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For me, being an adult is being completely responsible for your own actions and resulting consequences. It also means being able to make your own decisions (i.e. not asking for permissions before doing things). Part of it I think comes from being financially independent too.

Sure, you still have your family to catch you when you fall, but adulting for me means that I have to be able to think for myself and not relying on just what my parents think is best for me.

I don’t think being an adult has anything to do with age. Some mature at 16 some at 30.

I considered myself an adult after I started my first job out of college. Paying bills, earning money with hard work, thinking twice or three times before shopping and moving to a new city on my own decision.

Most importantly, understanding that life might not go according to my 5-year plan and that’s ok. I learn to trust God more.

– Anon, 23, Senior Consultant


According to the dictionary’s definition, an adult is ‘a person who is fully grown or developed’.

I feel that this definition does not represent the word well enough. Just like the word ‘love’ which is defined as ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’. We all know better that these words are so much more than that. These definitions are showing only the tip of the iceberg.

As kids, we look up to these people so called ‘adults’ as our point of reference. These people brought us up. Growing up, I used to think that adults have everything under control. I believe most of us felt that way at some point in our lives. I used to think that adults were already ‘mature’ enough to be making all the right decisions, heading to all the right directions.

Anyway, I’ve come to learned that anyone at any age could still feel lost, make stupid mistakes and even be childish. Forget about the numbers, perhaps, how adult we are is better measured by our maturity.

I believe being an adult should be associated with: being responsible, understanding, having enough discipline to delay gratification to achieve more important things, and a long list of many other positive traits.

Do I consider myself as an adult? Legally yeah, I am, but personally? Not all the time.

I started to consider myself an adult when I began to develop a mindset to be honest to myself, accepting who I am and also have the awareness that I could be wrong and thus always keep an open mind. In other words, being able to self-reflect.

But sometimes being an adult is hard. I don’t feel my age a lot of the time, sometimes I act like an adult and sometimes I don’t. I guess, it is just the next phase of life where we’re supposed and expected to ‘know better’ whatever that means. The pressure of being a grown-up.

I think, most people are just trying to do their best, even though sometimes it’s still not enough. Lastly, I believe being an adult also means being able to understand that the roller coaster ride is just a part of this crazy life, accepting that it’s ok to fall down.

On a side note, I think it’s important not to forget to have fun down the road. Becoming an adult doesn’t mean killing the child inside us.

– E, 24, Entrepreneur


Being an adult means you must be able to fully support yourself and take control of your life. Means you must be able to make your own decisions on important things, such as which job to take, who to marry, which lifestyle to adopt, etc. I hadn’t considered myself an adult until I came to Melbourne and suddenly have to decide several things for myself, including tiniest things such as which brands to shop at the supermarket. Oh, and also to believe in your expertise and be willing to protect your ideas at work – which, again, I hadn’t experienced even though I used to work for two years in Vietnam. Or maybe because I’m much older to some people who I’m working with at the moment

– Trinh, 25, Copywriter


Hmm you got me with the first question. In my opinion, being an adult is when you become independent (financially, emotionally, decision making) from your previous family unit, you are responsible for your actions and you contribute back to the society through work, friendships.

My dad has always been very protective of me when I was growing up. He overlooked my decisions – in fact, he made some for me. He overlooked my friendships – who to be friends with, who not to (and why not). Not to mention curfews, phone calls asking my whereabouts, etc. you get the picture. However, it all changed when I turned 21. My dad seems to start thinking I am an adult and so, I can make my own decisions. I would approach him with questions about what to do with my life, only to be answered with: ‘It’s up to you… What do you think is best for you? What are the consequences?’ I was taken aback at the beginning, even becoming frustrated at making my own decisions. Through time, though many mistakes I have made, I transitioned into adulthood (or at least tried to). So, to answer question number 2 – I guess I realised I was expected to be an adult around that time.

I like to think I am an adult. I am somewhat independent, sometimes responsible, and I contribute to an extent. Some nights though, I do dream of letting all things go and travel the world – no responsibilities, no societal commitments. I still love all Disney related things, even dressing up in Disney pyjamas (to my husband’s dismay). I love my current year off, playing the piano to my heart’s content, and reading books while drinking tea every single day.

Overall, I think being an adult is just a societal requirement of people post-university age. It is a role I play to function in this competitive world and to fulfil what is expected of me. When all that is removed though, I know I still am a kid at heart. I still love being carefree. Either that, or my transition is just not complete yet. As Britney Spears say (I cant believe I’m quoting her): ‘I’m not a girl not yet a woman’ hahahah. Sorry can’t think of a wiser sounding quote.

