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When, Exactly, Can We Define Ourselves as "Adults"?

I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm pretty far away from defining myself as a full grown-ass woman.

We act like we know everything, but in fact, we don't know shit. We are terrified of what it means to have all these responsibilities and to have to take care of ourselves while being an active member of society. 

I'm 27. I have a master's degree, a few years of work experience, and pay my bills. I'm pretty sure my brain is fully developed, and my personality is completely defined.

I look at myself, and I don't feel like an adult. But I always wonder when I am going to start feeling like one.

Okay, I am not married nor do I have a kid. I also don't have a boyfriend, which means that there are no prospects for any of this to happen any time soon. But is that what defines you as an adult? 

I bought a vacuum cleaner on Black Friday and made a joke on social media saying I feel like an adult. When I clean my apartment or cook my meal, I make a comment to my friends about how I am such a grown up and responsible woman. I take vitamins every morning and tweet about that being totally an adult thing to do.

It feels like I am constantly reassuring myself that I am old enough to feel like an adult. At the same time, I am also telling myself that that's how I should think-slash-behave at my age, and that is supposed to be completely normal. 

And still, most of the time I don't feel like one. Maybe it's all the uncertainties and insecurities. Perhaps it's the fact that ten years ago I had this picture of where I would be when I was 27—you know, married, kids, career, owning a house—and I'm nowhere near that. The fact that that is the definition of adulthood that is taught to us when we grow up does not help.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that there is no such thing as "being an adult," at least not in the concept that we understand. I think that there is pretending to be one, though. I really believe that most of the people my age are just pretending to get through the day. We act like we know everything, but in fact, we don't know shit. We are terrified of what it means to have all these responsibilities and to have to take care of ourselves while being an active member of society. 

When I was 16, I thought being 30 was already being old and fully mature. At 27, I am terrified of not being mature enough when I reach 30, which is getting closer and closer. 

But, assuming that I am living until I am 90 (let's be optimistic, right?), what about the other 60 years? Are those only about paying the bills and living a routine? No more learning, experiencing, trying new things, fucking up from times to times?

I don't know about you, but I don't want to settle down when I am 30. How boring would it be to have the same life in 50 years as I have now? 

I know, I know — too many question marks in this article. But you see, my pretend-to-be-adult mind is full of those, and most are about who I really am and what I really want.

Being an adult means having grown 100 percent. Means that you "got there," you know? And it means you know everything about yourself, your life, society, and blah, blah, blah. Furthermore, means being serious, letting go of spontaneity and embracing planning ahead, not being silly and not having permission to make mistakes—because, of course, at this point, you already know it all. At least that's what I learned. 

I am 27, and I still haven't figured out what I want to do with my life. But we grow up learning that we should know that by now. Maybe that's why I still don't feel 100 percent like an adult.

And maybe I don't want to be one right now. Can I just lay here, watching my Netflix shows and being silly with my friends during the night while working and paying the bills during the day, and not be defined as an adult? Actually, not be defined at all? I still need to define myself first.


Carolina Carvalho
Carolina Carvalho

I grew up listening to my grandmother's stories about the 100 countries she had visited in her lifetime. Having anxiety, books were my best friends growing up. Here to feed my passion for telling stories and writing about random thoughts.  

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