Katarina Marković

Having To Buy Plates And 38 Other Moments When You First Realize You're Actually An Adult


There are two types of people in this world: Those who put the new toilet paper roll directly on the holder and those who just kind of set it down nearby for awhile.

OK, there are probably a lot more kinds of people than that, but my point is that some of us are better at adulting than others.

I myself am your garden-variety womanchild. My purse is full of garbage, like crumpled receipts and frayed, unwrapped tampons. I still feel overwhelmed by basic tasks like making doctor's appointments and going to the post office. I don't shower as often as I probably should. But nonetheless, at 32 years old, I am indisputably an ~adult~.

In fact, as the mother of a 4-year-old, I'm even responsible for another small human being. Nothing makes you feel like a grown-up faster than realizing that another person has just vomited all over himself and the bed (and is crying at top decibel) and there's nobody but you whose responsibility it is to clean it up.

Despite the fact that most of us are walking around feeling like a kid standing on another kid's shoulders under a trench coat and posing as a real adult, we all have these little moments when we realize: Yep, it's true, we're the grown-ups now.

Here are a few more times it happened to me:

When I realized I had memorized my social security number.

Kids don't fill out forms. The littlest ones can't even read. You know who does fill out forms? Adults. We fill out endless forms -- at the doctor, at our jobs, when we apply for credit cards -- and they all require us to put in the same information over and over.

Until one day, you look up and you realize that what was once a long string of numbers you had to call your mom or check a card for now LIVES PERMANENTLY IN YOUR BRAIN. You're an adult, bro.

When I had my own phone on my desk for the first time.

This is probably already an outdated example because #oldmillennial. And the desk was actually a cubicle. But when I started my first job, editing test preparation materials for grades K-12, I remember feeling like a real adult lady having my own desk phone and a work number. Also that job was as soul-draining as it sounds.

Speaking of which:

When I got my first job where my pay wasn't measured by the hour.

It wasn't much of a salary, but it was a salary. A 5-digit number that accounted for the whole year, instead of the dollar-per-hour amounts I was used to. Plus I got that sweet desk phone.

When I bought my own drugs for the first time.

In retrospect, this pride was misguided. But after years of mooching off friends and strangers, having my own "guy" to call and purchasing mind-altering substances that were mine, all mine, felt quite mature at the time. Sort of like that episode of "Broad City" where Abbi decides to buy her own weed and Ilana does her taxes. Which reminds me...

When I did my taxes for the first time.

Well, kind of. I send it to an accountant. That sh*t is complicated. I pay a guy like $300 and he gets me thousands back. It's the best. Plus saying "my accountant" makes me feel SUPER-adult.

I asked the guys and girls around the office and found out everybody had their own examples of that moment when they truly felt like a grown-up. Below, all the times when people felt like they'd finally unlocked the "adult" achievement, for better or worse:

"When I was forced to buy plates."

"When I stopped being financially dependent on anyone."

"When I got my first business card."

"When I realized what I deserve out of a relationship."

"When I learned how to wear red lipstick without it smearing across my face."

"When I had a CVS Extra Care Card that I didn't LOSE."

"When I had a fancy designer wallet."

"When I got a puppy."

"When I started contributing to my 401(k)."

"When I moved to a new city all alone."

"When I started making my bed because I actually wanted to, not because anybody was forcing me."

"When I started cooking and genuinely loving it."

"When I leased my first car and got car insurance."

"When cleaning my apartment gave me the utmost feeling of self-fulfillment."

"When I bought my own plane tickets."

"When I broke up with my boyfriend because I didn't see us having a future (even though I loved him)."

"When I received my first student loan bill in the mail."

"When I no longer sat at the kid's table for the holidays."

"When I realized I didn't have to have a response for everything."

"When I finally got a job that offered health insurance."

"When my older cousin had his first baby last month."

"When the bartender at my local first said hello to me by name."

"When I bought sheets and towels for the first time."

"When I got so excited to try out a new grocery store that had just opened up in my town."

"When I started getting calls from debt collectors."

"When I finally finished the payments on my furniture in my apartment."

"When I purchased white and red wine for the house just to have casually."

"When I got excited about my new $30 hampers being delivered."

"When I decorated my own apartment."

"When I found all my own doctors and said bye to my pediatric playhouse."

"When I started making salad dressing from scratch."

"When I bought a bed skirt."

"When one of my best friends was the first in our squad to get engaged and married this past year."

"When I started buying toilet paper before I ran out of it."

Tell us in the comments: What was the moment when you first felt like an adult? Or are you still waiting? It's OK if you're still waiting.