Today’s chat is with my cousin, Liz. She’s the youngest in our family of 19 cousins, but has always been wise beyond her years (and very funny). She has just graduated from college, is looking for a job, and was just about to move in with her boyfriend when we had this conversation. We talked about what it means to be an adult.
Caitlin: Who are you?
Liz: I am a 23 year old Canadian, recently graduated from Algonquin College in Ottawa. I recently moved to Toronto. I’m the youngest of 4, which I think has a lot to say about my own personality. I’m a girlfriend, I’m a friend, I’m a public relations practitioner.
Caitlin: Do you feel like an adult?
Liz: No. (laughs) Well, a little bit. I feel like at this age like 23, 24, our age group is split into two. Half of my friends are getting married and thinking about having babies, settling down and moving in with significant others and the other half are still getting blacked out drunk every weekend. So there’s this disconnect. With different friends I feel old and with different friends I don’t.
Caitlin: And you’re right in the middle of those two groups, lifestyle wise.
Liz: Now that I just moved to Toronto I probably am more into the domestic side just because I don’t have friends here (laughs), which hurts the nightlife, but yeah, I probably am more on the more settled down side than a lot of people my age.
Caitlin: Do you think I’m an adult?
Caitlin: So what do you define as being an adult?
Liz: I don’t know. You have a house. You have more responsibility than just picking up and doing your own thing. You need to consult with other people, pay your own bills… I feel like when you’re an adult you have no excuse for your phone getting disconnected.
Caitlin: Do you think you can turn to your parents for help when you’re an adult?
Liz: Yeah, I think you always can… I’m sure when I’m 30 years old, my parents will still be telling me what to do.
Caitlin: I am laughing because you just said “30 years old” like that’s some wildly old age. Anyway, for me, I’m married, I’m a homeowner, I’m 28. I’ve been mostly gainfully employed since graduating from college. So, I guess, like you said, I’m an adult. And I guess in a lot of ways I feel like one, but in a lot of ways, I don’t. So it’s interesting and it makes me wonder if you ever really feel like an adult. I’ll have to ask my mom. But, what do you think would make you feel like you’re an independent adult?
Liz: I think hitting life’s milestones and having them be a happy celebration. I have a few friends who have either had a baby or are now pregnant and it’s a happy, joyous occasion. And it kind of hits me in the last three years, it’s not like, oh my god, she just got pregnant, what’s she going to do? Now it’s like, let’s have a gender reveal party!
Caitlin: There’s an Amy Schumer joke about that.
Liz: It’s so true though!
Caitlin: (Laughs) So is that the sign of adulthood?
Liz: (Laughs) Also, your relationship with your parents definitely changes. Not everything is a teachable moment.
Caitlin: Right, there’s more back and forth.
Caitlin: And probably in some ways we become more insufferable to be around.
Liz: I think getting a job in your field is another one. Oh, and when it’s your birthday you no longer want to go to the club, you want to sit in your living room and drink a bottle of wine with your girlfriends. That was a big one this year, no one wanted to go out for their birthday. At least the people that I consider adults now.
Caitlin: When it comes to being an adult, do you think you’ll know when you are one?
Liz: No. Especially because I have older siblings and when I talk to them about being an adult and being old, they say they don’t feel like adults yet. I feel like you’re always striving for that next level of adulthood.
Caitlin: Or avoiding it.
Liz: Or avoiding it.
What do you think? Do you consider yourself an adult? Even if you know you are technically an adult, do you always feel like one? Was there a pivotal moment in your life that made you feel grown up? Talk to me!