What Makes You An Adult?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Chronological age no longer serves as a sign of adulthood, if it ever did. So what separates adults from children? What is the "no coming back now"/"it's all downhill from here" event that ends our individual innocence and inaugurates our inevitable, slow stumble to the grave?

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Other 21
Having a kid 14
Death of a parent 9
Diagnosed with a chronic illness 3
Taking on a mortgage 3
Undergoing major surgery 1
Getting married 1
Getting divorced 1


but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:36 (two weeks ago) link

Has to be "other" cuz I'm 42 and there's a chance I'll make it to 55 without any of these happening

lukas, Friday, 11 September 2020 19:39 (two weeks ago) link

at (almost) 34 I have had none of these experiences and am definitely not an adult, list checks out

unpaid intern at the darvo institute (Simon H.), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:39 (two weeks ago) link

Oh, I was going to answer for me personally, which would be "chronic illness", but that (and surgery and death of a parent) can happen to much younger people too. Out of marriage/kid/mortgage, I'd go for having a kid, you pretty definitely have to grow up then.

emil.y, Friday, 11 September 2020 19:42 (two weeks ago) link

There are multiple possible answers for me. I got married at 21 (am still married) but was definitely not an adult then. My dad died when I was 33 or so, and I was diagnosed with diabetes about a year later. I felt like more of an adult by then.

but also fuck you (unperson), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:44 (two weeks ago) link

To be honest, I am still a petulant child in my mind, but my body has definitely started telling me otherwise.

xpost to self

emil.y, Friday, 11 September 2020 19:44 (two weeks ago) link

The only things that really define adulthood for me are acceptance of responsibility for your own life and having control over your own life. Some people don't really become full "adults" just because they have kids, get married, or take on a mortgage, and some live as full adults without doing any of these things.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:45 (two weeks ago) link

Only one of those (death of a parent) applies to me and I'm not sure adulthood applies to me in more than the most technical sense. I guess I manage to sit here for eight hours a day doing actual work while surrounded by non-adult ephemera that I'd much rather be enjoying for eight hours at a stretch. That feels kind of adult-ish.

Don't be such an idot. (Old Lunch), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:54 (two weeks ago) link

Accepting the necessity and goodness of permanent American empire.

Donald Trump Also Sucks, Of Course (milo z), Friday, 11 September 2020 19:57 (two weeks ago) link

death of a parent or child always struck me as the gold standard so that's my vote

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 11 September 2020 20:23 (two weeks ago) link

my sense of adulthood is internal and not defined by any external events but definitely influenced by them.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Friday, 11 September 2020 20:27 (two weeks ago) link

lol xxpost goddammit

Don't be such an idot. (Old Lunch), Friday, 11 September 2020 20:30 (two weeks ago) link

full-time job or some equivalent responsibility would be the closest single thing

ciderpress, Friday, 11 September 2020 20:59 (two weeks ago) link

i think this is ultimately an interesting question but the poll options aren't interesting at all (sorry lol). no dis on you ciderpress but imagining that the answer to achieving adulthood is a full-time job or equivalent is very depressing imo. i mean i guess i'm assuming that "being an adult" is ultimately a desirable thing defined somewhat as achieving a full measure of responsibility, independence, and .. awareness? enlightenment? like you're a plant and you've reached your flowering stage and next up is autumn and winter. from my perspective something like "finding a way to make necessary ft work not take the bloom off your adulthood" would be a more desirable way to frame it. but then maybe i don't prioritze 'responsibility' as much as other people, or i prioritize a different kind of 'responsibility.'

anyway, i've been reading jacques derrida's the gift of death and feel like maybe the real answer to this question is .. accepting your inevitable death as a gift that no one else can take from you and using that perspective to 'be' more fully. in some ways my answer to this question would be 'learning to be fully alive and present,' which there is strong evidence that a lot of people never achieve this hence they never become adults.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:18 (two weeks ago) link

All of the options can cause distressed dumps, so that.

