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What Was Your “Holy Crap, I’m An Adult” Moment?

Adulthood — what is it and what does it mean to you? For some, the transition to grown-ass woman status can seem murky and ephemeral. But for others, it’s easy to locate a turning point, a shift, a change in perspective from “girl” to “woman.”

I thought about this as I perused the chef’s knives at Williams-Sonoma one day last week: buying fancy knives to replace my crappy Ikea set seemed very smart and adult. Weirdly, it represented a shift in focus — a few years ago, I’d have probably blown that $150 on drinks and take-out or an unnecessary dress, and instead I was buying crazy expensive knives! To cook with!

But adulthood is different for everyone. When did you most feel like an adult? After the jump: some of our silly and scary adult moments. Amelia: Moving into my bachelorette pad after getting dumped by the fiance. Moving on, on my own. And then getting a Brazilian a month ago. Odd, how making your vag look infantile can make you feel like a grown woman!

Ami: When I was standing in front of a room of students calling me “teacher.”

Annika: Paying off one of my student loans and writing the IRS two big fat checks this year

Jessica: Honestly, I still don’t feel like a grownup — just a really old teenager. I guess having sex with the same partner over and over again makes me feel like an adult. Or maybe looking at engagement rings with my boyfriend. That was a weird experience.

Kate: Getting my first full-time job at Jane! I somehow managed to get hired before I graduated—I started during finals week my senior year. So I’d go to work and dash back to campus for exams. Something about the going to the office part made me feel very grown up, like I’d already crossed the Rubicon. And it made me feel a lot less pressure about exams—I remember they felt like such a technicality at the time.

Leonora: Paying my first tax bill of a couple grand (because as a freelancer my taxes aren’t withheld) and being just fine after. Also, not asking my parents for money for a full year—meaning, never again now.

Wendy: Buying my own health insurance, hiring movers for the first time (instead of just relying on friends to help me out), being called “ma’am” for the first time.

Anonymous: Turning down sex with a guy with a girlfriend just because I knew it was wrong … but oh how badly I wanted to say yes. But adults do the right thing.

Anonymous: Breaking the news to my parents that my sister was suicidal, comforting them as the news set in and helping them figure out a plan of action for getting her treatment.

Tell us: What was that “a-ha” adult moment for you?

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