How To Know If You’re Aging In Your 20s

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Believe it or not, there are some positives to graduating from college and joining the real world. The most rewarding part is starting your first full-time job and watching your bank account grow as the paychecks start rolling in. Adios, unpaid internship! Then, after six months of working in the real world, that feeling hits you out of the blue–the feeling that makes you say, “Man, I’m old.” Not “old” like you’re making arrangements to move into a senior living community. It’s the type of “old” that represents responsibility and maturity; it’s a complete 180 from youthful culture and college lifestyle. Now, you catch yourself making a cup of tea and getting ready for bed at 9 p.m. At 9 p.m. six months ago, you were getting ready for a night on the town and going to bed was the least of your worries.

An early bedtime is just the beginning. Throughout the following weeks, one comment after another firmly reminds you that your glory days are over and you now have responsibilities that involve your money, your career, and your life. You’re no longer dreaming of growing up–it’s a reality.

All recent grads feel their stomachs drop when they realize their college habits have slowly changed into habits they associated with their parents in the past. Her are a few scenarios that will let you know you’re getting older. But remember–getting older isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

People call you ma’am.
This is even more jarring when the person calling you ma’am or sir is only two years younger than you are. It may be a little different for men to be called sir, but there’s something about ma’am that ages a woman by 20 years.

Your wallet holds a Visa in your name, as well as your company ID and a coupon to The Limited because you can never have enough conservative work attire.
A year ago, your wallet held your parents’ Visa, your college ID, and a coupon for late night Taco Bell.

A family friend manages to slip a “You’re next…” comment into conversation while you’re enjoying an egg souffle at a wedding shower.
Another Bloody Mary, please!

You test drive a vehicle that you are about to purchase with your money.
I have finally come to terms that a Range Rover is not in my near future.

You purchase a piece of furniture that isn’t from Target or IKEA.
What do you mean it’s not made of plastic?

Sometimes you feel like there just is not enough coffee in the world to help you make it through the day.
This mentality probably explains why it didn’t take very long to earn your Starbucks Gold Card.

You are too tired to go out on a Friday night.
Who wants to just stay in and watch a movie?

You actually listen to the morning radio traffic report.
Accidents, Gaper’s delay, or poor weather conditions–I’m informed and ready to take on that morning commute.

You have to make plans to see your friends days, and even weeks, in advance.
Suddenly, you would do anything to have the luxury of living within a one mile radius of your friends. Unfortunately, it’s hard enough to even be in the same time zone as them.

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Jillian is a recent grad finding her way into the real world one Starbucks latte and student loan payment at a time. When she finds a theory for success in the real world, she blogs about it on The October Theory. Read more at

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