am I an adult yet?

I just – finally – moved into the new apartment. It’s been weird and awesome and weird. I know it will be a while before this feels like home, but right now I’m wondering if it ever will. And all this moving out and junk has brought up the question; am I an adult now?

This question has been plaguing me for years. Well, a few years. I’m early twenties. I can drink, smoke, join the army, whatever. I can get a house, get married, hold a job, move to Antarctica, join a rally, write a book, become a nun, or learn kung fu. I can do anything. So, does that make me an adult? Is it an age thing? A character thing? A status thing? An accomplishment thing?

Is it having a mortgage on a nice house? Being married with kids? Having a nine-to-five? Having health insurance and a 401k? Having a degree? Not living with your parents?

What makes an adult, an adult? From when I was 18 until about now, I’ve had different feelings. When I worked retail and was an assistant manager, I felt like an adult in my job. I was in charge most of the time, with people younger than me taking my orders. But I still felt like a kid at school, where all my professors were older and wiser, and at home, where my parents were still in charge and knew a heck of a lot more about things like finances and life-living than I did.

When I moved to Taiwan, I was on my own and independent. I definitely felt like an adult when I compared myself to my team-mates, also adults, and our students. My position was clear. But not so much when it came to my co-workers, the Taiwanese teachers. Most of them were older than me, and since we were noob foreigners living in their country, they had the upper-hand the majority of the time, and had to help us with rudimentary things like banking and transportation. The status was less clear in that respect.

Maybe it all depends on relationship. I will never feel older and wiser than my parents, because I never will be; and I look at other people my age and some things I do and still feel a bit fledgling. Is there an objective moment when someone becomes an adult, and if so, have I reached it? I just moved out, I’ll be going to school, making my own decisions – in my opinion, I should be an adult. Does the world think so?


3 thoughts on “am I an adult yet?

  1. Great question. I just turned 40 this year (egats!) and I must say LIFE con’t to surprise and challenge me to be the bigger person, the better person, the best person.

    I think we meet children who act like ‘little adults’ and folks who are more mature than their years, and vice versa. I think adulthood, like womanhood, is something felt internally, rather than externally.

    Asking that question is a very adult thing to do :P because it shows self-reflection. I think if you can con’t to do that throughout life, then that is a good quality indeed and shows maturity. Now have cookies for dinner and enjoy your new found life!

    • Ha! Cookies for dinner indeed. That’s the main problem, since being an adult means acting like one, and I’m not totally sure I WANT to do that. :P

      But I agree with you about it being an internal thing. I think once you can be expected to be responsible for yourself, your actions, and then face the consequences, good and bad, of your choices, then you have reached maturity. But it doesn’t stop there of course.

      It’s funny to think, too, of all the adults who praise being a child – having that innocence, that creativity – and how often they try to become fun and youthful when age stretches.

  2. RookieNotes says:

    being an adult depends on the context and culture you find yourself in. Our definition of adulthood shifts with each generation.

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