Evan, Friday, 11 September 2020 21:19 (two weeks ago) link

other: dressing for the weather, cash in wallet, functional umbrella

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:21 (two weeks ago) link

i guess i'm assuming that "being an adult" is ultimately a desirable thing

Yeah, this is an assumption I don't necessarily share. My own hang-ups and the youth obsession of vast swathes of culture means that "being an adult" is kind of a shitty boring undesirable thing in my eyes. Your way of looking at it is definitely much better than mine, it's just something I find hard to internalise.

emil.y, Friday, 11 September 2020 21:22 (two weeks ago) link

I think it's either having a kid or a parent dying. I'll be 40 next month and hope neither is in my near future. I've only got #1 and #3 under my belt and I still don't feel very adult, so it's not one of those.

Evans on Hammond (evol j), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:23 (two weeks ago) link

yeah i mean i was thinking along the lines of responsibility and independence and what the initiating point of that is for most folks. but i guess i wasn't particularly responsible during my first couple jobs as an "adult" so that can't be it

ciderpress, Friday, 11 September 2020 21:26 (two weeks ago) link

the day I started drinking diet soda

Neanderthal, Friday, 11 September 2020 21:28 (two weeks ago) link

as far as physical signs go maybe one is "being a lot more careful with one's teeth"

xp to ciderpress that makes sense

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:29 (two weeks ago) link

Why is "your own death" not an option here

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:31 (two weeks ago) link

"first appointment with a proctologist"

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 11 September 2020 21:41 (two weeks ago) link

These are all events that tend to force a person in the direction of becoming more adult, but what makes you an adult is accepting responsibility for your life, your actions, and their consequences, and knowing something of your own limits because they have been tested against real difficulties. There are some thirteen year olds who are more adult than some sixty year olds.

But, of the choices offered, I'd identify having a child as the most powerful of the listed events at forcing you to accept adult responsibility and learning your limits.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Friday, 11 September 2020 22:12 (two weeks ago) link

I'm not so sure about that

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 11 September 2020 22:57 (two weeks ago) link

Like, there are so many people with kids who act like they're 18

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 11 September 2020 22:58 (two weeks ago) link

I also fully admit to resenting/finding personally offensive the idea that making a bad decision leads one to being more of an adult.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 11 September 2020 22:59 (two weeks ago) link

I think losing a parent. Lucky enough to have both mine and both in good health, but earlier this year my sister told me they made a will and it was sobering as fuck.

scampo italiano (gyac), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:00 (two weeks ago) link

Supporting yourself financially

Doing your own taxes

Renewing your car registration (if applicable)

Doing your own laundry

Living apart from your parents

Paying your own utility bills

Your phone is in your name

You don't call your parents about a leaking water heater

You don't call your parents about a car that needs an oil change

You don't call your parents about how to cook and/or carve a turkey

You don't call your parents about an overflowing toilet

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:03 (two weeks ago) link

I had a housemate once who had moved from the other side of the world, he lived with his girlfriend and when she left him we discovered that at the age of 30 he had never cooked, cleaned or done his own laundry before, his first go on the washing machine was like something from a sitcom, he was a confident man but just unable to take care of himself.

这是我的显示名称 (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:06 (two weeks ago) link

Surprised at the number of people saying "losing a parent". I know I can't really use my own experience as my parent death was a horrible estranged parent and so didn't affect my life much aside from a bit of "ha, you deserved it you fucker" bitterness, but lots of kids lose a parent and they're still very much kids. I do recognise what people are saying a bit as my mum and step-dad age (particularly the latter, who is over a decade older than my mum and increasingly fragile), there is a sense of having to grow up and face an inevitable future, but I still don't see it as a universally "adult-making" experience.

emil.y, Friday, 11 September 2020 23:07 (two weeks ago) link

I have known two guys who have lost both parents as teenagers and come into a bit too much money too early, and neither of them handled it in a particularly responsible way, one of them got into heroin and I'm surprised he's still around tbh

这是我的显示名称 (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:11 (two weeks ago) link

75% of my parents are alive but they don't fold my underwear. And if I get into a financial or logistical problem I don't ask them to bail me out. That, to me, is a definitional part of adulting.

My brother-in-law was a slacker who totally failed to launch - like, three or four half-started attempts at higher education and about the same number of abandoned potential careers. At age 30something he still lived in his parents' basement and his mom still folded his underpants. That's not adulting.

I hasten to note that I pretty much suck at being an adult, but I am firmly committed to making my own mistakes and owning the consequences.

(FWIW I am 49 with a mortgage and children and a good marriage and a good job. There are still lots of days when I want to hide under the blankets and Not Deal. Yet I persevere.)

