Group of people laughing outside
Unsplash | Helena Lopes

People Are Sharing The Moments They Actually Felt Like Adults

Is there any kind of thrill to be had in adulting? At one point do you even know if you're successfully fulfilling the duties of a human adult?

Answers will vary, of course. But for most of us, there's a watershed moment at some point where we realize that we're a legitimate adult. An r/AskReddit thread asked Redditors about the first time they remember feeling like an adult.

Money doesn't grow on trees, and fires can start easily.

Silhouette of a person watching a fire
Unsplash | Adam Wilson

"Growing up our apartment caught fire. I remember running in and out of it, wearing just shorts (no time to put on clothes), because I knew we didn't have insurance and I had to get as much stuff out of it as possible so we didn't lose it. I remember running into my bedroom which was on fire to carry out my computer.

"Looking back, that moment where I realized I risked my life and/or injury to avoid financial problems, was the day I think I really understood how the adult world works."

-u/LastPhoenixFeather

Wait, toilet paper doesn't just materialize?

Rolls of toilet paper
Unsplash | Kev Bation

"The first day I moved out of parents house. I didn’t have toilet paper or food or drinks. That’s when reality hit."

-u/IThinkMyLegsAreBroke

"I was going to say toilet paper. Don't know why, but that lit the bulb of all the crap that has been just getting done that I never noticed."

-u/bingwhip

Hey, this is legitimately exciting stuff.

Bright orange cookware and salt and pepper shakers
Unsplash | Karly Gomez

"One day it somehow was wayyy too exciting when I went to a shop and found some really nice kitchenware that’s also easy to clean. That’s when I knew."

-u/4206936031415

"I was ecstatic to receive a set of glass Pyrex containers for Christmas one year."

-u/RinTheLost

It isn't a pleasure, but it sure is a relief.

Calculator with notepad and pen
Unsplash | Recha Oktaviani

The day I paid my taxes online. I know I overpaid, but getting it out of the way and doing it by myself felt good. I was an adult now I have full credence to complain about the government."

-u/triotone

Sometimes it just hits.

Street art of parent and child
Unsplash | Suzi Kim

"A long time ago my child (about 1 at the time) could not sleep and he wanted to sit with me and a visiting friend and I said something like: 'so you want to sit with the grown up people?' and it hit me. I was the grown up people. I was in my late 20s at the time.

The milestones of living on my own, marriage and such were long past then, but with my own child it really hit me. Adult. Responsible. Grown Up."

-u/AloneAlternative2693

This is an extreme example.

Interior of an apartment
Unsplash | Patrick Perkins

"Just after turning 16, mom was already in parts unknown for a few years and my dad left us for work in another state, I became legally emancipated by the state of New York. I filed for welfare to help pay my rent and received food stamps. Still had to work to cover the other half of bills. All while finishing my last 2.5 years of high school. I believe that's when I felt all adulty."

-u/KidSushi76

How things can change.

Pile of mail
Unsplash | sue hughes

"I remember feeling excited when I receive envelopes in our mail box that was addressed to me when I was a kid. It meant that my people remembered me to send good kinds of things.

As an adult, a mail from a fellow adult or an institution does not constitute the same feeling of anticipation but was rather replaced with stress or dread knowing that most of those envelopes contain something that requires you to be an adult to deal with."

-u/SGTPEPPER_27

It isn't like chores are fun, but they can be satisfying.

Clothing on a clothesline against a blue sky
Unsplash | Erik Witsoe

"I woke up, opened the curtains and looked outside at a beautiful sunny day. I thought to myself 'It's a great day to hang the washing out.'

Then I instantly thought ach jeez I'm getting old."

-u/AesopSkate

Hey, my opinion matters!

An empty school classroom
Unsplash | Ivan Aleksic

"I work with children with special needs, there was a time that a decision needed to be made about a child’s school placement, and everyone in the room was waiting for my opinion (including parents). That was a really weird feeling, and the first time I realised I was an adult in other people's eyes."

-u/MyOtherNameIsWorse

If only you knew then what you know now.

