What was the defining moment that made you feel like you were finally an adult? I can't quite put my finger on mine — maybe it was the first real paycheck I received, or the first time I treated my parents to dinner, or even the first vacation I planned and paid for all on my own. All of these seem like viable, post-pubescent options worth celebrating. And yet, part of me still struggles to see myself as an adult at all. Perhaps it's imposter syndrome, or maybe, at my very core, I'm still just a 13-year-old girl, playing dress up and dreaming of one day becoming a writer.
In a 2014 Op-ed in the New York Times, psychologist Laurence Steinberg made a case for prolonged adolescence and delayed adulthood, which lasts throughout your late 20s. According to Steinberg, adolescence is a "period of heightened “plasticity” during which the brain is highly influenced by experience," while adulthood is marked by "existing brain circuits that can be tweaked, can’t be overhauled." This suggests that those who delay adulthood as much as possible might have the evolutionary advantage — so if you're in your 20s or 30s and are still wondering when you'll start feeling like a grownup, don't worry! You're doing something right.
Below, 18 people share the defining moment that made them feel like an adult, and the results are inspiring, to say the least