The terrifying moment we realised we were adults.

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If you’re reading this, there’s a 95% chance you’re an adult.

Stop looking over your shoulder. I’m looking at you – the adult – in the eyes, (well, not really since you are most definitely reading this article right now and not looking at me. But figuratively, I am staring you down).

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a quick test, shall we? Do you…

  1. Own a vacuum?
  2. Have a mortgage?
  3. Do a weekly grocery shop?
  4. Dress for warmth – not fashion?
  5. Enjoy spending the weekend just ‘pottering’?
  6. Go easy on the wine on a Saturday night – just so you can enjoy your Sunday?

If you answered yes to any three of these questions (or all six of them, like me) you are most definitely an adult. And if you answered yes to any – even one – of these questions, let me assure you, you’re well and truly on your way.

Prepare a healthy, nutritious meal with the food you just bought? You're an adult. Image via iStock.

As a child, I assumed that one day a switch would flick in my brain and that would be that, I would be a fully-fledged, grown-up woman. And I would feel like it.

But until recently, it hadn’t occurred to me that that awareness could come and go without even so much as a tap on the shoulder or a gentle whisper in the ear. You would think somebody, somebody very grown up, like David Attenborough or Ita Buttrose would, at the very least, send you a letter in the mail.

Well, consider this your letter.

My ‘letter’ came to me last week courtesy of my local butcher, Ray. Yes he signed, sealed and delivered a big fat ‘Ma’am here is your mince’ – three times. No ‘Miss’, ‘Ms’ or ‘young lady’ – a big fat, age defining ‘ma’am’.


The first time, I was sure he was speaking to the woman with the gourmet hot sauce cradled in her hands. The second, I dismissed him as I crossed ‘mince for the cat’ off my grocery list. And the third time, which was accompanied with a quick and loud drum of the stainless steel bench, I finally raised my head.

Who was the annoying woman holding everyone up? Me, it was me - I was the adult holding the keys to her apartment in the right hand and a grocery list in the wedding-ring-adorned left hand.

I grabbed the mince – for the living creature that I care for *gasp* – and ran for the exit before I started to realise I’d outgrown the movie Clueless and began yearning to organise my tax return.

In charge of a living creature's wellbeing? You're an adult. Image via iStock.

Here are the moments some of the women in the Mamamia office received their 'letters’.

“The very first time I made a dentist appointment and paid for an actual FILLING with my own paycheck, I had this strange realisation that I was a real, live adult. It was exciting and a bit depressing at once. It was like: ‘Sh*t just got real.’” – Grace

“I get hit by little moments all the time. Sitting down in those tiny kids' chairs at my first parent-teacher meeting. Telling my kid not to run with scissors. Writing a note explaining why my child was away from school.” – Helen

“I was thinking about this the other day. Probably the time my car tires were bald and I drove in and was told off. I was all like, ‘I have to remember to do all these responsible things!’" – Jo


“I think I felt like I was an adult at the completion of a long break-up. I was finally doing all life tasks on my own and I felt very capable. Like I thought I would once I reached 'adult' status.” – Emily

“When I realised that I loved my own company - I used to be so dependent on people, and now I love nothing more than being by myself.” – Caitlin

Enjoy your own company? You're an adult. Image via iStock.

“When I worked in a library and mums would tell their little kids to, ‘say thank you to the lady.’” – Alexis

“When I realised I was better at organising stuff than my parents. And then they took advantage of that and I started ordering on behalf of the family at restaurants, organising family reunions, birthday presents – the list goes on.” – Isabel

“I don't always feel like much of an adult. And I can't think of one moment when I thought, ‘I'm a grown-up now’. But I always feel grown-up when waiters pour the wine for my approval. Or if people ask me if I have kids. And I'm like, ‘Excuse me!? I am much too youthful for that!’ And then I realise it's a perfectly reasonable question.” – Alex

Let’s hear it. When did you realise you were an adult?