When will I finally feel like a grown-up?

Well, we all know these days when nothing is going well and you seriously ask yourself why you don’t seem to be able to make the right decision at the age of 30 in many everyday situations (I accidentally left a banana in my gym back some weeks ago. Well, I obviously could have done better than that…).

Also, when looking at old photographs of your grandmother and seeing that back then, people in their 30s looked so much older than a twentyninesomeone nowadays, makes me wonder every time: Why do I still feel not grown up at all and will I ever feel like it? And even more importantly: Do I really want to live up to the expectation of my perfect understanding of a “grown-up”?

As a child, you had a fixed idea of what defines an adult. Tensely following the discussions at the adult table, the prototype was clearly sitting in front of you: 30 year-olds who seem to know exactly what to do, staying up late, drinking wine, always making the right decisions and feeling quite comfortable with what they are saying and doing. Obviously, the bar was set really high in the eyes of your 5-year old you.

That moment when you put on your mother’s shoes for the first time in order to feel older and taller, acting like a little adult. The day you reached your “drinking age”. The year you finish university, reaching out to get a job and paying taxes for the first times: All those milestones paved the way to so-called “grown-up land”, a place you were badly hoping to be granted access for.

And now, here you are in your 30s, still quoting one of your all-time favourite Simpsons dialogues, not willing to get rid of your worn-out favourite “Hello Kitty” pyjama pants, eating ice cream for breakfast every once in a while and still feeling scared to death when hearing strange noises outside your bedroom window (…and don’t even get me started on the banana incident). In your worst nightmares, people will call you a “fake grown-up” and you are fiercely waiting for someone to point at you and yell, “Impostor!” Bad enough that people on the street are insulting you with the obligatory “get a life and start having children!”. But rumor has it, that even with children, the “adult feeling” is not kicking in the way you were secretly hoping for.

“You are fiercely waiting for someone to point at you and yell, “Impostor!”

Not feeling really like an adult can sometimes even feel intimitating, but no one ever said, that embracing your inner child is not allowed once you reach your thirties. Actually, the opposite is the case: To keep a certain degree of playful easiness should help us to get through the grey days. Picturing a three-year-old who asks you thousands of questions in a very demanding manner again and again (which may seem tiring at first), should actually become a role model for you, as questioning things is an important characteristic that we should never change (ok, perhaps not in the demanding manner of an infant…). Also, seeing the world through the eyes of your five year old you, should remind you  to be the kindest version of yourself, whenever life gives you lemons.

And if everything else fails you may want to try out the following tips and tricks, that will instantly make you feel more grown-up than you actually think you are (…or at least a little bit older).

  1. Say Goodbye to your entrenched and rigid idea that adults have to be omniscient (nobody is perfect – and neither are you!).
    Lifelong learning is a gift and should help us to constantly improve our skills and develop positive character traits. Turn this ability into gold and start to be more creative when looking for new problem-solving skills.
  2. Going out (to a bar you used to hang out at when you were in High School)
    Apart from being stared at strangely from all sides, you will feel grown-up from the moment as you see 17-year-old girls standing in the corner crying hysterically (for no reason), leaving the bar with a feeling of sheer relieve, knowing that small things thankfully become less dramatic over the years.
  3. Filing your tax return
    Because there is simply no more grown-up activity than that…

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