Being an adult isn’t easy. Every time you feel like you’re FINALLY getting the hang of being on your own, something else comes up that makes you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing all over again. The whole cycle can feel very overwhelming.
But even though you may feel like a child masquerading as a responsible adult, you’re actually probably more mature than you think. If you do these 10 things, that means despite what you may think, you are an actual real-life adult.
1. You pay your bills on time.
No one enjoys paying their bills, but if you’re paying them in full and on time, that’s a serious sign you’ve become an actual adult. You know bills need to be paid before you can have any fun with your hard-earned cash, so you get them out of the way as soon as possible. Bonus points if you have your bills automatically withdraw from your account when they’re due.
2. You have plants—and you keep them alive.
Whether they’re flowers, herbs or succulents, keeping plants alive shows you’re capable of taking care of something other than yourself. While a plant may not be an animal or a child, caring for plant shows you’re on your way to more responsibility.
3. You’ve developed a skincare routine.
As a teenager, you probably dreamed of the day acne wasn’t a problem. But as an adult, you realize you still need to worry about acne – and wrinkles. You no longer fall asleep without taking your makeup off. You’ve invested time and money into finding a skincare routine that helps you prevent both spots and fine lines, and you’re proud to slather on your night cream before bed.
4. You have a bedtime.
You know you’ll be cranky if you don’t get a full eight hours of sleep. When you can no longer nap between classes or sleep through an early morning study session, you’ve got to get to sleep early. As a true adult, you’re not ashamed to have a bedtime that you stick to every night.
5. You floss every day.
Your dentist has been telling you to floss since you were a child, but, since you’re no longer a child, you can’t ignore it anymore. You’ve accepted responsibly and you’re ready to improve your oral health. You make it a priority to floss — almost — every day.
6. You’ve upgraded from bottom-shelf liquor.
A trip to the liquor store at 21 meant you went straight to the cheapest alcohol you could find. Luckily, those days are in the past. Now, when you’re off to purchase alcohol, you opt for something you enjoy — and something that won’t give you a three-day hangover.
7. You consider sleeping until 9 a.m. “sleeping in.”
If you work a traditional 9-to-5, you’re probably used to waking up when the sun comes up. This is much different than the days you used to sleep until the early hours of the afternoon. Now, getting to sleep until 8 or 9 a.m. is considered “sleeping in.”
8. You care about more than just celebrity news.
In the past, you would have chosen a magazine over a newspaper. You knew all the celebrities and athletes and were proud to recount what was going on in their lives. Today, you’re not quite sure who’s on the cover of People and US Weekly, but you have your favorite news outlet bookmarked on your internet browser.
9. You’ve invested your money somewhere outside of your closet.
When you were younger, a good investment was a new pair of jeans or something for school. As an adult, your investments take the form of stocks. Whether you’ve invested money in a retirement fund or you’ve invested in mutual funds, you’re a real adult.
10. You value a healthy meal.
You’re not quite sure how you used to be able to live on fast food, chips and beer without feeling tired and sluggish, but you can’t live that way anymore. As a true adult, creating a healthy meal includes following a recipe, going to the grocery store and even using the oven. While it takes a bit more time to create a healthy meal, you’re proud of your culinary creations.
Adjusting to life as an adult can take some time. When you’re trying to find your footing as a young, independent professional, it can feel like you’re a toddler learning to walk all over again. But don’t worry — everyone around you is pretending to have it together just as much as you.