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:12 (two weeks ago) link

wearing a fucking mask

brimstead, Friday, 11 September 2020 23:12 (two weeks ago) link

xp my own mother lost her mother at a young age and never got over it, so this was a very formative belief all my life, I have done a lot of things on the poll and, like you, still don’t feel ‘old’ (although I am!)

scampo italiano (gyac), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:13 (two weeks ago) link

I've a mortgage, a bout with cancer, and a husband. I also am wearing a sleeveless shirt that says 'Jet Fuel Can't Melt These Steel Beams' with arrows pointing to my not too impressive biceps.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:16 (two weeks ago) link

As in, while I agree with Aimless in many ways, I also continue to be a stoned dreamer who hates working and would rather sit around taking bong-rips, reading, and listening to free jazz all day

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:17 (two weeks ago) link

about two years ago, i had my next door neighbor knock on my door at two in the morning because the fire alarm in his apartment wouldn't shut off. not because he needed a ladder to reach it. because he genuinely didn't know how to handle the situation. i went into his apartment, climbed his ladder and removed the battery. then he asked if it was okay to leave it down with no battery in it. This was an elementary school teacher! and he came to me about this! because i guess i'm an adult or i play one on tv.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 11 September 2020 23:31 (two weeks ago) link

I hear stories like this sometimes and I just have no comprehension of what that must be like.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:03 (two weeks ago) link

a stoned dreamer who hates working and would rather sit around taking bong-rips, reading, and listening to free jazz all day

And you think most adults love to work? Or that they find paying bills, getting dental cleanings and going to bed early enough to get some sleep before the alarm goes off to be preferable to bong-rips, reading, and listening to free jazz?

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:04 (two weeks ago) link

those things aren't either/or. you can do bong rips, read and listen to free jazz, hate work, and still pay bills, get dental cleanings and go to bed early enough to get some sleep before the alarm goes off.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:10 (two weeks ago) link

Diagnosed with a chronic illness
Undergoing major surgery

these happened to me when I was a minor

Getting married
Getting divorced
Having a kid
Taking on a mortgage
Death of a parent

still haven't happened yet. (i was once engaged but it was called off)

my answer is "Other"

trapped out the barndo (crüt), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:11 (two weeks ago) link

you can do bong rips, read and listen to free jazz, hate work, and still pay bills, get dental cleanings and go to bed early enough to get some sleep before the alarm goes off.

wow thank u for affirming me

trapped out the barndo (crüt), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:12 (two weeks ago) link

I didn't say that Aimless, and tbh, I've worked a lot of different jobs to survive. Don't know where the hostility is coming from.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:16 (two weeks ago) link

Also map otm. Like I don't make much money, would stand to make more and am moving in that direction, but I definitely am a responsible adult who has spreadsheets of household spending that are meticulous for the past five years.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:18 (two weeks ago) link

Like being a crazed weirdo and taking care of one's responsibilities are definitely not mutually exclusive, never meant it to be read as binaristic

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:20 (two weeks ago) link

I will happily admit that gallons of gin and bushels of weed and loads of jazz-listening are involved in my coping strategies for adulthood.

Personally I don't love working but I accept it as the price of my freedom to do bong hits while my children live in a stable home and enjoy plentiful food and clothing

velcro-magnon (Ye Mad Puffin), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:23 (two weeks ago) link

knowing that none of these options is necessarily the answer

maf you one two (maffew12), Saturday, 12 September 2020 00:24 (two weeks ago) link

Other - posting on the internet

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 12 September 2020 12:31 (two weeks ago) link

yeah I voted having children but mainly because "realising I put their welfare at the top of the list in decisions" is what I think of here, where you could replace "their welfare" with "the welfare of a few particular humans", because it could be that you take welfare responsibility for e.g. a parent in a way that your own personal welfare is no longer your chief priority. I say "a few particular humans" because I don't think being involved in charitable work is necessarily enough, unless that work involves a close personal relationship with some of the people you're working with & you subvert your own ends for their ends.

I would add losing one's religion to the list, even if that's not an option I would vote for.

Joey Corona (Euler), Saturday, 12 September 2020 12:48 (two weeks ago) link

cmd-f "sex"
0 results
wtf

It might be a stupid answer, but my first thought was "first key sexual experience." If it's a good one, it's an introduction to one's adult body; if it's a bad one, especially a coerced or nonconsensual one, it's an introduction to the miseries and cruelty of adulthood.

