How to Know When You’re an Adult

The magical time of my 21st birthday is coming up quickly (in November), and the question of adulthood is lurking on my mind. Laws in America would have me believe that turning age 21 automatically makes a person an adult, but if I look within myself I can say that I don’t feel like I’m two months away from the transition. So, I came up with six qualifiers that allow me to define the word “adult” and what it means to hold that title.

I believe that to be an adult, you must possess certain qualities that allow you to:

1. Rely on yourself emotionally.

For a healthy foundation, you must be in charge of your emotions. They cannot rule you, or you might not do what’s best for yourself. Impulsive reactions based on anger, fear, and guilt can only harm your relationship with others and cause deep-rooted regret.

Focusing within yourself to solve the mind’s problems is a good idea for another reason. You’re able to ignore the possibility of misleading advice from frenemies (borderline friend + enemy), and ultimately take charge of your own life.

2. Have a sense of independence.

This idea goes hand in hand with Number 1 on the list, but also goes a little deeper. You should be able to feel secure about taking care of the necessary aspects of your life including the financial, health, self-education, and relationship.

It’s completely fine to need a helping hand sometimes. In fact, I’ve even built that into my definition of adulthood (Hint: It’s the next step).

3. Build relationships with others.

Besides possessing self-reliance, another important trait would be the ability to form relationships. A building block of society and its businesses is to create a synergistic environment where the highest amount of collaboration and productivity ensue. This is essential for the growth of communities and organizations alike.

4. Own your values.

This means not bending to the requests of others when they don’t fall in line with your universal truths and values. Despite wanting to be friendly and cooperative, an adult will remember the forces that drive them, and their reasons for living life. These ideals exist in any mind, young or old, but the consciousness that it takes to reveal them aren’t usually found in the former. An easily-swayed adult is not much different from an unknowing child.

5. Think critically.

Upon encountering a grown person, I expect them to be opinionated about certain topics, but open to the possibilities of the opposing viewpoint. Also, being able to decipher meaning from convoluted information is a necessary skill to defend oneself legally. This ability allows for complex input coming from the adult and being entered into society.

6. Improve yourself.

In essence, to be an adult is to form expectations for your life and in doing so, fulfill goals and positively affect others around yourself. This person is mature because they have a need to contribute and the ability to do so. This person will continually find ways to improve themselves to move along with the everlasting quest for meaning in this world.

An adult is both savvy and well-rounded, for these are the qualities that I would most like each grown member of society to have.

The things I’ve listed here in this article are what I consider to be the bare minimum for entry requirements into adulthood. In order to be an effective adult who is highly functioning, I believe there are many more requirements that must be met.

What do you think? What have I missed and what have I gotten right?


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6 Comments on “How to Know When You’re an Adult

  1. I didn’t know you had your own site/blog! Anyways, I think you nailed all the points pretty well. Adding to what you said, helping hands are totally different from crutches. Sometimes the dichotomy blurs a bit though.

  2. Hey thanks Phil. I do agree with your point though. Using a crutch (not in the literal sense) to get through life can mean a loss of independence.

  3. hey selina! i enjoyed and have been enlightened reading this article. i do not have a basis of what determines a mature adult–a mature adult but now i have a baseline to start with. thanks much for the enlightenment!

  4. I totally agree with all of these points. I would also include taking responsibility for your actions as well as your beliefs. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. You just need to be able to admit that you’ve made them and move on.

  5. “An easily-swayed adult is not much different from an unknowing child.”
    Love it, Selina 🙂 number four is something that I feel has been too easily dismissed.

  6. Pingback: Become Autonomous in 2011 | Selina Pittari