This post was written in collaboration with Earnest, but all opinions are my own!
As a twenty-something (wow, I can say that now!), it’s easy to feel like I’m not a full adult. Even when I am doing adult-things, I’m just adulting, or playing pretend. Things like writing checks and answering professional emails make me feel like an adult, sure, but I am not a real adult.
In thinking about this concept, I made a list of 5 things that I believe mark the transformation from adulting into adulthood. When I check all of these items off my list, I know I’ll feel a little more like the adult I want to be.
1. Feel like I’m establishing a career.
As you guys may or may not know, I’m really big into the idea of internships. I think they are such a great way to test out a job, and to really understand what kind of work you are going to be doing in the future. On that same end, though, internships also have a way of making you feel like a kid that’s just learning the ropes.
My hope is that adult-Kat will feel like she is on a path of some sort towards building a career. Whether that is towards becoming CEO of a company, becoming an entrepreneur, or even switching roles into another job function, I think that being able to say that I have built some sort of path for myself will make me feel like a real adult.
2. Adopt a pet.
This might seem silly, but I firmly believe that owning a pet is one of the first natural steps towards being a grown-up. I always tell my family that the minute I move into my own apartment, I am getting my very own dog – beyond being adorable beyond belief, I think that having a pet is a real test of responsibility.
Since pets require constant love and care in addition to food, water, and shelter, it seems to me that pet-parenting is kind of close to real parenting, which is leaps and bounds from “adulting”.
Think about it – you have to take care of an entire other being! How adult is that?
2. Get my finances under control.
For me, I think that being able to control my finances will be the biggest mark of moving into adulthood. The idea of investing, setting aside money for retirement, and paying off loans and bills and mortgages is enough to make my head spin right now, but ideally adult-Kat will be a million times more financially aware and stable.
In working towards being an adult, I have been working to increase my financial literacy through reading articles and sifting through financial websites. A really cool resource for that is Earnest – even though they are a company that primarily focuses on financing and refinancing things like student loans, they also have a blog with short posts (they include the reading time on the post!) about managing money.
3. Make a big purchase!
Along those same lines, adulthood is also owning a new car of my very own. My parents tell me all the time that their most satisfying purchase was getting their own car for the very first time, and I am eager to experience that as an adult in my own right.
As a pseudo-adult, I feel like purchases for me tend to be slightly impulsive, so having enough foresight to buy something so major would be a great mark of my leap into adulthood.
4. Learn how to cook one thing really, really well.
Okay, let’s get this straight – I am no chef. Sure, I can make a mean bowl of penne with marinara sauce and frozen meatballs, but I am the farthest thing from a Gordon Ramsay.
In my mind, I will surpass adulting when I figure out a way to cook something really well consistently. Even though that seems kind of silly at face value, to me it means that I have enough knowledge to really take care of myself and other people. I may never be a gourmet chef, but I can work towards cooking one great meal, and that is more than okay with me.
The idea that I’ll be a college graduate in a little over a year is kind of scary, I’m not gonna lie. Having to grab life by the horns and own up to all of the responsibility of taking care of myself is a concept that is taking a while to get used to, which is why I think that the term “adulting” has been such a comforting thing.
Even though this list might feel like little approaches to a larger problem of sorts, it’s my way of taking steps towards being the adult I know I’ll grow into eventually.