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As a Grown-up Who Is Trying to Grow Up

March 1, 2021

It's true that in the United States, legally speaking, we are recognized as adults when we turn eighteen years old. But even though I've technically been an adult for twelve years, I have not felt like I was a REAL AND TRUE adult for the majority of that time. 

In fact, everyone around me seemed like a "real adult," with lives that seemed much more together than mine. I had so many anxieties and so many questions that I was embarrassed to ask the "older and wiser" people around me.

What did that strange light on my car dashboard mean and how could I turn it off? Why wasn't my health, dental, and vision insurance all combined into one insurance plan? How could I find new friends after moving three thousand miles away to a new city?

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown answers all these questions and many, many more. She also starts out the book with firm reassurance to the reader that no one is dumb for not knowing the many aspects of adulthood (how to cook, how to find an apartment, how to look for a job, etc.), and that she considers the word "adult" in fact, a verb rather than a noun.

Thus, she coined the phrase, "adulting!" And she points out that learning to "adult" is an awkward, confusing process, and many, many people (if not most of us) are figuring it out as we go. 

Brown, a reporter, draws upon years of interviews, compiling the advice of everyone from experts in their fields to friendly strangers in bars. Their wisdom and testimonies give the book additional depth. She also throws in a few comical and cringe-worthy personal lessons that she's learned from her own "adulting" journey.

Whether you need to learn how to keep houseplants alive, what to look for when purchasing a vehicle, or how to finally end a relationship that no longer serves you, you'll find guidance on how to do these things and more. Adulting serves as a great mixture of a how-to, a relationship, and a self-help manual, and what's more, it's funny and charming. Brown's voice comes through like a patient, good-natured, and hilarious friend. 

And the book doesn't tout itself as some sort of sacred text that is essential to entering the world of being an adult; instead, it serves as an easygoing, encouraging guide. And Brown doesn't pretend to be the expert on adulthood. In fact, she even admits that she is "not a super-great grown-up."

Lastly, Brown reiterates that there is no one "ideal" model of adulthood; adulthood will look different for everyone based on many, many factors, and what one adult wants will be different from what another adult wants. And that's perfectly fine! 

You may not need or want all the steps that the book offers up. You may have been "adulting" quite well for a long time! But I would still recommend picking up Adulting because it's witty and very entertaining and maybe, you will read it and find great advice that could be really beneficial for someone you care about.

And remember, even if you feel like the people around you are much "better" adults than you...there's a very good chance that someone is looking at you and wishing they could "adult" as well as you!


Katie Varnell


Katie is a Circulation Assistant at the Hadley Park branch. She loves musical theater, practicing yoga, and all desserts. She is always eager to hear movie and book recommendations and to chat about pop culture or cats.