Man wearing a baseball hat looking to the sky
Unsplash | Matese Fields

"When I saw people younger than me waste time on dead relationships, partying and dead end jobs. I realised I was now able to see the bigger picture and quite literally felt so old and responsible."

-u/blackpepper42

At this point, Christmas is all about socks for me.

Close-up of a Christmas tree
Unsplash | Rodion Kutsaev

"When I made my christmas wish-list and thought to myself:

'I could use some socks...'"

-u/RandomNameOfDoom

"Enjoy the sock from grandparents for Christmas cause one day they will stop and the world will become grey forever."

-u/Acekingly

When you're officially a lady.

Group of friends laughing outside
Unsplash | Elevate

"When I was shopping and a man said to their kid, 'watch the lady' so that they would budge."

-u/Amazing_Complaint_13

"If an adult calls you sir, they are merely acknowledging you're not a little kid.

When a teenager calls your sir, you're definitely getting old."

-u/Assassinnuendo

Only a few decades of this, and then retirement.

People working in an office
Unsplash | Redd

"Starting my first full-time 9-5 job."

-u/galaxymaster1277

"I relate to this so hard. I remember when I got my first big boy job I'd pop my head into the bosses office and be like 'cool if I go to lunch?' Or something along those lines and she'd give me a weird look. After like two weeks she let me know that she did not care about lunch breaks, doctors appointments, or even leaving a little early, so long as the work got done. One of my earliest memories of that adulty feeling."

-u/gamesireallylike

I think everyone has an experience like this one.

Someone shopping at a grocery store
Unsplash | Ananthu Ganesh

"I wanted to buy a box of fruit roll ups. But was feeling weird about it because as a kid we were not allowed to get it. It was too expensive and parents didn’t want to buy it. At some point while I was thinking about putting it down it dawned on me that I was a grown ass man with my own income. I bought like 20 boxes."

-u/kup2202

When you switch from looking for an adult to being the adult.

A first aid kit
Unsplash | milan degraeve

"In college, I was with some friends at a party and one of them fell and busted his face so badly, he started bleeding badly. I went looking for someone to do something when I realized I was the only sober one there. Not a fun night or feeling."

-u/YellowStar012

When you just...go.

Group of people laughing outside
Unsplash | Helena Lopes

"The first time I didn’t have to ask for permission to go out."

-u/ag9910

"I know that feel. Used to get yelled at for being out past 11 back when I was like 24 and in college.

Like... They know I don't go clubbing nor do drugs nor drink... But they'd still yell at me just for the sake of yelling. Sigh."

-u/Yourgrammarsucks1

"Mom, can I buy a car?"

A white car
Unsplash | Vlad Kutepov

"Honestly, the first time I bought a car without mentioning it ahead of time to my parents. I was 27 or 28, married (no kids, though), and it was at that point that I realized 'I didn't really run this past anyone............hmm....' All of the college loans without a cosigner, my careers (firefighter/paramedic and nurse),my marriage, vacations... Etc...All the stuff I did as an adult and it took a $32,000 purchase to really feel like an adult."

-u/AGACNP

Do what you want.

A person holding a jar of Nutella
Unsplash | engin akyurt

"When I realized nobody can stop me from buying a jar of Nutella and then just eat it with a spoon. Obviously not the entire thing in one sitting but something about being able to do almost anything with no universe popup being like you sure dude? made me feel like an adult."

-u/ScifiDeath

If you haven't starved to death yet, you're an adult.

A basket filled with groceries
Unsplash | Tara Clark

"When I was buying my own groceries and had survived for two weeks on my own. I figured I must be doing it right since I wasn’t feeling hungry or diminished."

-u/il_cappucino

The new layout never makes sense.

A grocery store aisle
Unsplash | Franki Chamaki

"When I got mad that they rearranged the grocery store."

-u/Filord99

"The apple display is gone, the apples are on the onion display, and the onions are nowhere to be found!"

-u/_ShadowEye425_

"I work at a grocery store, we hate it too."

-u/CosmicWolf14