At what age did you start feeling like a proper adult? Do you even feel like one now? I can vividly remember the first time I realised I was too old to sit on the floor of a busy train – and that by doing so, I'd look like a weird, slightly drunk grown-up rather than a sweet, slightly tired teenager. But even then, I didn't feel like an adult exactly, at least not in the way my parents are adults.
Well, according to a new survey, the age that most people in the UK feel as though they reach Actual Adulthood is... 31 years old.
The survey by AppliancesDirect.co.uk also asked people to name the purchases that made them feel properly grown-up, and unsurprisingly getting on the property ladder finished top of the list – because home goals are real. In fact, nearly three-quarters of people who responded to the survey said that buying their first home made them feel like an adult.
However, others said that buying rather less expensive items – such as an iron, a coffee machine or a vacuum cleaner – made them feel like a grown-up. Perhaps the most surprising omission from the list is buying houseplants, which any self-respective millennial knows is a surefire way to make yourself feel more grown-up and responsible without going all-in and getting a dog or cat.
Check out the top 10 results below.
1. House - 73%
2. Car - 41%
3. Washing machine - 36%
4. Dishwasher - 34%
5. Coffee machine - 32%
6. Lawnmower - 31%
7. Iron - 28%
8. Vacuum cleaner - 22%
9. TV licence - 18%
10. Oven - 15%
Refinery29's Natalie Gil recently asked a varied group of women about the moment when they started to feel like an adult, and received an interesting range of answers.
"In your late teens and 20s, it feels like there aren't going to be real consequences to your mistakes," said 33-year-old Rachel McCarron, a stay-at-home parent and carer from Cumbria. "[But] in your 30s, you know there definitely is, which makes me avoid making mistakes."
"I think it's ridiculous that when you turn 18 you're suddenly supposed to grow up," added Hope Virgo, a 28-year-old author and mental health campaigner from London. "That's not how it works. People do a huge amount of growing up in their early 20s, so pushing the legal age of adulthood up to 25 would make it better for so many young people."