“Adutling,” as defined by Urban Dictionary, is “to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.” This slang term has skyrocketed in use among young adults, especially those fresh out of college, and you’ll definitely see it used in context of the below categories.
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Money stuff is probably the biggest “adulting” category out there. As millennials move from high school to college to careers and families, they also transition from financial dependence on their parents to taking care of their own bills. While many young adults start paying their own gas and phone bills pretty early, they still balk at the idea of having to get a mortgage, pay off student loans, and saving for retirement. (“Already? But I’m, like, 25!!”) Hopefully, they’ve already had practice with some of these, like paying for gas, having a little bit of credit card debt, and handling apartment leases. Even so, while twenty-somethings may know how to stalk reality listings for homes for sale, they are still terrified by the process of getting a mortgage, a loan, and signing the deed.
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Health–and health insurance–is another major “adulting” concern. At age 26, when millennials lose their parents’ health coverage, they face the daunting task of getting themselves insured. Some already have jobs that include benefits, but a lot of other young adults continue on with higher-level degrees or freelancing in their fields, which means they have to buy insurance on their own. New health concerns arise at this age as well, as young adults become more sexually active, travel, and begin to see the very early signs of aging (it’s not so easy to rally after a night of drinking anymore!). They have to take the initiative to address problems and take preventative measures.
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And, of course, millennials still need answers to the basic questions, like “can you tan with sunscreen on?” or “why am I so bloated?” or “will I ever be cured of my allergies?!”
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As people move into their 20s and 30s, they start focusing more on serious relationships, rather than casual dating. This is also the time when high school or college sweethearts may find themselves needing or wanting to go different places to pursue their respective careers.
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Young adults getting married will also often find themselves facing the financial and health challenges listed above–rites of passage seem to like to cluster together.
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This is also the time to establish solid professional relationships as well. Teachers, parents, and professors may be forgiving of the occasional smart-alec attitude or find the class clown still charming, somehow, but employers–especially when a candidate is first hired, may be less forgiving. Millennials find themselves networking–tricky in a new way, since the Internet now plays a major role–and building their professional reputations. Even though it’s an essential part of life, it’s still stressful!