While there's absolutely nothing wrong with having fun and occasionally throwing your responsibilities to the wind, it is important to keep an eye out for signs you're still not an adult. Whether it's little things like failing to ever (ever) cook yourself a healthy meal, or bigger things like skipping out of work, these bouts of immaturity can take a toll on your life.
Once you realize you're sort of letting yourself down, however, it becomes all the easier to turn your life around and start on a path to bonafide adulthood. As life coach Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas says, "... the sooner you realize you will make mistakes and screw up, the kinder you can be to yourself and only from that place can you grow and thrive."
Which is one of the most important things to remember. This road to adulthood is about growing up; not beating yourself up. "Instead of feeling frustrated ... embrace your young adulthood and learn from those around you, so that you may be a self-sufficient adult when the time comes," Dr. Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. tells Bustle. Whether that needs to happen now, or five years ago, it is possible to become an adult. Read on for some signs it may be time to get rid of old habits, and turn your life around.
1. Forgetting To Take Care Of Yourself
You know your one friend who truly has her sh*t together? She likely gets enough sleep, cooks healthy meals, and knows how to handle her stress. You, on the other hand, find yourself struggling to remember to make dinner. And that's not OK. As food coach Jessica Pearson says, "You might be [busy], but it's important and responsible to practice self-care." Letting your health fall by the wayside? Not very adult.
2. Grocery Shopping Without A Plan
If you almost always rush into the grocery store without a plan, it may be a tiny sign you're still not an adult. "Adults take responsibility for their eating habits and have a plan (and a list) when they go grocery shopping," holistic health coach Leah Lesesne, MA, CSP tells Bustle. If you only pop in to buy one (microwavable) thing, or dash off at the last minute because you're out of milk, it may be time to finally learn how to grocery shop like a grownup.
3. Placing Blame On Everyone Else
Beware your tendency to instantly blame your problems on others. "Being an adult means being accountable for what happens in your life," says lifestyle and natural health expert Jaya Jaya Myra. If you can't find your shoes and blame it on your roommate, or are late to work and blame it on "bad drivers," don't expect people to think of you as the picture of maturity.
4. Failing To Stick To A Daily Routine
OK, so you may not have a job that affords you a sleek nine to five schedule. But even when working odd hours or going to school, you should be able to set up some kind of routine for yourself. "Maybe it's as simple as cooking dinner every day and making sure the dishes are cleaned before you go to bed," Myra says. Whatever the case may be, it's a sure sign of adulthood if you can create a routine and stick to it.
5. Feeling Like You "Deserve" Good Things
Let's say you want a great job, a loving partner, and/or a pretty apartment. If you feel like you "deserve" those things (without putting in the work) it may be a sign you're not truly grownup. As Vargas tells me, adults realize they need to get out there and make it happen. They know that having goals, and working towards them, is truly where it's at.
6. Letting Chores Go By The Wayside
Very few people enjoy cleaning up after dinner, taking out the trash, or doing their laundry. And yet, true grownups will make it happen. As Hakim tells me, you should do your chores even though they're "boring," and without asking for help or expecting others to do it for you. If you can't, well... you know what I'm going to say.
7. Not Taking Responsibility For Your Mistakes
Let's say something goes horribly wrong at work and you're the one to blame. Do you skulk off and hope no one notices? Or, do you stick around and take the heat? If you'd rather go for the former, you likely have some more maturing to do. As life coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus says, "Being an adult is about taking responsibility for your actions, accepting your mistakes, and making corrections accordingly." Got it?
8. Spending Money Before Paying Your Bills
This one might seem obvious, but even little things (like buying a new shirt) isn't a great idea if you've yet to pay your bills. "When you are a responsible adult, you take care of living needs first," says life coach Audrey Hope. Do you constantly run out of money, or call your parents for help at the end of the month? While it's possibly OK to do this occasionally, making a habit of asking for cash is not very adult.
9. Constantly Going Back On Your Word
It could be something small, like bailing on your friends at the last second. Or something bigger, like not showing up for work. Whatever the case may be, it's a sign you haven't fully "adulted" if you constantly slack off on your responsibilities. "Verbal agreements are still agreements," says life coach Danny Zoucha. "You don't need this stuff in writing to know you've agreed to it."
10. Choosing Not To Improve Yourself
Of course time is always a factor here, as is money. But if you had the chance to take a class or learn something new, would you do it? As integrative wellness and life coach Didi Wong tells me, not looking for that new job or resisting change is a sign.
11. Living For Instant Gratification
While there's nothing wrong with the instant gratification of, say, a latte or a delicious lunch, you should think twice if you find yourself positively living for short-term happiness. As Wong says, constantly seeking short term satisfaction is a sign of someone who is not fully 'adult' yet." Instead, you should be putting yourself on the path to meet your long-term goals — whether they be personal, financial, relationship-based, or otherwise.
Because you may not have "adulted" yet, but you will be someday. And, even though it may be painful, recognizing how you're failing to do so currently can help guide you in the right direction.
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