In defense of “adulting”

As a writer, sometimes I struggle to accept slang, lingo, made-up words — whatever you want to call it. Despite my best efforts and to my chagrin, I catch myself spouting off the occasional “I know, right?!” “totes” and perhaps worst of all, “I can’t even.” “OMG” and “LOL” (still?!) make it into more texts and emails (not work ones) than I’d like to admit.

The term “adulting” certainly falls within that spectrum also. It has several definitions at, including the one that I think works best in terms of what I’m aiming for:

Doing something grown-up and responsible:
I’m so proud of you for finally adulting by spending that money on things you need.

Although, I think I have yet to fully accomplish that one. I mean, first of all, define “need”…

When I decided to start this blog, the term was gaining traction, and I felt it really epitomized my struggle to fully “grow up,” something that I feel gets more and more serious as you get into your 30s. (You can read more on that in my About Me section and introductory entry.) Beth and I were batting around ideas for the blog name, and since was taken, she suggested alyssagoesadulting, and I went for it.

So if we were to take the above definition and insert it into the name of my blog, we would have:

Alyssa goes and does something grown-up and responsible!

CLEARLY, that’s a work in progress.

I am well aware there are people out there who hate this term, possibly even those I’ve chosen to share my blog with. Among them, I’m sure there are some who have never clicked on the link, or they read part of an entry and scoffed, “Oh, just grow up already- you don’t have to write about it!”

Thanks to Beth, I am now aware of a blogger who very strongly disagrees with the use of the word and what it represents. In fact, she would like to SHUT IT DOWN.

Allow me to introduce Madeleine Davies, and her recent blog post, “You’re Not ‘Adulting,’ You’re Acting Your Fucking Age.”

That’s a lot of “yours” there, Madeleine! But I do appreciate that you used each one properly.

Feel free to read the blog yourself, but don’t worry, cuz I’m gonna break it down for ya!

In a nutshell, Ms. Davies is FED UP with us ne’er-do-wells, or as she puts it, “when a person fulfills a basic prerequisite of adulthood and wants to feel special—or, worse than that, be charmingly self-deprecating—about it.”

I’d like to think I fall into the latter category.

Here we go! Italics are text from Ms. Davies’ rant — sorry, blog — and regular is mine.

When my mother was my age, she was raising a child and was pregnant with her second. She worked retail and saved money so that a few years later she would be able to put a down payment on a house. She was 28. She was a grown-up.


Sorry, no, I’m awake, I swear. OK.

A few decades ago, it was possible for my mom and dad—a young couple of moderately limited means—to have children, buy a home, and establish career tracks, but times have changed. People are having kids later. Housing prices are rising and incomes are not. Thirty-somethings are applying for unpaid internships. Safe to say that adults in their twenties and thirties feel less grown-up today than they ever have before: thus the rise of the embarrassing and self-congratulatory phrase “adulting.”

So in other words… life is harder so there’s a reason why this term came about?! OK, go on…

Adulting is a term most often used when a person fulfills a basic prerequisite of adulthood and wants to feel special—or, worse than that, be charmingly self-deprecating—about it.  

“Remembered to pay my phone bill on time #adulting,” they might type.

“Vacuumed for the first time in six months,” they’ll potentially say. “#adulting.”

“Hosted a dinner party where I didn’t ask guests to bring their own plates #adulting!”

(Want some real life examples? Here you go!)

There’s a book on adulting. There are PLENTY of blog posts on adulting. You can even get an adulting blue ribbon

You're Not 'Adulting,' You're Acting Your Fucking Age

Ima get me some of those!

…which is funny, because, even when given ironically, an award for fulfilling your basic responsibilities as a human is pretty much the most childish thing imaginable.


We can all recognize that being an adult is hard. We can also recognize that there are legitimate challenges to modern adulthood that didn’t exist 50 years ago. Even putting aside major current issues like stagnant wages and the inflated housing market, there are certain things that we grown ups have to do (clean, pay bills, sit in meetings) that are always going to suck and that we’re always going to complain about. 

That’s okay! I love complaining!


Complaining is one of the best parts of being an adult. But when it comes down to getting shit done, it’s time to put aside your need to feel special and praised and simply do your adult diligence without putting a cute word on it. Pay your bills, clean your rented apartment (because you’re too poor to own, obviously),


and show up to work on time. Or don’t, and face the consequences.


As a woman of nearly 30 who currently types from a bedroom where there are enough dirty clothes on the ground to pad a hard fall, I am in no position to tell people to grow up and act responsibly.

WHAT- YOU’RE NOT EVEN 30 YET?! Oh honey, then you don’t even get it!

I am, however, in a position to tell people that they don’t deserve accolades once they finally do.

You are…? OK.

Well, Ms. Davies, you’ve really put me in my place.

I commented on her blog post with a link to my own blog. My comment wasn’t approved. I call poor sportsmanship.

Plus, she also blogged about Bill Murray’s Christmas Special and how he’s basically a terrible person (whatevs — it’s Bill Murray!)  so… do we really want her telling us how to live our lives?

That’s for you to decide.

Comment below or send me an email at!

3 thoughts on “In defense of “adulting”

  1. Generally I’m not taken with hypercritical rants about things that are unimportant. In my own life I almost always turn to hypercritical thinking when I’m feeling insecure about something. Tearing apart an idea (or a person) temporarily makes me feel a little better. But only temporarily. What’s particularly alarming about Ms. Davies’s piece is that she brushes aside significant economic shifts affecting millennials as if they are no big deal: ‘my parents pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and they never complained!’ Perhaps she simply needs a lesson in compassion.


    1. Agreed…. it really made me think a lot about the future content of my blog and how I really don’t want to do entries where I am attacking anything or anyone. She also almost seemed to contradict herself at times. I just came away questioning her point and thinking she wasn’t really in a position to be making all these judgments!


  2. Pingback: Sorry, not sorry – Alyssa Goes Adulting

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