I can hear the scampi beating as one (WmC), Saturday, 12 September 2020 18:20 (two weeks ago) link

I've been paying my own way since I was roughly 20, have stuck it out almost 16 years at my current company, have good savings, am fairly independent, and have been helping take care of my parents. most days I still feel like a 12 year old inside - not in a good way, but mostly in a 'timidity' sort of way.

Neanderthal, Saturday, 12 September 2020 18:22 (two weeks ago) link

i don't mean to put down other people's experiences of sacrifice of self in raising children but i think that's a really limited and frankly sad vision of adulthood especially when so many admirable adults choose not to have children and also when the world is on track to warm 3c by 2050. tests of sacrifice for and devotion to others is an important part of being a well-rounded and not-miserable adult imo but i wish it wasn't so often in the name of blood family or like nation/the patriarchy or whatever.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Saturday, 12 September 2020 18:30 (two weeks ago) link

hell people do the same thing for their cats / dogs as milo mentioned. i wish people were a little more abstract / general about what these experiences mean when they talk about them especially when traditional modes of access to these experiences are frankly becoming toxic and also leave a lot of people out of the discussion.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Saturday, 12 September 2020 18:37 (two weeks ago) link

as many people have pointed out, having children, like having sex, doesn't necessarily make one an adult. the same applies to working a job, getting married/divorced, or losing a parent. one can still be very childish in the wake of any of the events listed in the poll. it has more to do with evolving an emotional maturity, as opposed to mere grimness or resignation. adulthood has its joys, too.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Saturday, 12 September 2020 18:51 (two weeks ago) link

Nothing. There is no such thing as adulthood.

pomenitul, Saturday, 12 September 2020 19:19 (two weeks ago) link

i might argue the opposite: there's no such thing as childhood!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 12 September 2020 19:41 (two weeks ago) link

If this question has an answer it might be recognising that you're both wright/rong

how do i shot moon? (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 12 September 2020 20:05 (two weeks ago) link

my chainsmoking Kerry grandma once told me when I was 14: just cos I'm a ugly old relic it doesn't mean I see life any differently to you young lad. Now I'm an ugly ageing relic I know exactly what she meant!

calzino, Saturday, 12 September 2020 20:13 (two weeks ago) link

anyway, i've been reading jacques derrida's the gift of death and feel like maybe the real answer to this question is .. accepting your inevitable death as a gift that no one else can take from you and using that perspective to 'be' more fully. in some ways my answer to this question would be 'learning to be fully alive and present,' which there is strong evidence that a lot of people never achieve this hence they never become adults.

otm I'm still back there marveling at this.

There's more Italy than necessary. (in orbit), Saturday, 12 September 2020 20:40 (two weeks ago) link

otm2

methinks dababy doth bop shit too much (m bison), Saturday, 12 September 2020 20:50 (two weeks ago) link

Does Derrida discuss Heidegger in that piece? Now I want to read it.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Saturday, 12 September 2020 21:35 (two weeks ago) link

remy’s post yesterday evening is my favorite so far, I think

sound of scampo talk to me (El Tomboto), Saturday, 12 September 2020 21:39 (two weeks ago) link

The Gift of Death is a really good and p accessible Derrida. There's definitely some Heidegger in there but I can't remember much detail.

emil.y, Saturday, 12 September 2020 21:40 (two weeks ago) link

i would also recommend shrooms

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 12 September 2020 23:39 (two weeks ago) link

the first half at least is an explication of an essay by jan patocka. there's quite a bit of heidegger. some levinas. there's also reference to western christianity in somewhat positive terms. so if any of that puts you off i would proceed with caution. it's a bit of a religious/mystical text but it's also derrida so it really gets into the nitty gritty of phenomenological concepts and language. i was skeptical at first but now i'm enjoying it.

