1. Be comfortable in your own skin
Everyone is always saying, “OMG, I need to get it together. I need to grow up!” and it’s like, um, no. Maturity doesn’t really work that way. You don’t just buy an expensive comforter, roll around in it, pay your taxes, and wake up in the morning as a fully-formed adult. It’s a gradual process. The people who always claim to be the most grown up or changed are usually the ones who haven’t changed at all. Because if you really have matured, you don’t need to talk about it. It just is. The people I envy are the ones who are so clearly comfortable with who they are. There’s a relaxed way about them that seems to express, ‘I don’t care about impressing anyone. I’m fine with where I’m at!” (Note: this comfortability is difficult to have in your twenties. It’s best to just accept that this will be an uncomfortable decade for all of us and hope that in our thirties, we’ll be more chill.)
2. Have kids!!!!
I think what a lot of us forget to factor into the whole “growing up” thing is having kids. I mean, can you imagine the responsibility involved in raising a human? No. Unless you have kids yourself, you can’t. For my birthday this year, my sister gave me this beautiful plant that you only had to water once a month and guess what? I managed to kill it! The most low maintenance thing ever and I still somehow manage to have it die on me. WTF? It was clear to me then that I’m not ready to even have a pet, let alone a child. Part of not being an adult is being able to only be responsible for yourself. And the second you lose that, you’re THRUST into adulthood. There’s no gentle coercing, no “come on, babe….” It’s just, boom, you’re an adult. BYE. (Also, it should be mentioned that some people have kids for the very reason to grow up and, well, if that’s the case, you’re probably going to be a terrible parent and end up on Intervention. Don’t have a child just because you want to stop acting like one, okay?)
3. Land a big boy (or girl) job
Part of growing up is having people who actually depend on you and being held accountable for your actions. And with your first major job, both of those things will happen to you whether you like it or not. On the real, nothing puts you on the fast track to maturity quite like a demanding job that you love. Getting on a schedule already earns you 4,000 maturity points. You have to get out of bed at the same time, do the same commute, get out at the same time. For some people, this kind of schedule might sound like mundane hell but for others, it’s a welcome change. They need the structure, they need the guidelines, because without it, they’re just living la vida loca again.
4. Be kind to your parents
Nothing is more unattractive than a churlish jerk being rude to their parents, especially if it’s in front of their friends. Why do people do this? Why do people berate the humans who brought them into this world in front of an audience? Don’t they realize how awful they look? Unless your parents were Mommie Dearest and Robert Deniro in This Boy’s Life, always treat them with a modicum of respect.
5. Knowing when to admit that you’re wrong
So many people don’t know how to do this so if you’re like 20 and already have no qualms swallowing your pride, then congratulations! You’re already more mature than most of the population! Come claim your gift card to Adult Super Store now! Seriously though, learning how to say “I’m sorry!” or “my bad!” is an invaluable tool and shows that you’re a caring considerate person who has totes evolved! For those who are still riding the Stubborn train, good luck going anywhere fast because your tracks are busted. The Adult train moves much faster.