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jordym84's avatar

When did you first begin to feel like a "grown-up"?

Asked by jordym84 (4742 points ) October 5th, 2012

I turned 24 this past July and I don’t feel like what I imagine it should feel like to be an adult. Even though I’ve always been very responsible and independent even when I was a teenager, I never take life too seriously; I have a glass half-full kind of mentality. I know 24 is still young and believe me when I say that I’m in no hurry whatsoever, but I’m just curious to know if there ever comes a time when it just strikes you, when you have an “oh crap, I’m an adult” moment. How did it happen for you? Was there a catalyst? How old were you? Or is it really all about how you look at life and how you feel on the inside, as suggested by Ol’ Blue Eyes in “Young at Heart”?

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29 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I guess…when my Mom and Dad died.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was very young when I started working along side my father and grandfather. Then they died, and I grew up in a hurry. Now I refuse to grow up any more.

hearkat's avatar

I’m 46, and just this morning I realized that I only just started feeling the maturity level I’d hoped to have by at least 30.

In my case, I had been abused in childhood and made poor choices in early adulthood. Moving past all that, finding forgiveness, accepting my flawed self, and eventually learning to love myself were necessary for me to find confidence and integrity.

Raising my son had been my primary focus, so I suppose that prolonged the process to some degree—yet in many ways it helped, because I had to reparent myself in order to become the grown-up role model that my son needed and deserved.

chyna's avatar

When my dad died when I was 17. My mom kind of lost touch with reality and I had to do the adult things, pay bills, laundry, clean the house, take my mom to the store, doctor appointments, etc.

jonsblond's avatar

When I became responsible for a child at the early age of 21.

rojo's avatar

57 and still waiting for it to feel natural and not like I am winging it.

janbb's avatar

When I learned to accept that people I love may not love me. Still working on it!

janbb's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Flipper hug back.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I’m not really sure I know how that feels. I think a lot of it has been how I’ve approached life. Part of it was a reaction to seeing adults as “not having fun” and adults saying “what if we would’ve…” or “if only I had…” and hearing the resentment and hopelessness in their voices and refusing to let that be me. Part of it was never buying into the idea that it was necessary to give up what I had and wanted (joy, freedom, and adventure) simply because of age or circumstance. Part of it was just pure luck. I don’t know if I’m “grown up” or not and I don’t really care. I think Frank said it well:

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes;
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams;
And life gets more exciting with each passing day;
And love is either in your heart, or on it’s way;
Don’t you know that it’s worth every treasure on earth;
To be young at heart.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m not sure what that feels like. I’m not quite as carefree and silly as I was when I was younger. I’ve always been very responsible. I’ve always been a cautious risk taker. I’ve never felt totally in control of my life. How does it feel to be an adult?

AshLeigh's avatar

When my mother had a major surgery, and I was the only one to take care of her, I felts pretty responsible, and grown up.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Most of the stepping stones towards adulthood are baby steps for most of us. It sounds as if you started early by learning to be responsible and self-sufficient.

For me, it was six years ago when I was in my mid 40s. I woke up at 4am and drove over to my sister’s house, where she was in the last stages of cancer. She was gone. Sitting by her side and longing to alert others was the hardest thing not to do. I realized that I needed to have my cry and then become a strong support for when our mother and her children were delivered the news.

jordym84's avatar

@wonderingwhy that’s exactly how I used to see it, too: grown-ups = no fun and lots of “what ifs” and “if onlys.” And I wanted to avoid that. I don’t feel like a child by any means and being the oldest of 3 kids, I’ve always been sort of the “third parent.” I have wonderful, very supportive parents, but I’ve been working since I was 16. I put myself through 4 years of private college and have been paying my own bills since I was 18. And yet I still don’t feel like a grown up. Or maybe it’s my definition of “grown up” that’s throwing me for a loop? It’s not that I care either, it’s just something that’s been on my mind lately and I wanted to get some other perspectives.

@Sunny2 I used to be very cautious and not much of a risk taker either, but that’s changed a lot in the past 4–6 months. I feel a lot more “carefree” than I used to be when I was in college. I used to have a terrible fear of heights and bugs, but I went to Tennessee 2 weeks ago with one of my very good friends and we went hiking down (and then back up) some mountains by where she lives and I did not once feel afraid. It’s as if, suddenly, I can do anything…even hold a bug in my hands (a few days ago) without wanting to run for dear life. Maybe growing up does mean something different (and feels differently) to everyone?