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Saturday, 12 September 2020 23:44 (two weeks ago) link

so you agree with me

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Saturday, 12 September 2020 23:49 (two weeks ago) link

shrooms = phenomenology so yes

Give me a Chad Smith-type feel (map), Saturday, 12 September 2020 23:53 (two weeks ago) link

I second all the love for The Gift of Death. As an aside, Donner la mort, the less passive original French title, is a banal euphemistic expression which means 'to kill', so it's a poisoned gift in more ways than one (this reminds me that a 'Gift' is literally 'poison' in German). For the morbidly inclined among us, I also recommend Derrida's even more accessible seminars on the death penalty (2 vols., 1999-2001) and there's also an earlier seminar, La vie la mort (1975-1976) that was edited last year in French and whose English translation was published a couple of months ago, but I haven't read it yet.

pomenitul, Saturday, 12 September 2020 23:55 (two weeks ago) link

Chronological age. Pretending otherwise provides manchildren with yet more excuses to act as if they are forever 14.

Sassy Boutonnière (ledriver), Sunday, 13 September 2020 00:30 (one week ago) link

Will get a copy. Derrida a large void in my reading, for the most part.

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Sunday, 13 September 2020 01:36 (one week ago) link

I’m half-trolling of course but really getting (rather than merely reading) Derrida also makes you an adult.

pomenitul, Sunday, 13 September 2020 01:41 (one week ago) link

tryin to catch you riding derrida

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Sunday, 13 September 2020 01:43 (one week ago) link

We already call manchildren "adults" because they have attained the legal age of majority. I haven't noticed this nomenclature having any effect when it comes to their self-excusing their own childish or irresponsible behavior.

nb: in my view, the act of making excuses for oneself should be viewed as grounds for immediate exclusion from adulthood. We can explain our motives, but only those you let down can excuse us. Grasping this distinction is a key adult concept.

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Sunday, 13 September 2020 01:50 (one week ago) link

in my view, the act of making excuses for oneself should be viewed as grounds for immediate exclusion from adulthood

Indeed. As should use of the verbal abomination that is 'adulting'.

pomenitul, Sunday, 13 September 2020 01:56 (one week ago) link

When I was a young man, age of sixteen or thereabouts, I had a very memorable conversation with my father, who was a very tough and strong man, a Vietnam veteran, a small business owner, a devout Republican and Christian, loyal father and husband, a man of many responsibilities. He took me out hunting one weekend, showed me how to use his Guns, how to clean them, how to care for them and store them safely. He had me drink my first beer and smoke my first cigarette, under his watchful fatherly supervision, the way God intended. He shared these adult pleasures with me, as we gazed upon the landscape and bonded over a mostly unspoken ritual, as using as few words as possible was known intrinsically among our bloodline to be a manly, adult trait, and it was hammered into the minds of our clan's foolish, childlike children as early as possible.

After shooting the wildlife with our bullet guns and while processing the game meat with our knives, my father took a sip from his Beer and told me something about becoming a man that I will never forget. And that is thus. He said to me, "son, there are many animals to kill in this world, and I wish for you to kill a great many of them. But there are only two true ways to truly become an Adult Man: either to have sexual intercourse with a woman by inserting your penis into her vagina, or kill me, your adult father."

I said to him, "father, I am not yet prepared to kill you, and I am too intimidated by the females among the church youth group to penetrate them with my erect penis. I do not know which to do!" And upon saying this, as he finished removing the innards from the dead animal splayed upon the rock at which we stood, flinging them into a nearby bush, he said to me, "well, is it your wish to become a Man? A true Adult?" I replied, "yes father, I do indeed want very much for this."

the burrito that defined a generation, Sunday, 13 September 2020 02:17 (one week ago) link

and the agent said "what do you call your act?"

Neanderthal, Sunday, 13 September 2020 03:05 (one week ago) link

"Big Jim Swells and the Socks."

the unappreciated charisma of cows (Aimless), Sunday, 13 September 2020 03:30 (one week ago) link

My answer is "other", but this comes from a position of what I observe as happening, rather than an ideal position of "what should happen". I don't advocate what I'm about to say.

I think, in capitalist societies, the passage to adulthood is mostly marked by Taking On Debt.

I think it's an accident that most of the 'markers of adulthood' in this list involve debt of some kind:
-living independently of one's parents means taking on debt in the form of a mortgage or a lease
-having a child in the US involves contracting insurance or taking on medical debt
-ditto US experiences of chronic illness and surgery

I think there's another big marker of the passage to adulthood (at least for people of some economic classes) which is attaining some level of tertiary education - in the US and the UK, going to university usually involves taking on a substantial amount of debt.

