Is it time to grow up already?

Anyone else out there feel like a grown up yet? And when are you meant to ‘grow up’ anyway? When you finish school? When you leave home? When you graduate? Get a full-time job? Marry? Have kids?

I was reading an article in The Simple Things about being playful. It talks about how it’s all fun and games but we seem to lose this fun and creative side as we get older. But who says you have to stop enjoying simple childhood pleasures as you get older?

david lynch quote
Image via

The Boyfriend and I were catching up on New Girl and it was an episode which focused on the difference between being in your late twenties and early thirties. Apparently in your late twenties it’s ok to get drunk at a strip club. In your thirties, not so much. And Jess was talking about the childish things that Nick does and how he has to remind himself to put pants on in the morning. What is this magic age when you’re suddenly meant to have all your shit together?

Is this what The Big 3-0 is all about? Fortunately, I have approximately three and a half years to figure this all out (not that I’m counting down or anything). The Boyfriend, on the other hand, has a matter of months. At the end of the episode he asked if he could have an extension on ‘his time’ – and tickled me until I caved in at another ten years.

the breakfast club
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I want to know who decided we have to grow up and how we determine if we’ve made it. I say ‘made it’ like it’s a good thing… If you ask me it sounds pretty friggin’ boring! Anyways, I Googled “what does it mean to be a grown up” and came across this quarter-life crisis article on Huffington Post:

“Basically it all boils down to this: Is being an adult coming to terms with what life is actually like (a.k.a. being realistic) or is it never giving up on your dreams (a.k.a. being optimistic?)”

Who says you have to stop dreaming? I regularly start a conversation with ‘when I’m living in a castle…” Sure, you realise at a certain point after graduation that there’s a one in a million chance of making a living as a journalist while living in Cornwall but you work with what you’ve got and build new dreams. I’d argue it’s about being adaptable more than realistic.

The Telegraph also posted an article called The 50 signs that prove you are now an adult. Apparently it’s based on a study of 2,000 people and ‘the research shows most people don’t feel like a proper grown up until they are at least 26 years old’. I’m 26!!! So I skimmed the list and realised that maybe I am partway there. How awful!

“Nearly six in 10 Brits believe you need to have your finances in order to be classed as a real grown up. And the same percentage think it is impossible to feel like a true adults while still relying on hand-outs from mum and dad. But 44 per cent think the current economic climate has made it impossible for youngsters to grow up as quickly as they’d like.”

So if it’s about being financially independent, I’m there. But having my finances ‘in order’? Pfft! Out of the list I’ve managed to tick off:
2. Mum and dad no longer make your financial decisions
3. Paying into a pension (actually, I felt pretty grown up when I did that)
4. Conducting a weekly food shop (it’s more fortnightly but I do a list)
8. Being able to cook an evening meal from scratch
11. Recycling
12. Having a savings account (I had one a few years ago but blew it all on my PGCE…)
14. Watching the news (does actively checking it on the app count?)
16. Doing your own washing
18. Planting flowers (well, I buy them, my mum plants them and I water them)
21. Having a view on politics
25. Owning a vacuum cleaner
26. Holding dinner parties
28. Enjoying gardening
29. Spending weekend just ‘pottering’
30. Mum starts asking you for advice
32. Like going round garden centres (did that at the weekend!)
33. Wearing coats on a night out
34. Going to bed before 11pm (was in bed at 9.30 on Saturday – hardcore!)
37. Repairing torn clothing rather than throwing it away
42. Always going out with a sensible pair of shoes
43. You like receiving gift vouchers
45. Filing post
48. Being sensible enough to remove make up off before bedtime
49. Being able to follow a receipt

Thats 24 out of 50. So I’m nearly half a grown up? You can read the full list and count your own up here.

I went back to Google for a more well-rounded definition, rather than a list of accomplishments I’m meant to have ticked off by now. The Free Dictionary reckons ‘grown up’ is an adjective for ‘having reached the age of maturity’. I don’t know about you but I reckon farts and penis jokes will always be funny! You don’t have to stop enjoying the same pleasures you did as a youngster.

“We also seem to be getting less willing to put away childish things. Despite proper jobs, we relax by reading Harry Potter or firing paint balls or playing computer games… Anyway, isn’t there also something positive about retaining certain childlike traits? Of course it wouldn’t be good to throw tantrums in the street, or even slam doors instead of communicating. It does seem important to grow up in the sense of learning to make commitments and take responsibility for our life instead of waiting for other people to solve our problems. But that doesn’t have to mean leaving behind the childlike spontaneity and openness to change that we associate with youth, and which can enhance life at any age.”
From The Financial Times

Cosmo notes that we are marrying, having kids and buying houses at a later age – does this mean that we need to find a new way to classify ourselves as grown ups or is this just an excuse to delay the inevitable and have fun a while longer?

If you fancy a fun (and super-childish) quiz, have a crack at this Buzz Feed quiz: How Grown-Up Are You Actually?

buzzfeed quiz results


4 thoughts on “Is it time to grow up already?”

  1. That is so uncanny, I’ve scheduled a post a post about supposedly being grown up at 30 after watching the same New Girl episode. With really similar points to yours and coming to the conclusion of “Oh, sod it, who cares!” I’m adding the bits of the list I don’t meet just for the fun of it!

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