Adulting, Accountability & Responsibility

Adulting, Accountability & Responsibility

Not long ago, Katy asked for adulting tips, and I made a smart comment about social media. She scornfully suggested no one plans to waste an hour on social media, and that was kind of the point I was messily trying to make.

Adult Leisure Activities. Photo by the Victorian State Rivers and Water Supply Commission photographer (Rural Water Corporation collection) via State Library Victoria
does anyone else wonder why there are guns on a fishing trip?


But really, I was talking out of my arse because I have no idea what “adulting” is.

So I looked it up

actions and behaviour that are considered typical of adults, not children or young people.

Cambridge Dictionary

Which is not much help.

Though the dictionary includes a list of handy examples:

  • Adulting includes things like keeping your home clean and paying bills.
  • I’m not great at adulting. I do things like eat fast food while the fresh ingredients I bought rot in my fridge.
  • Adulting is a stage of life some look forward to but most find difficult.


My favourite Senator Jacqui Lambie suggests being accountable for your actions, is called “being a godamn bloody adult.”

The dictionary says

the fact of being responsible for what you do and able to give a satisfactory reason for it, or the degree to which this happens

Cambridge Dictionary

Which doesn’t really help…

I recently read The 12 Week Year, which includes a chapter on accountability.

According to Moran and Lennington, we associate accountability with negative consequences, typically because we often hear about it in the context of athletes being held accountable for “bad” behaviour and subjected to fines and suspensions.

But in their opinion, accountability is taking ownership.

Which is something we can all do.

Once upon a time I worked in a bank, and I took a call from a woman who was trying to solve a problem. She had spoken to FIFTEEN different people with no success (she gave me all their names). She was half hysterical with frustration, annoyance and despair.

Her problem did not fall within the remit of my job, but I felt sorry for her and decided to solve it for her. So I got her phone number and promised I would call her every day until the situation was resolved. And I did, every day for two and a half weeks.

Because I chose to take accountability for it.

Though I’m not exactly sure that answers the Cambridge definition.


something that it is your job or duty to deal with

Cambridge Dictionary

And you know what, this is more like it. Your job, or your duty.

Just to be clear, what’s duty?

something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do

Cambridge Dictionary

Circling Back to Adulting

So being an adult is kind of the job of an adult. And by the sound of it, Katy felt it was the right thing to do too.

So, what does an adult do?

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (New King James Bible)

Clearly some childish things get put away as we get jobs, mortgages, and kids.

But I reckon the hard part about being an adult, is not doing the paying the bills or cooking good food.

I think it’s not letting go of the child you used to be.

To be able to pull her out of your psyche to enjoy the stars at night, the local wildlife and finding the perfect spider web suspended from your washing line.

Perhaps the secret is choosing when to be an adult and when to be a child.

Knowing what’s coming up that needs to be taken care of. And by when.

Like paying the electricity bill before it gets cut off, or washing your underpants before you have to turn them inside out and back to front.

If you need some help adulting (fitting it all in) check out my book!

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