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?