1. Every so often, you still have a moment’s hesitation before going out on a schoo… week night. (And then you realize that, although your boss might frown at your mild hangover and the bags under your eyes, technically nobody can stop you.)
2. You know, objectively, that you could up and leave your apartment, go to someone else’s, and have sex, without lying to your parents as to your whereabouts — and so when you do get that booty text, you’re like, wait, how am I going to sneak you i…. I DON’T HAVE TO SNEAK YOU IN.
3. Whenever you go to a bar and the bouncer just waves you in without checking ID, and you’re left standing there, demanding that he demand to see your license rather than just blithely assume that you’re already 21, and then you spend the rest of the night wondering if you suddenly look — gasp — old.
4. That moment when you go to the grocery store in order to do your inner 5 year-old proud on the ice-cream-for-dinner front, but then your adult self gets sidetracked by sautéed spinach with crispy garlic chips, and you’re not sure if this is sophisticated or just sad.
5. That one terrifying moment when you look at a person and seriously think to yourself, I could see myself having a baby with you. We’d make good kids, in a totally not meant-to-be-creepy way. And then you just sit there, refusing to acknowledge that yeah, you just thought that and you were earnestly considering that possibility because your reproductive organs are hungry for spawn.
6. There are two phases in your life in regards to your parents: the complete and utter bliss that exists before they drop the very first “give me a grandchild” hint, and then everything after. Nothing is ever the same after that moment. Nothing will ever be the same.
7. The first time you fight with an insurance company about a bill, and you realize that you have not exerted that much effort into something in a good, long while, but damn it if you’re going to let them charge you for something they said they would pay for when you signed up for that stupid HMO.
8. The moment when you begin actually worrying that your metabolism is not just slowing down, but rather careening off a cliff, Thelma-and-Louise style in a great, fiery inferno of watching what you eat so you’re like, fine, hold the cheesy bread and I’ll swap the iceberg for kale.
9. That shift when you stop thinking about payday as a “Yay, I have money!” day, and more of an “ugh, I have to pay bills” day.
10. Whenever. Someone. Calls. You. Sir. Or. Ma’am.
11. Being expected to orchestrate the death match tango that is moving, and you suddenly realize that all the seemingly blissful things you did as a child were probably really, really difficult for your parents to pull off — and they had a child in tow, no less.
12. That weird shift in the time-space continuum when you find yourself in the conservative(ish) suiting section of a store, and you’re like, wait, hold up, I am the person who is expected to wear these now?! WEIRD.
13. The first year you can no longer send your taxes to your parents, and instead have to weather all those forms and numbers and receipts yourself, and you sincerely wonder if there’s a way to just go off the grid for the rest of forever.
14. Whenever you invite people over for a quaint little dinner or cocktail party or a brunch because you have an apartment and a table and (non-paper) plates and you can socialize on a random weekend morning — and you actually manage to pull it off without setting a tea towel on fire.
15. When you look up a recipe online and think to yourself, oh, I have all of those things, I can make that tonight, and then you suddenly realize that yes, you are indeed a human being who owns coriander just in case you might need to use coriander, and you never considered yourself the kind of person who would have in-case-coriander but here we are, my friend. Here we flippin’ are.
16. Whenever a pop culture reference you make falls completely and totally flat — and this usually happens around people who are younger than you, so you realize you’re not just an adult, but you’ve begun to identify more with parents than with carefree #teens, and are otherwise getting old.
17. Every so often, you still have that really infantile, self-involved moment when you turn around and are just waiting for Mom or Dad to pop up and take care of the bill, but then you realize that nope, that’s yours to take care of now — and maybe you should take Mom and Dad out to lunch to say thank you for all the times they’ve picked up the bill in your life.
18. All those moments when you’re doing the responsible thing and actually opt to stay in for the night are half because you need to do something productive the next day, and half because you have those leftovers in the fridge you need to tackle and you’re actually really looking forward to some second-day ziti.
19. Any time it hits you that you have either been out of high school or college long enough to warrant a reunion; have lived in a new city for any significant amount of time; or could feasibly just pack up your stuff and move. Nobody’s stopping you. People don’t stop adults who want to up and go and place roots somewhere new! (But then you realize you’d have to get a new apartment and a new job and all of that seems difficult, so you do the equally adult-y, responsible thing and stick it out a little while longer.)
20. Coming home to an entirely empty apartment with all your stuff in it and that quiet stillness is whispering, yup, I’m all yours. I belong to you. I am YOUR home. And then you take off your pants and bask in the glory that is living alone. Because you might have to be an adult, but you don’t always have to wear pants at every second that you’re grown.