Adulting is a Decision

And you can unmake it over and over

Sophie Lucido Johnson


Adults and babies. (The author and her housemates, with the shadow of a dog.)

Our housemates moved out this week. They lived with us for three full years, through two human pregnancies and seven chicken deaths and a global pandemic. When they moved in, there were four of us; when they left, there were six.

When my husband and I bought this house — a creaky 1903 Victorian that was built to be a boarding house and has like a thousand weird closets — we assumed we would probably always have roommates. But when our current housemates moved out, we reconsidered. After all, wasn’t this squirrelly baby a roommate? And wouldn’t it be great to have such a thing as a guest room? With a guest room, people could come stay with us and we wouldn’t have to ask them to share the Costco bill every two months. We could be the kind of generous adults we’d grown up knowing: people with a spare set of towels and a calendar full of visitors.

With our housemates’ exit, we turned the final page in the “adulting” playbook. Now we have silverware, linens, perennial azaleas, cats, chickens, a bed frame, a guy who does our taxes, a child, a house, and a guest room. Those are all the things. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Suddenly, as I was pushing my daughter T around in a stroller (we also have a STROLLER!) I remembered that seven years ago, I wrote an essay for The Guardian about adulting, and I thought I’d revisit it. What does seven-years-later Sophie think about the Sophie who had just moved into her first apartment-with-a-boyfriend? What does she think about the conclusions that that Sophie had drawn?

An old image. All images in this post, by the way, are by the author.

One conclusion: my artwork has improved since 2015.

Prior to re-reading the essay, I remembered two things about it: (1) I’d wanted to know if I would feel like an adult after I had a child of my own; and (2) I’d wanted to know if I would feel like an adult after I had a silverware draw with a divider thingy in it. These were things to consider now that I have acquired both. (I did away with the silverware divider quickly. We keep our silverware in gold plastic cups.)