If You Can Relate To These 5 Signs, You've Officially Entered Adulthood

by Katie Mather

The transition to growing up is a smooth one.

There's no final milestone or hurdle of childhood to cross that earns you a “congratulations, you're an adult” sticker.

You're not awarded a "Certificate of Maturity" that identifies you as a real deal grown-up.

Instead, you just look around one day and realize it happened.

Without noticing it, without much fanfare and maybe a little more naturally than you realized, you transitioned from being a teenager to a mature and responsible person in the world.

At some point, you stopped needing parental guidance, help and hand-holding to walk you through the daily struggles of life.

Maybe you haven't had that moment of realization just yet, and you're wondering if you've met the qualifications.

If that's the case, here are five signs to help identify that you're adulting.

1. You do chores without prompting

Growing up, chores were probably responded to with complaints and procrastination.

Kids won't see the natural connection between completing something and seeing the satisfying end result. They appreciate a clean bed, but they don't want to actually clean it themselves, and they will avoid doing it as long as possible.

Or maybe in college, you remember getting down to your last pair of clean underwear, repeatedly?

But, at some point, you started doing laundry every weekend, rather than waiting for all of your clothes to run out.

You started folding them straight out of the dryer so you could have an empty hamper, instead of leaving them piled up for days.

You began to make checklists of chores to do in the morning, and accomplished them throughout the day.

When your car engine light came on, you made an appointment with the mechanic instead of hoping it would just go away.

At one point, you understood chores need to get done, and it's easier to do them than put them off.

2. You spend less and save more

Rather than impulsively eating out for every meal and “treating yourself” on a regular basis with new clothes, you realized you can't build up your savings without cutting back on spending.

You started budgeting and sticking to it.

Transferring money into a savings account became a regular habit (and more importantly, not transferring it back into your checking account).

You may even have set up auto-pay on your bills so you know they're getting taken care of monthly, instead of remembering the end of the day Friday about that $100 water bill.

You figured out a strategy and you're seeing your savings account grow into serious, four or five-digit figures you know you can fall back on during hard times.

3. You make major purchases on your own

One freeing sign of becoming an adult is realizing you aren't financially dependent on your parents anymore.

Of course, that doesn't mean adults can't ever receive monetary gifts from mom and dad, but you don't rely on them to cover your purchases.

That may mean putting down the downpayment for a home or car yourself, negotiating a loan based on your own finances, or just being able to confidently claim the things in your home were bought with your money, not theirs.

And if you get into a car accident, you have the proper roadside coverage to get you out of any situation.

Financial independence means the responsibility all falls on you. It also means you aren't subject to the whims or expectations of your parents, and you can start a life that doesn't rely on their permission or assistance.

4. You don't need to call your parents for help

When growing up, your parents probably instilled the message, “call us if you ever need anything,” into your head every time you went out of the house.

You're used to being reminded they're there for you. You're also acclimated to relying on them anytime something goes wrong.

But eventually, adulting entails learning how to handle things without their help.

It means calling AAA first (not mom) if you get into a fender bender.

It means not waiting for your parents' advice or instructions before talking to your boss about a raise.

It means realizing the right thing to do isn't just something they instinctively know, it's something they've learned over time. You, too, are learning with time and experience.

5. You want to spend time with your parents

One of the biggest signs of growing up is softening your relationship with your parents.

During the time when they were in control of most of your life, they were adversaries, enemies and people who just didn't get you.

Now that you've grown up, however, you find yourself relating more to your parents' stories, empathizing with their struggles and sharing similar experiences they can talk to you about.

Entering adulthood often means seeing your parents eye to eye for the first time.

Now, a night in with a glass of wine and some mild political arguments seems like an awesome time, not a dreaded family night you're planning to ditch.

You realize your parents won't be around forever, and you want to strengthen and enjoy your relationship with them while you have the time.

Adulting is a slow process, and millennials in particular have struggled to make the transition.

But bit by bit, you can learn how to pave your own path in the world as a grown-up, without your parents' help and constant guidance.