1. You treat your body like it’s a temple… sort of
You went from ‘whatever my body can digest is good for my body’ to ‘my body cannot digest anything and especially not Taco Bell’ and so you start adding in fruits and vegetables you hadn’t even previously heard of, so then you have to start learning how to cook these things, too. You exercise partly because you like it but also because your body is basically breaking down and you have to counteract it somehow.
2. Cleaning is a thing you really, really care about
You went from having a makeshift broom and a paper plate that serves as a dust collector to a full-fledged assortment of cleaning supplies. Whereas in your early 20s you were using Windex to clean basically everything, you now not only have a cleaning product for every surface of your living space, but you actually have favorite products and, even more specifically, favorite scents of those particular products. Cleaning is a thing you are into now.
3. You get drunk, but like, sophisticatedly
Whereas when you were younger, drinking alcohol was a matter of finding something that tasted okay enough to gag down before a night out. Now, you have preferences. You have specific brands you like, which are also not the cheapest brands. You actually drink alcohol to enjoy the taste of it, rather than gulp it down to start getting a buzz. (I mean, you’re not above getting a buzz now, but it’s like a sophisticated buzz. Much different.)
4. You have standards now
No longer do you have friends around to just pass the time between classes or to relieve boredom. You’re busy, which means your time is limited. Your standards for friends you make time for in your life went from ‘oh this person is pretty cool sometimes’ to ‘we are having the best time and also having an enlightening conversation in which we both walk away from this happy hour changed for the better.’
5. You have no patience for people who suck
While you still want to be attracted to a person you date, your criteria for a relationship has gone from ‘I can stand this person for a while because they’re really hot’ to ‘I’m not wasting my time with you unless our date is better than a date with myself on the couch with wine and the new installment of Serial.’
6. You have things HANDLED
Your way of handling conflict went from ‘I’m going to stew about this for a very long time and complain about it to all my friends’ to ‘actually I prefer to have an adult conversation about this now’ and you deal with the mucky, uncomfortableness of that conversation because you are grown now. You can do hard things!
7. You buy things that don’t fall apart immediately
You went from buying clothes, accessories, shoes that will last a season and will be thrown away without much worry to investing in pieces. You will pay a bit more for something of quality rather than pay a little bit for a bunch of things that will fall apart after a few wears. It all seems to be the same amount of money in the end, but you feel far more grown-up, especially when you can say, “Oh, these shoes? I’ve had them for years!” That’s the mark of a true adult: owns things for years.
8. You need things to be properly contained in their proper place
You suddenly become the most organized version of yourself. Tupperware abounds! You have a place for everything! You spend time at The Container Store and relish that moment when everything is put into its respective spot and you can rest easy knowing that if you need a pair of scissors, well, damn, you’re going to know exactly where that pair of scissors is. This is adulthood and in adulthood, you know where things are, damn it!
9. You no longer can relate to Rory Gilmore or the like
You find yourself relating more to moms on television shows and movies. Whereas before you were always firmly Team Teenager or Young Adult, you are now watching television thinking, “Listen to your mother, come on, you’re going to be happy she taught you all these wonderful life lessons!” Who are you? What have you become?
10. You’ve accepted that which you cannot change and it’s freeing as fuck
Yes, you would like to change some things about your life, but you’re not full steam ahead creating new identities every year. Instead of reinventing yourself constantly like you did when you were younger, you’re just gently changing the things you’d like to change and pretty much accepting the rest and it is awesome.
11. You stop putting up with shit
Some real strong don’t give a whatever switch gets turned on the moment you hit your late 20s. You’re just like, you don’t like me? Ok, bye! You don’t want to date me? Bye! It’s like all the self-confidence you didn’t have when you were younger has been stored up and is now on overdrive trying to catch up.
12. Self-respect is a thing you have now
There’s an untouchable level of self-respect that has been building up for years and it is now all yours to relish in. No longer do you feel rocked to your core about small things like you used to. You finally have that amazing foundation for your life, which isn’t to say you don’t have shit days now and then, but you at least have the self-awareness to realize that the shit days aren’t the day to day reality of your life. You’re good, you sort of have things figured out.
13. You’re an adult now, kind of!
You have your totally non-adult moments of complete regression into your early 20s self, but at least now, it doesn’t send you into any sort of spiral of regret. You own your choices. You own your body. You own your decisions. You take complete responsibility for your life, regardless of whether your life is a total mess or if it’s going incredibly well. You own that shit. And that, is probably the most drastic change of all. You are you unapologetically and that is so much better than whatever the hell you were up to when you were younger. What were you even doing? God, life is so much better now.