People often struggle to document their legal and political existence without a credit record or credit report - major forms of ID and proof of address are... credit cards and bills. To exist as a recognised adult in society means proving your connection to a form of financial obligation.

The more money one has, the longer one can put off adulthood, in the form of taking responsibility for one's actions. That's the mark of adulthood - learning to take responsibility for one's actions, and one's future obligations. The most common way of doing so, in capitalist societies, is taking on financial debt, because money has such primacy and importance.

Again, I'm not saying this is how it *should* be. It actually strikes me as deeply philosophically flawed, and inherently unjust. But as far as I can see, taking on debt is how our societies seem to mark 'this person is an adult now'.

Specific and Limited Interests (Branwell with an N), Sunday, 13 September 2020 08:23 (one week ago) link

For me adulthood has been characterised by the constant sense that no matter what I'm doing there is always something else I could or should be doing

boxedjoy, Sunday, 13 September 2020 08:44 (one week ago) link

The Gift of Death is good not bad Derrida. Geoffrey Bennington's sort of biography 'Interrupting Derrida' is good on this, too. Irvin D. Yalom's 'Staring at the Sun' is a beautiful study of mortality and coming to terms with death (others and one's own).

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Sunday, 13 September 2020 09:52 (one week ago) link

At a less exalted philosophical level, journalist Miranda Sawyer’s “Out of Time: midlife if you’re still young” is quite an interesting read on some of the issues around being an adult.

Luna Schlosser, Sunday, 13 September 2020 10:32 (one week ago) link

* “Out of Time: midlife, if you still think you're young”

Luna Schlosser, Sunday, 13 September 2020 10:33 (one week ago) link

probably most of the ways I feel I'm failing to achieve adulthood relate to financial stability and security, and maybe I'll never resolve that, so instead my answer is - receding gums.

endless back pain

assert (MatthewK), Sunday, 13 September 2020 12:24 (one week ago) link

Hm, who knows. There are plenty of good answers on this thread and I can only speak for myself. Mainstream adulthood in a 2.5 kid/house/car sense, never happened and honestly wasn't likely to be on the cards, I never felt the full motivation that I *must* do that route -- I did almost become a property owner in the early 2000s and that would have been an interesting alternate world, not sure what kind. A continuous learning process is the better way to consider it in my mind, with a little more patience, wisdom, and hopefully kindness as one goes. As it happens I'm six months out from turning 50, my folks are still with me, and there's me and my sis and neither of us have kids so we've almost been this little bubble over half a century, and likely enough when something inevitable happens that'll be a profoundly felt break, but I think of people I know who never really knew one parent or another or have nothing but very hard, awful memories, and will accept simply that I've been very fortunate.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 September 2020 17:31 (one week ago) link

I forgot an option I should have included: having no idea who any of these so-called "celebrities" are.

but also fuck you (unperson), Sunday, 13 September 2020 18:05 (one week ago) link

A continuous learning process is the better way to consider it in my mind, with a little more patience, wisdom, and hopefully kindness as one goes.


Very well put

brimstead, Sunday, 13 September 2020 18:24 (one week ago) link

my answer : other.

despite the fact i was a dad, a husband, a worker bee with financial responsibilities, the time i really felt like i had to grow the fuck up and become an Adult, was when my wife died.
she was 48, i was 44.
i had to make sure that my lads, 16 and 8 at the time, had a stable loving life and so had no other option but to get on with it and cope, as opposed to just collapsing in a heap.

mark e, Sunday, 13 September 2020 18:39 (one week ago) link

Yeah, I've been thinking about this thread quite a bit, and think that the idea of 'being an adult' as a process one is going through continuously is something I can get on board with, though like others, I think that each person begins this process at a different age.

For me, I think I started becoming an adult when I was about ten and my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV ovarian cancer. Then, in rapid succession, my father fell ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome.

Dealing with two very ill and nearly-dying parents at such a young age not only forced me to confront mortality much earlier, but also allowed me to differentiate from my parents and the traditional familial unit much earlier than most people. While this had its obvious and not-so-obvious negative aspects, it also made me value and have faith in my own belief systems, kinship structures, and preferences rather early. I'm grateful, to be honest, though it was immensely difficult at the time.

