real life

'I'm a Gen Z and these are the only things that make you an adult.'

When I turned 18, I thought everything would click. The noise in my head would quieten and all the questions constantly milling around my brain would answer themselves. I'd be wiser, more mature and have a better understanding of myself and others.

I'd read more. I'd pick up new hobbies that would likely become side hustles and then six-figure-earning businesses. Life would be hard, sure. I'd make mistakes. Lose friends and maybe myself, too. I could have done a bunch of things wrong but of course, in true adult fashion, I'd prevail.

Because I was an adult. A perfect, professional, responsible adult.

At 18 years old. 

Yes, at 25 years old, I now see the irony.

Watch: Women who kicked major goals after the age of 30. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

A few months ago, I grew another year older and a few things have happened since. Actually, for the sake of transparency, I guess it actually began happening about six months ago. Something my friends and I have dubbed 'The Shedding'.

I've lived out of home since I was 19 years old. Paid my own bills. Lived independently and never went without a job. I technically tick all the boxes of what it means to be 'an adult'.


But then it happened. The Shedding. 

It was almost like a fog was lifting from around my head. Things actually did start making a lot more sense. I understood my friends more deeply and my parents, too. Life decisions felt less confusing and complicated. Situationships were dumped. I even started considering therapy, for the first time in my life.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I finally think I am... an adult?

As such, I wanted to share the 25 things that prove it. I'm talking concrete evidence here. Indisputable proof.

Here we go.

How to know you're an adult, according to a *real adult*.

1. WTF was life before Google Calendars? 

My memory isn't what it used to be. So I've embraced Google Calendars. I would recommend the Apple Calendar but I'm not adult enough to know how to use that one sufficiently yet.

2. Spending a bit more on clothes makes a lot more sense than going the fast fashion route.

I argue about this with people all the time but HONESTLY, why do I need to own 30 T-shirts that cost me $8 each when I can spend $30 each on five good-quality ones that will last me for three times as long?

Girl math, people.

3. If you don't like coffee by now, you never will, buddy. 

I've officially accepted that drinking a long black doesn't make me an adult. What does, though, is accepting that it is a waste to spend $7 on said long black just to look more professional and put together.


4. Booking your own doctor's appointments.

I still ring my mum for a refresher on my health history, but I don't necessarily NEED to anymore. Yanno?

It's the little things that make a difference.

5. No more share houses. 

Gone are the days of splitting rent five ways. I'm not judging people who do, PLEASE KNOW THIS, I just don't like arguing over whose dirty pot is in the sink anymore, in a group chat no one actually reads.

6. Sleep feels like a privilege. 

I'm just so tired. Because I work so hard (especially since finding out that money does not, in fact, grow on trees).

7. So do good shoes.

Orthopaedic specialists, hmu.

8. Romantic relationships suddenly don't seem as integral as platonic ones.

Why do I need a partner when my soulmates are my friends?

9. Mum and Dad officially graduate to friends, kinda.

They'll always be mildly annoying overall, but I'm now finding that they're actually pretty smart.

10. Dating isn't always fun. Sometimes it's a chore. 


11. You're now the 'uncool' cousin.

Gone are the days of rolling my eyes at older extended family members who wanted to know how school was and what I got up to on the weekend... because I now am that cousin. The little kids who used to run laps around my feet and beg for a bedtime story are fully fledged TikTok-watching, eye-rolling, moody teenagers with no time for me.

Heartbreaking reality, tbh.

12. You're constantly playing catch up with trends.

I know skinny jeans are out. Peplum tops are on the verge of being cool again. I'm aware that brown suddenly does go with black. I get the gist of it all.

I'm talking about the trends that only kids know about. The right type of sneakers to own. The dancing trends that aren't even trends yet. The song by that underground artist who is about to become a three-hit wonder and tour around Australia.


These kids know it all. But I am no longer a kid and I don't want to be. Frankly, it all sounds exhausting.

13. Or you've just given up on trends altogether.

I'll stick to what I like, thanks. And I'm gonna continue to take my time in figuring out what 'I like' actually means, too. 

14. Comfort > looks.

I'm putting on the sweater because I know it will be cold at 7pm, even though the day has barely begun. Because, as an adult, I enjoy thinking ahead. Because that's what adults like me do.

15. Your circle becomes smaller. 

Maybe there was a fallout. Maybe things just happened in a way you didn't expect them to. Either way, I'm holding on to the pals I do have with a tight grip and I'm not letting them go. 

16. You know you're not smarter than kids.

I have a lot to learn from them, actually. 

17. You own enough socks now. 

No more mismatched pairs for me, thank you! 

18. And underwear.

Okay, I'm still figuring this one out.

19. "The good old days" are happening right now. 

The stories you'll tell your kids are supposed to be taking place as we speak. Soak it in.

20. You still dream big. The dreams are just different.

Your dreams are a little less far away now. Some of us have already achieved them by starting a family. Others have let go of becoming an astronaut and instead now dream of owning a home or travelling for a year.

Either way, being an adult doesn't mean you stop dreaming. It means your dreams have grown up alongside you.


21. You probs still rent, lol.

And you probs always will. 

22. Your social media feed looks a little different.

Idk about anyone else, but I don't see pics and vids from weekend kick-ons anymore. It's not the content I'm engaging with now. I like finding interesting stories instead. Seeing what my friends with kids are doing. Looking at new engagement photos. Learning about what's going on in the world. And if I want a bit of escape, I'll go onto the IG stories or TikTok. 

Big adult brain right there.

23. Money is precious. 

I can't actually afford lunch every day. I don't know why I was so sure I was rich but alas, turns out I am not.

24. Mum and Dad don't loan you money anymore.

Ah, yeah. Hopefully, that just means the inheritance will be a bit more hefty?

(I kid!)

25. Life isn't so bad, or big, or scary anymore.

Being an adult doesn't mean you're not scared. You're still frightened about the future. Things still feel confusing. Life is still complicated and messy. Not everything makes sense. 

But being an adult also means, to me, that you'll know you will figure it out eventually or someday soon, and that failure actually is an option because it is possible to bounce back and succeed again.

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