The Middles: How To Adult Like An Adult

Posted on October 5, 2017 by P. Kim Bui

The adultiest

“I need adulting help,” they said.

“I am not very good at adulting.” I admitted back, but I tried to help anyway.

Here’s the thing, though. We all have to be adults and there’s this point, of which I’ve come to, where I realize I need to at least pretend to be the adult in the room. If I’m managing a project and there are squabbles, I need to settle them before they topple the delicate balance over. I need to get to sleep early so I can be rested and bright-eyed at the 9 am meeting.

Around the time I got to be a Middle, I stopped drinking binges on a Wednesday night, I refrained talking about dating escapades a little more. You can be relatable without seeming like you are irresponsible. And when you manage people’s lives, projects, ideas, you need to be and appear responsible, at least most of the time.

It’s less of a statement on you and more of a statement on trust. When I taught, I noticed students respected professors who try too hard to be cool less than those who were themselves and wanted to teach something. Think of it as a coat, you have to put it on and own it. You can’t show up late and hung over to your own meeting, you show up early and ready. Extrapolate that outwards as far as you need it to.

Adulting is hard. I’m not always good at it, but I try, because I have people around me that I demand responsibility from, so the least I can do is be responsible back.

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About P. Kim Bui

P. Kim Bui is the editor-at-large for NowThis News, focusing on original, social reporting and breaking news. Prior to NowThis, she was deputy managing editor for, a digital media startup specializing in social journalism. Her career has focused on leading breaking news initiatives and new storytelling forms for local, national and global audiences.

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