Last month's Real Simple magazine asked "when did you know you were a grown up?" I can't say that I can pinpoint a moment when I knew I was, but I can pinpoint a moment when I knew I wasn't.
I was 16 or 17 and full of myself as 16 year old teenage girls are. I was washing dishes with my mom and I announced that I thought I might like to move out on my own. I had an after school job and I thought I was ready for more freedom. Mom didn't answer my question directly, instead she waited until the I let the dishwater out of the sink. I made a face about the food bits left in the drain plug and told her she could rinse the sink. Mom simply said "you know when you have your own place, you'll have to empty your own drain plug and wipe out your own sink." Eureka! The voice inside my head screamed "stay here, stay here FOREVER; that is GROSS!" So, enough said. I made no more noise about moving anywhere until I went off to school. I was not a grown up.
If I had to define when I realized I was a grown up I couldn't do it. I think you are a grown up when you don't bemoan the drama of life. You just do what needs to be done and get on with it. Childhood and Adolescence are all about drama, real or imagined. When you are a "grown up" you see past the drama that is usually self-centred and focus on what is happening around you. Being grown up means being grateful, and being aware of everyone else in your life. I don't know when that hit me, sometimes I wish it hadn't -- there is great responsibility with the "grown up" title. I wish I new that BEFORE it was me.