Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Am I an adult yet?

Over at Forever in Hell, Personal Failure has asked if anyone out there feels like an adult, or if we're all pretty much faking it.

I'm... ambivalent.

I mean, I have a job, and I've managed to remain employed at the same place for ten years now, so in that sense I think I'm an adult. I'm married (arguably re-married), and we mostly don't get into fights over stupid stuff...

Well, okay, there was that one argument in Target, with "They're golden dreams" on her side, and "Red, Gold, and Green" on my side - she insisted that the lyrics made more sense in her version, but I stayed firm on the point that nevertheless those weren't the words that Boy George had actually written.

But, really, aside from that one incident, we don't fight much and we work together very well; that feels like being an adult.

And then there's being a parent. My parents didn't raise children, exactly. It was more like they raised future adults, and I'm trying to do the same thing with my kids. And that means taking their thoughts, questions, and concerns seriously; it means expecting them to act responsibly, and (within reason) trusting them to make their own decisions.

On the other hand, I'm thrilled to have kids because now I don't look so weird when I buy toys, or watch superhero movies, or play video games. I still write stories about unlikely heroes who discover powerful magic swords and go off to save the world. I was completely undone - like, reduced to helpless sobbing - by the ending of Astro Boy. I remain grievously disappointed that my mutant power still hasn't manifested (at age 38 - clearly I'm just a late bloomer).

So I don't know. I don't think being an adult means what I used to think it meant. It doesn't mean knowing what you're doing all the time. I don't think it means being serious and sober all the time. I don't think it even means being responsible, beyond whatever is strictly necessary. On the other hand, I think it does mean having a good, working idea of what is strictly necessary. I think it means understanding what's important, and worth fighting for/over; and learning to ignore or not worry too much about the things that aren't important or that you can't help/do/fix. I think it means learning that you aren't the only important person in the world.


  1. I never really thought about what being an adult would feel like. I'm fairly certain my parents were much like yours in that they were raising future adults. So I never really thought that some milestone would make me an adult. Though sometimes I do wonder why mentally I don't ever really feel any older. I see people who were ten when I was fifteen and think to myself, "They can't really be thirty-something, I'm only...oh". But then I never really felt like a kid. I always kind of had this nurturing trait that wanted to take care of all the others.

    Then there are days when I do something like jump on a trampoline with my 3 year old nephew(and am reminded the next day that I am indeed an adult), or play hide and seek, or get super excited about looking at Christmas lights and those feel like child-like moments.

    Are we faking it just because we don't always feel like a grown-up or are we just living out aspects of our personalities? I think if anyone wants to fool themselves into thinking they've "arrived" then, yes, I'd call that faking it. Otherwise I think we're just being human.

  2. Manchild and not particularly ashamed of it.

  3. That seems to be the general consensus: maturity is overrated.


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