dulting is one of those things that we don’t really think we’re ever going to have to do. One day we’re hanging out with our friends on summer break and the next we’re crying over how to do taxes. 

It often seems like the change happens overnight and out of the blue. Maybe being an adult should not come as such a surprise, after all we spend practically our entire adolescence preparing for this stage of our lives. But thinking about what it will be like to be an adult is a whole lot different than actually being an adult. 

Because adulting is hard, plain and simple. 

And anyone who says it is easy is probably lying to you — or at least lying to themselves. But what do you do when you don’t feel like an adult? 

The good news is that adulting is what we specialize in. So when you don’t feel like being an adult and need a boost — or if you just want to know what the heck you should be doing when you have to pay car insurance — this is the place. 

But first, let’s start with the basics.

Making the transition from adolescence to adulthood 

You might be a young professional, fresh out of college, or a few years into your twenties struggling to find direction. These moments in life may be different, but they all have one thing in common: being an adult. 

And being an adult is a lot different than childhood living under your parents’ roof. You may not have had to worry about rent as a child, but you will have to worry about it now. 

We won’t lie: it can be stressful. But typical adult tasks can be manageable and even fun (yes, really) if you establish a few baselines for yourself. 

Those baselines go beyond the usual tasks of paying rent, budgeting, and climbing the career ladder. Those things are important, but they won’t necessarily fulfill you. 

During childhood, you likely had many carefree moments where you could just be. You might still yearn for those carefree moments when you didn’t have to concern yourself with any of the usual adult problems. Some people might think that you’ll never get this feeling back as an adult, but that is far, far from the truth. Feeling happy doesn’t have to end when you become independent. And more importantly, it shouldn’t

As an adult, it’s essential to make time and space for yourself to foster the type of joy you had as a child. Think about what makes you feel excited and pursue that outside of your other responsibilities. And for this, it’s best to think small, then go big. 

How can you weave in a hobby within a busy work schedule? Is there something free you can do on the weekends that won’t break the bank? 

Anything that gives you joy is a type of play, and play is essential for a person (child or adult) to be as happy and healthy as they can be. 

If you’re looking to bring in more elements of play into your regular routine, try out some of these activities: 

  • Pick up embroidery 
  • Visit a local museum 
  • Take a dance class
  • Explore your local parks and walkways 
  • Try painting everyday items like the back of notebooks 
  • Check out your local cinema’s themed movie night

It may seem counterintuitive to seek out activities that make you have a childish sense of joy if you struggle with feeling like an adult. But seeking out play will help bring you more peace as an adult. And ultimately, the joy that comes with play will help ease the stresses of everyday life. 

So if you want to make the transition from childhood to adulthood smoother, start thinking like a kid and seek out play.

Adults hugging each other
Learning life skills is an important part of becoming (and feeling like) an adult. But make sure that you don’t let the prospect of learning new life skills overwhelm you. It should be something that will help you, rather than overwhelm you.

Taking on adult tasks one at a time 

Aside from play, it’s important to incorporate a few life skills if you want to feel more like an adult. Remember how good it felt when you learned to drive? Getting that license was like a one-way ticket to freedom. Life skills can feel the same way. 

The feeling of driving for the first time might sound like a teenage dream, but there are so many other experiences that can give you that same sense of independence and confidence. 

If you want to feel like an adult, there is no better way than mastering a few life skills. 

Here are a few handy ones that you might want to learn.

  • Public speaking 
  • Filing your taxes by yourself 
  • Asking for a pay raise 
  • Mending your clothes 
  • Cooking a delicious meal 
  • Learning to decorate
  • Changing a smoke alarm

But not to worry — there’s no reason to get overwhelmed by the prospect of practicing a few life skills. If you don’t have a car, there might not be any reason to learn to change the oil. But if you use public transit frequently, a worthwhile use of your time might be learning to read a map. 

In order to learn necessary life skills in a way that feels less like a drag and more like an exciting challenge, think about what life skills will be useful in your everyday life. 

Becoming adept at public speaking might not be something you do every day, but for that one conference you have a year, it will be worth it to get a little bit better at talking to an audience.

But to keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed by the life skills you might want to learn, try creating a list of the skills you want to learn and cross them off one by one. 

When learning a new skill, it’s important to dedicate time and attention to that skill instead of switching around between new things. If you stick to something and see it through, you’ll be surprised by how soon you’ll learn it well. 

Hard skills you should know

General life skills will be super helpful for you to learn, but you should also dedicate some time to “hard” skills to help you feel super confident about being an adult. 

And perhaps the most important hard skill that you can learn is how to manage your finances. Budgeting is one of the best and most effective ways to keep yourself on track with your personal and professional life goals, and it should not be overlooked if you want to feel like a real adult. 

However, budgeting isn’t the only hard skill that will help you feel more like an adult. Here are a few more. 

  • Becoming proficient in an in-demand skill in your professional field 
  • Understanding how to operate technology like computers and smartphones 
  • Knowing how the social benefits you might be taking advantage of work 

Life skills are a fantastic baseline for building your adult competency on. You won’t always be able to call the maintenance person when you need to contribute to your IRA, after all. 

And if you explore nothing else in the realm of hard skills, be sure to check out professional development opportunities in your career field. 

There are few better feelings than excelling at something, and if that something is your job, then even better. Professional development opportunities can not only help you meet new people in your field, but the new skills that you can learn are often invaluable. If you feel confident in your ability at work, being an adult will seem like a piece of cake. 

So take some time to learn a few new skills. You’ll thank yourself later. 

Two people sitting at a kitchen table
When adulting feels overwhelming, try to remember that everyone has their own path. While there are some things that we can do to make the going easier, at the end of the day the right way to adult will be the way that works best for you. 

There is no right way to be an adult, no matter what anyone says 

Most people could probably agree that there are certain qualities that may make someone a better adult; traits like kindness and compassion never go out of style. 

But when it comes to the nitty gritty aspects of how to be and feel like an adult? Well, there is no right way to go about it. 

Everyone has a slightly different path on their journey from childhood to adulthood, and a variety of exciting paths that they can go down once they are in adulthood. Because each path is so individual, it’s nearly impossible to tell someone what exactly they should be doing.

However, keeping a few foundational elements in mind will make being an adult much, much easier. 

If you’re struggling to feel like an adult, take some time to include learning and play in your life. If you give these a try, all of the other traditional “adult” tasks that come with aging will likely feel much more manageable. 

Apr 14, 2023