You realize you're growing up when you wear high heels on the reg. As each year passes, the heels get higher and the pain gets less and less.
You realize you're growing up when you start to have old friends. When you're young, all of your friends are new but now I have had friends for 10+ years. You realize which friends really matter and which don't. You can separate the friends for the now from the friends for a lifetime. However, you are also more open to new friends becoming lasting friends as opposed to "these are my four and only biffles forever and no one is ever going to change that." You realize you're growing up when you can look back on pictures from high school and have it feel like a million years ago. I found a stack of pictures from Full BBC's trip to Notre Dame and I thought, "Who are these little girls?! That can't be us." Without thinking, I still might consider some friends new but seeing those pictures almost brought me to tears because we really are old and solid friends.
You realize you're growing up when you can have guy friends and not fall in love with every single one of them. It's not all about sex but instead it's about the jokes, the memories, the shoulders to lean on, and the heavy lifting.
You realize you're growing up when you'd rather use calories for a glass of wine instead of an ice cream cone. And hey, while we're here, you realize you're growing up when you say things like, "I'd love a glass of wine tonight."
You realize you're growing up when you start paying closer attention to your family relationships. For years I never got involved with the standard issues that every family encounters but I think everyone is noticing that "the baby" is finally growing up. I can handle the conversations, the details, and the bits of information that my family has lovingly (and often rightfully so) kept from me as a child. You realize that you might not communicate as well with your dad as you might like. You realize you're growing up when you can acknowledge that and want to fix it instead of letting it slide yet again.
You realize you're growing up when you start to have more "real world friends" instead of "college friends." A few of my closest friends are still in school or taking classes, whether graduate or undergraduate, and our lifestyles are completely different now. I can't just get home on a whim or ditch class on Friday because oh yeah, I don't have class on Friday....I have work. You realize you're growing up when you notice that those "college friends" might not take as seriously as you do the commitments you made to your new life. You also realize that you can't fault them or be mad because in another year or so they will be on the same page and will see where you're coming from now.
You realize you're growing up when the gas and electric bills are in your name.
You realize you're growing up when you can look back on past relationships or flings and see all of the flaws that you never saw before. You can see exactly why a new relationship is better for you because you have others to compare it to. You realize that you don't have to like any guy that likes you. You realize that sex doesn't have to just be sex, it can be mind blowing. You realize that you're liking someone for who he is and for what he brings out in you not just because he's around and paying attention to you for a hot second. You realize you're growing up when you learn that you can only find another person to be happy with when you are happy on your own first.
You realize you're growing up when you spend time with someone younger than you are. Recently, I spent time with a girl fresh out of high school and I couldn't believe how much older I felt. Seriously, I'm only three or four years older than she is but it felt like ten or fifteen. She has yet to go through the immense learning process and transitional years of college. She has yet to experience different types of people, places, and situations that I have, simply because I went to college, live in a city, and have worked at a variety of jobs. The lil cherub has a lot to learn.
You realize you're growing up when you have to see it to believe it.
You realize you're growing up when you don't give a flying f*ck that no one understands your taste in music. You realize you're growing up when you can write about your personal life online and not care who reads it or what they think of it. You can write about mind blowing sex, know that it will make the male members of your family cringe, and then think, "Hi, get over it, I'm growing up!" You realize you're growing up when you can take a step back from a situation, look at it from all sides, and then take action, instead of impulsively (and stupidly) making rash decisions.
Sassarella Says...you realize you're growing up when you can actually sit down and acknowledge the moments in time when you feel yourself maturing. Obviously I'm somewhat introverted and can do this relatively easily but I bet if you tried, you could think of your own moments. You realize you're growing up when you recognize that you have a lot more growing up to do and that you don't actually know everything. Stay tuned for the moments when you realize that you're not quite yet a big kid!