Adulting is a word I’ve recently discovered. Words are really important to a writer. Apparently this one has been around for a couple of years.  

New words like ‘mansplaining’ have changed my life. That’s a game-changer when some bloke is telling me stuff I already know. There’s no need to say a word. A patient smile does it. I’ll try to remember ‘adulting’ when I’m being childish. Sounds liberating!

My granddaughter, Renée Muhleisen, introduced me to the word. She was showing me a planner she’d devised. The last line read,

Congratulations!! You have stuck to this. You have successfully adulted for a whole 16 straight weeks! SOMEONE GET ME A MEDAL!’

Renee Muhleisen
Renee Muhleisen

A stickler for correct English usage, I queried the verb. There doesn’t seem to be a dictionary definition of adulting. But the word describes acting like a grown up. It also means engaging in activities usually associated with adulthood. See more here.

Renée and I made a date to celebrate with dinner at the end of November, 2015! She will have done sixteen weeks of adulting. She’ll have completed her first semester at University.

image adulting

So what is so special about that? Why would a grandmother care? She is not the first of my grandchildren to go to university. I am inordinately proud of the others.

But Renee is special. I’m privileged to have been involved in her life.

When she was fifteen, she and her sister were passengers in a car that crashed. Renée was on the verge of Year 11. Her last school report showed ‘A’s for everything.

Renée ‘s injuries were misdiagnosed. A week of being fobbed off by two government hospitals and a general practitioner created complications. Eventually the fractures in her lumbar vertebrae were diagnosed. Her back was surgically pinned and plated.

This bright, vivacious former dance-and-drama student was unable to move without assistance.

Renée wore a massive back brace when she returned to school four months later. She still complained of excessive pain which made study almost impossible. Health professionals refused to believe the pain. They dismissed her (and her mother).

Almost a year after the accident, further X-rays revealed fractured cervical vertebrae. It was too late for surgical intervention. Renée will be 22 next month. She lives with her pain and other disabilities.

This year my gutsy granddaughter came to a decision about adulting. She completed the requirements for university entrance. She leased an apartment and moved in. Now she’s enrolled to do a degree in speech therapy.

No wonder I think adulting is a time for celebration. Go, Renée !


Adulting: How to become an adult in 468 lessons, is also the title of a book by Kelly Williams Brown. It is on the New York Times best seller list. I haven’t read it.

Please share your favourite new words in the comments on this blog. I’d love to learn some more.

8 replies on “Adulting – new word, old skills”

    1. Oh, Dear! Don’t know what to say, Rosie. Nor how to fix it!
      Thanks for alerting me.

  1. Well I have only admiration for your lovely granddaughter, but I don’t like the word adulting. It’s such a trend to turn nouns into verbs, but it is often a lazy option. Yes, I know English is a living changing language, and others are welcome to use it, but I won’t.

    1. What can I say. Christina? Thank you for your comment. I guess most of the time I wouldn’t use many of the new nouns-turned-into-verb words, although Googling has become one of my words of choice. But I do think that some new words are descriptive and useful. Renee’s use of ‘adult’ as a concept and a verb seems to have transformed her actions in recent months. If I’m really honest, the playful part of me thinks that new words can be fun.

  2. Yes Maureen I like the word “Adulting” a new word to add to my vocabulary. I much enjoy my “word of the day” message each morning from the Iphone, and unlike yourself seldom put new words to better use.
    It would be good to be like Renee’ and have the strength of character to persevere as problems arise before me, this way frustrations (and cursing) would decline and Adulting could take over before it’s too late.
    It’s obvious that Renee’ has mastered the art of Adulting I wish her well in her further endeavors and say “Go Girl” and enjoy a celebration with her talented Grandmother.

    1. I am so delighted with my granddaughter’s transformation into an adult who attends university, Elizabeth. Her injuries were horrific, and her decision to ‘adult’ amazing.

      I’m glad you like the word, and think it might be useful. As I said in the post, I’m going to think about it when I feel like crying, blaming, withdrawing… the list goes on and on. But I know you get the idea.

  3. Dear Maureen
    What a lovely blog to honour Renee! She is certainly a fighter – and a wonderful ‘adulter’ !
    It’s very special to be blogged. Just last night I re-read what you wrote about me and I am sure you will have made Renee feel extra special too!!

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. Renee has made some remarkable adult decisions in the last year. She has so much to be proud of.

      I’m glad you like the blog I wrote about you. I loved writing it, too. I only write blogs about people I admire and who inspire me. Thank you for being such a good role model.

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