– Anon, 27, Medical Doctor


Being an adult for me is about responsibility. Someone is considered an adult when he/she can take several responsibilities.

I consider myself as an adult when I studied abroad couple years ago. That’s the time when I make conscious decision for myself. I’m responsible for my grade, my life, my social life, and my future. People that has low points in responsibility tends to evade risk and opportunities, they don’t want to make their life harder. Even someone as young as 12 years old that takes responsibility to feed his family due to several unfortunate reasons is considered an adult for me.

– Dio, 26, Youth Pastor


Being an adult means to start taking on responsibilities of your own future and to learn to embrace failure and setbacks. [I consider myself an adult] when I first realised that no one else in this world could help me determine my future other than myself. Sure, they could give support, help and encouragement, but the onus is still on me.

– Ivan, 30, Entrepreneur


When I was a kid, I see those in their 20s were adults: composed and have a lot of things figured out already. Now I am in my 20s, and it doesn’t feel so much like how I imagined it to be. Sometimes I feel composed, but some other times I don’t. Sometimes I feel like I have figured out a lot of things, but some other times I don’t. So I think it is much safer to describe adulthood in more technical words, like: paying bills, more responsibilities, more expectations, less room for errors.

Yes, I do consider myself as an adult – more because I can’t choose clothes in GAP kids anymore…. I see myself as an adult when I have my first full-time job. I pay my own bills, I have no financial support from my parents, I am free to come back home as late as I want, I have responsibilities toward my clients, I am free to choose whatever I deem best for my life, I do meetings, I have my google calendar set on my phone, I read emails like I read my texts, I jump from one meeting to another meeting in one day and it feels like a normal day for me,  and I feel comfortable making a small talk (IKR).

– Jill, 23, Content Strategist


I think it is having the ability to sustain oneself independently for the basics in life, having the choice to do what one wants by one’s own means, and being confident with one is. Basically one who has it figured out.

Do I consider yourself an adult? Not really. Sometimes I do, but most of the time I feel like I’m still a kid who has way too much to learn. Perhaps it’s because there is way too much I want to do but cannot do them all simply because I’m not qualified or it’s impossible. Perhaps it’s because I’m job hunting and it is driving me nuts. Or maybe I just never will be satisfied with myself because there’s always improvements to be made. I can always become better. I haven’t learnt to be confident as a work-in -progress. Maybe I’ll figure it out soon. Or maybe I’ll become an adult in my grave.

I think because there is so much choice out there, it is really difficult to have it all figured out, or even have a standard definition of ‘adulthood’. Is it having a holiday house? Is it getting married? Is it having kids?

Well what if I don’t plan on having any of that? What if I want to constantly reinvent myself? What if I don’t want a partner? What if I still don’t know what I want to do even though I’m past the legal adult age in my country by 5 years? By 20 years? Ever?

Maybe we should stop focusing on adulthood and just try to be the best version of us we can be everyday. And maybe when we forget about being being adults, that’s when we’ll become it.

– NS, 23, Engineer/Comic Artist


Do I consider myself an adult? Definitely! I’d prefer to call it youthful adult.

Growing up, I’ve always seen myself as more mature compared to peers of my age. I think there are two important milestones in my life which I think shaped my maturity – first is going to university abroad and second is getting a job which broadens my horizon. But I like to believe growing up as an adult is a continuous process – it never stops and we just become better and better every single day. It’s basically the growth mindset.

Often times, as Gen Y we are often really confused! We have our own idealism and belief in how the world should work, but the reality may not always match out expectations. I think whatever we do, it often boils down to two main things – one, are we happy doing what we are doing, and two, are we making a positive dent (no matter how small it is) in the universe?

– S, 23, Business Development


Being an adult is when one can take responsibility for his or her own life, be accountable for whatever decision taken, and be financially independent. In short, being an adult is about being a self-sustained individual.

Yes, [I consider myself an adult]. I consider myself an adult when I got the first salary from my proper job. I consider myself an adult when I knew that I have to wake up in the morning for work and not sleeping in. I realised I am an adult when I knew I have a responsibility. I am an adult when I can make a wise decision, which is difficult but is good for the long term. Being an adult is hard and if I can say it is a battle. However, it is a process to gradually improving oneself to be a better individual every single day.

– MP, 27, Florist