Does Anyone Ever Actually Feel Like A Proper Grown-Up?

By Lynnie | November 6 2012 | 57 Comments

With my 31st birthday fast approaching and demands from barmen to see my ID before they’ll serve me in pubs rapidly drying up, I’ve become a bit obsessed preoccupied with aging lately.

The physical aging process is one thing. I mean, I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t bother me, but at least I can feel like I can make some contribution to staving it off and am currently doing so with every lotion, potion, and gadget at my disposal. And, squeamish and all as I am, in honesty I couldn’t rule out tweaks with things like Botox and fillers in the future if I get to a point where I’m concerned about issues that my skincare routine can’t tackle.

More worrying, as far as I’m concerned, is the fact that I don’t feel like a grown-up yet. This is odd because, at least on paper, I am A Proper Responsible Mature Adult. I work. I have a mortgage. And a pension. I have a dog (and tried for ages to buy him a dog licence, until I discovered they don’t do them in England anymore.) I make budgets (and stick to them.) I recycle everything that isn’t nailed down. I do a weekly shop. I hate cooking, but can make a pretty decent sauce from scratch if I absolutely have to. I prefer red wine to white. Oh, and I quite like doing garden stuff (but NOT weeding.)

Despite making myself sound really fecking boring and being able to tick off 45 of the “50 Signs You Are A Grown-Up” that appeared in The Telegraph earlier this year, I still feel like I’m waiting for the penny to drop. Inanely, I sort of expected that things would click into place when I was 30 – I guess I just always thought of 30 as being a Very Grown-Up Sort Of Age. Since it didn’t, and I still feel 28 in my head, I’ve now begun to theorise that no-one ever really feels like a grown-up, that my parents and your parents and all the grown-ups we knew as kids didn’t actually feel grown-up themselves, that it’s all a bit of a charade, a sort of fake-it-’til-you-make-it scenario, and maybe they were all feeling their way in the dark too.

Two lines delivered in quick succession in the recent movie Liberal Arts have deepened – I’d nearly say cemented – that suspicion.

“Since I was 19, I’ve never not felt like I was 19” says retiring college professor Peter (Richard Jenkins) to former student Jesse (Josh Radnor of How I Met Your Mother fame.) Himself and I were still nodding sagely in our seats when he followed up with: “Nobody feels like an adult. That’s the world’s dirty secret.”

“I FECKING KNEW IT!” I hissed across at Himself.

I’m hoping I’m not on my own here, so tell me: do you feel like An Actual Proper Grown-Up? And why?

Image credit: “This Way to Grown Up” by Cheryl DeWolfe, adapted from “Footpath” by Paul Horner

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57 Replies to "Does Anyone Ever Actually Feel Like A Proper Grown-Up?"

  • I am a grown-up, according to my birth certificate (I am actually considering getting the nationality of whatever country that’ll let me decide how old I am, regardless of the exact one). But do I feel like one? Nope, not really. And do I want to? Absolutely not!

  • Miss Star says:

    Ohmigod it’s all true! Getting married next year and living with boyf for past two. Still can’t believe we’re allowed live together, On Our Own. I’m 32. Feel sorry for my mam now when I think back, she was 19 getting married and 21 having me. I’m still not sure I’m grown up enough to be in the house on my own with a baby … :)

  • daisydaisy says:

    Can totally relate to this post Lynnie. I am 2 years older than you and have an 8 year old son. So many times I think to myself “how can I possibly be a parent to him when I still feel like a kid myself”!!
    It is the strangest thing really but good to know I’m not alone!!

  • Dree says:

    Hehe!! Soooo true! Great article – I’m always saying this to my husband – we are married, have a mortgage, a daughter, pensionable jobs … but I still don’t feel like I’m a grown up! I think that it’s a good thing :-) My Dad has admitted to feeling the same way! Maybe we only ever perceive other people as grown-ups.

  • Beanie says:

    I have to confess, I don’t feel like a proper grown up at all! Many of my friends are buying houses and having babies and I often have to fight the urge to grab them by the shoulders and cry “but we’re too young for this”!! The worst thing is I have this creeping sensation that it’s just a matter of time before I get found out for the fraud that I am! It’s kind of a relief to know others are in the same boat too.

  • atkin says:

    I got my first appointment notification for fertility treatment this morning. I’m 34 and feel 100 years old. :(

  • EllieSausage says:

    Phew….I thought it was just me who felt that way!!
    I’m 27 and feel like I could be 16/17…in no way grown up, living with my partner, mortgage etc and still wonder how i’m actually allowed to live this grown up life!!!!

  • Louise says:

    Im 23 and still feel like Im three. Honestly, I still get surprised Im allowed to go on planes on my own. If an old man creeps on me I still think “Peado”, even though at 23 I should prob just think “pervert”.

    But in all fairness I dont think, ANYBODY feels their age. My dad is 53 and still refers to himself as a young man. And my granma is only accepting at the tender age of 78 that mabey she counts as old.

    So I think the date of birth never really reflects the age you feel inside. I certainly dont feel old, even though Im tending that way….I supose

  • Joanna says:

    41 and waiting for the grown up feeling, actually enjoy not having it now, I was so suspicious for a long time that I was never going to feel like an adult, and I am blissfully looking forward to being more outrageous as I get older!!!! Honestly I had more sense when I was 15!

  • Louise says:

    Honestly I hate Twilight, but the idea of looking young forever, would be great :D Noone would ever put presure on you, and you wouldnt put any presure on yourself to be living an “adult life” when you reach a milestone age like 25-30 or even 35. You could just be yourself for as long or as short as you needed.

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