Coloma's avatar

I’ll be 53 this Dec. and I still don’t know what it feels like to be a grown up. My daughter is 24 and she is far older than I am. lol
There is no magic moment, one day you realize that somehow you have managed to make it to 35 or 40 or 50 and, well….you’ve made it as a “grown up.” haha

Earthgirl's avatar

I felt “grown-up” when I became self supporting. I knew it was all on me and there wasn’t much of a safety net. Sure, if I failed at being a designer in New York I could move back with my parents. It’s not like they would kick me out to fend for myself, but that would have been so horrible I refused to think of the possibility. And I say that having loved both of them dearly. But my parents were pretty conservative and I wanted to live my life my own way. Making choices and living with the consequences is a large part of feeling grown up as far as I’m concerned. I never ever felt, as you say, “oh crap, I’m an adult!” I always felt like, ok, I think I can do this, keep my head above water and make this work, all by myself. This is great! No one telling me what I can and cannot do! woo hoo!!!!

Judi's avatar

At 28 when my first husband died. I think that’s when I stopped watching cartoons too.

Sunny2's avatar

Is it possible to live your whole life without feeling you’re truly an adult? I mean, I’ve been responsible for my kids and now, for my husband. I’ve supported myself. I feel self sufficient. But I can’t get away from feeling of childlike innocence, whatever I do.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Sunny2 I think that’s great, but I don’t equate being adult with loss of innocence and loss of a sense of wonder. I associate it with a sense of being responsible for oneself and setting goals for oneself. Who says grown ups don’t have fun? That is a child’s eye view of what being grown up is.

filmfann's avatar

When I was 27, I began dating my wife, who had a 4 year old daughter. Shortly after, my Father died.
I had always been someone who avoided maturity, and it finally overtook me, though I still have my moments.

JLeslie's avatar

Early 30’s even though I was born responsible, started working at age 14, had been supporting myself since age 22, married at age 25 and owned my own home with my hisband at 25 also. My dad had told me a couple of times when I was younger he did not feel like an adult until his 30’s, and now I know what he was talking about.

I think for me it had something to do with 18 year olds looking incredibly young to me.

gondwanalon's avatar

When I bought my first house in Fan Francisco at age 29. I had a variable loan at 17%. HA! Everyone said that I was crazy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

When I was down in Belize for 8 months. Ive been self dependent for the last couple of years but I did still live at home. Living in another country and having to do absolutely everything on my own as far as living on my own, house/water/electric bills, and all my own grocery shopping etc gave me a real perspective on what it was to be an adult. Frankly I really loved it and can’t wait to get out of this country and back down there again. It was a truly liberating experience.

zensky's avatar

When I became a father.

hearkat's avatar

It seems that many are defining “feeling like a grown-up” as being a stick-in-the-mud fuddy-duddy; but I just took it to mean being self-actualized, and not looking to others to define or influence who you are. Being truly independent and having ones’ own sense of integrity doesn’t mean that you can’t take risks, marvel at the wonder in the world, or be silly.

El_Cadejo's avatar

“Being truly independent and having ones’ own sense of integrity doesn’t mean that you can’t take risks, marvel at the wonder in the world, or be silly.”

I think when I lose the sense of marvel in the world and my silliness its time for me to die. I’ll always be a little kid on the inside :)

Coloma's avatar

Yes, not losing ones childlike curiosity and sense of playfulness is huge. Too many walking dead zombieing around with no light in their eyes anymore. I drove out of my way with a friend the other day to flirt and joke with a group of K-9 cops on a training exercise in my local park. It was a concealed psychology experiment. I’m famous for setting up my own little experiments. lol

Out of about 7 or 8 guys only ONE had an easy smile and a great sense of humor. The others were grim and automatically suspicious. The one guy will, clearly, be the best cop out of the bunch because he has not lost his sense of humor and play and was able to separate the “seriousness” of his work from a little witty banter with a fellow human.

ucme's avatar

When my potent sperm delivered offspring worthy of Zeus himself!

RareDenver's avatar

I’m 36 and still waiting

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