I've always felt that certain experiences, rather than certain magical "ages," make you an adult. Or at least, over the past few years, I've had a number of moments after which I thought, "I'm definitely an adult now because of what I just did/ learned/ experienced." Such as:
- signing my first lease
- driving by myself for a long trip (250+ miles)
- signing a contract for my first rental car
- filing a motion in court as part of my summer job
- getting into law school
- learning how to cook
- learning how to read a map (Seriously. This is something I really never had to do until I was trying to drive around a new city by myself).
- realizing that I now find the "teen" section of the library to be pretty boring
- setting up flights and flying by myself for the first time
- going to networking events
- going to my first charity benefit dinner/ party
- buying my first real professional suit
- checking my credit score
- replacing ink cartridges in my printer (because this used to always be Dad's job . . . but not since I'm living on my own)
- realizing that things like hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent, and light bulbs are cropping up on my list of "stuff to get at Wal-Mart"
- basically everything that happened while I studied abroad in Costa Rica, including interning at a law firm and taking care of bank business, all in Spanish
Most of the time I feel like I'm a real adult . . . but I'm not sure when I'll ever be convinced that the rest of the world sees me that way too. I think my perception of this would be different if I were working right now instead of in graduate school. Retaining the "student" label sometimes makes me feel like I come across as being basically still in high school! But even if I do look a lot younger than I really am--I want people to take me and my ideas seriously.