, music, mental health, house projects, and the [hopefully] occasional political rant. I love to write, and I find that it’s the best way for me to work through something, and articulate myself. I’m not an authority on anything, and I’m not here to convince anyone of anything.  I’m just here to share my thoughts and experiences, and if you don’t like it, you can find another remote corner of the internet to lurk.