(I should mention that both of my parents are still around).

healthy cocaine off perfect butts (the table is the table), Sunday, 13 September 2020 19:10 (one week ago) link

Suddenly, we heard a rustling from the nearby bush on which the discarded entrails lay snagged. My father pointed his bullet gun at the bush and pulled me near him. We watched in disbelief as a short, portly, filthy old man with a long white beard and dressed in decaying rags emerged from the base of the bush.

"Who are you! What are you doing here!" my father barked at our campsite intruder with stern, Adult-like gravitas.

The man appeared disoriented, blinking in the sunlight. He had with him only a notebook and a pen.

"Identify yourself, or I shall dispatch you with my bullet gun!" my father commanded.

"Don't shoot," the strange man croaked softly. "I am here to help. I have been crouching in this bush observing people since the 1970s. I understand you are having a very intense coming-of-age ritual, but I have concerns regarding your parenting methods, and I wish to share my opinion with you."

"You have WHAT? You wish to WHAT??" my father cocked his bullet gun and aimed it at the strange man. I tensed up, incredibly frightened, knowing something terrible was about to happen.

"Your way is to control with violence and hate," the man calmly explained. "This is not the way to be a True Adult Man. The way to be a True Adult Man, like me, is to control with intelligence and emotion."

Stunned and caught off guard by the mysterious interloper from the bush, my father stomped and stammered, "who in the hell do you think you are? Give me one reason I shouldn't pump you full of buckshot from my bullet gun, much like how I have dispatched the animal whose corpse lies partially processed here on this rock before me, you fool?"

The man chuckled a wise and insightful chuckle. "Because," he said with a wise and insightful grin, "I am God."

At this moment the man reached up to the top of his forehead, grasped a zipper that had been hidden beneath his receding hairline, and peeled away his human face flesh to reveal a glowing mass of ethereal blue light, much like how Brian Dennehey did in the wonderful 1985 feature film Cocoon.

"Guess you've got a lot to learn about being an Adult, fuckface!" said God as he floated away up into heaven where he lived. My father and I were pretty weirded out, gotta admit. We killed a few more animals that weekend and then drove home, but not really talking about the encounter with God as much as you might think, because we heard on the radio that the Dalles Cowboys had just won their second consecutive Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills that weekend. Emmitt Smith was in his prime, I tell you what.

Anyway, a few years later I told my mom about how my dad tried to get me to either kill him or have sex with a woman to become an Adult. She did not like that, and got pretty upset about it. They eventually got divorced.

the burrito that defined a generation, Sunday, 13 September 2020 19:23 (one week ago) link

taking on debt is how our societies seem to mark 'this person is an adult now'.

this is a really interesting idea! ... like, it also relates to how some of the folks in this thread who aren't "traditionalists" approach life, kinda, or maybe just me? ... like, thinking about the different durations of debt vis a vis responsibility. Also R.I.P. David Graeber, just because y'know, "debt."

There is short-term debt: credit cards being the most common, and residential leases
There is medium-term debt (I'm not using technical terms here, just fyi): student loans are theoretically an example, in that theoretically you are supposed to be able to pay them off in 10 years, I think?
There is long-term debt: mortgages (generally 30-year, though I guess some people do 15 year mortgages, probably less common nowadays)
And there is forever-debt: babbies -- though perhaps this could be long-term -- idk

But as someone that only has short-term debt, I definitely sometimes feel like "less of an adult" than people with mortgages and kids -- long-term debtors. On the other hand, I am pretty secure in my "adulthood" though I don't really see it as being all that aspirational tbh.

sarahell, Sunday, 13 September 2020 19:33 (one week ago) link

n.b. I was raised by parents that at least once every two years gave me a birthday card with some excerpt from "If" by Rudyard Kipling ... so, that aspirational quality of "being a man" (being an adult) was really drilled into me.

sarahell, Sunday, 13 September 2020 19:37 (one week ago) link

nb: in my view, the act of making excuses for oneself should be viewed as grounds for immediate exclusion from adulthood.

There is no exclusion from adulthood. One cannot opt out of adult responsibilities. Adult respect perhaps, but if that's what this thread is about, I have no opinion to share.

Sassy Boutonnière (ledriver), Tuesday, 15 September 2020 02:45 (one week ago) link

those creatures jumped the barricade and headed for the sea

mookieproof, Tuesday, 15 September 2020 02:48 (one week ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 24 September 2020 00:01 (two days ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Friday, 25 September 2020 00:01 (yesterday) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.