In the early 2000s, the internet saw the rise of the term “adulting,” which described anything seen as an adultlike activity, from filing taxes to making a doctor’s appointment. The use of the term coincides with a current trend among young adults—namely, the fact that many of us don’t feel like adults at all.
The reason for this differs from person to person, so the way to reclaim your sense of adulthood will too. However, there are a few things to do to make yourself feel like an adult that can apply to anyone.
As children and teenagers, our sense of identity always changes. Attempting to nail down a sense of “who we are” is one of the reasons young people constantly flip between hobbies, fashion trends, and friend groups. Because of this, many walk into adulthood with a constant inner dialogue about who we’re “supposed” to be.
Finding yourself is an important rite of passage as an adult. However, so is the act of accepting yourself for who you are and knowing that you will grow, change, and get it wrong. And that is perfectly acceptable.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
One of the biggest obstacles toward accepting yourself is comparison. This may exhibit itself in thoughts like, “Well, my dad had a house at my age” or “She already has two kids, and I’m still single.”
Milestones have shifted significantly over the years; we tend to move out, get married, and have kids much later in life. But that doesn’t make you less of an adult. Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself, and look at your progress.
Take Ownership of Your Surroundings
Many of us looked forward to having our own space throughout our childhood, but having that space can feel burdensome. Even here, there is a sense that our homes should look a certain way to be “mature.”
This is another place to let go of comparison. Finding a sense of ownership over your space is the most important thing. For some, this looks like redesigning the old bachelor pad into an elegant master bedroom. For others, it’s choosing to take care of the garden.
Own Your Decisions
Making your own decisions is one of the more difficult parts of adulthood, whether you’re deciding on a career or a pizza topping. In the pressure to make the right choice, we stop ourselves from making choices at all.
One way to counteract this fear is to focus less on making the right choice and more on owning the choice you made. This doesn’t mean doing the wrong thing on purpose, but embracing the choice you made. And if your decision does have consequences, it’s OK to admit that. Owning your mistakes is a bigger part of adulthood than not making any.