With my 21st birthday coming up in just a few months, I’ve started thinking about what it means to be an adult. My whole life, I had thought that once I turned 21, I would spontaneously become a fully functioning independent adult member of society. However, with just two months to go, I don’t really feel that much different. Of course, it wasn’t like on my 21st birthday, the magical adult fairy (don’t google that kids) would come and transform me from a clumsy confused adolescent into a full grown man. Yet in my head™ I’d always pictured myself having everything figured out and finally not feeling like a kid anymore. Maybe that was a bit naive and to be honest, placing such a huge milestone on just a single day is a very silly thing to do. But that still doesn’t change the fact that in two months I will be 21 years old and be considered a fully grown adult, even if I don’t feel like one. That is why today I wanna talk a little bit about what being an adult really means now that I am one.
One day, when I have a family and I’m super old, like 35, I will become what I’d always pictured in my head that an adult would be, but for now being and adult is mostly just knowing enough about the world to be able to live in it on your own. That doesn’t mean you’re comfortable with it or that you know what you’re doing, just that you know enough at this point about how things work to be able to survive by yourself. Because when you’re a child, the whole world is so complicated and scary and without your parents, or another adult, you’d pretty much die. But as you grow older, you start to understand the way the world works around you. For the most part, it’s money. And then you get your first job as a teenager and you lose that dependence you had on your parents. You think, “I have a job, I’m basically an adult. I can drive, I have money. I don’t need to listen to what other adults say. Why do they get to make all the rules? I can make rules. New Rule: speed limits are just ‘guidelines’. I think I know what speed I can be driving at. 40 mph zone? More like 80 mph zone!” And some of that is true. As a young adult you do have money and freedom, but I don’t think you understand as well the consequences of your actions until you fuck something up and everything comes crashing down. For me that would be my, surprise surprise, speeding tickets which taught me a valuable lesson: there’s always a cop car hiding on Hawthorne Pkwy. No but really, it wasn’t until I had actually faced the consequences of my actions that I realized how bad they were. At one point I could have destroyed my entire town, but that’s a story for another day.
Even almost being 21, I still wouldn’t say that I completely understand how everything works, and quite honestly, I don’t think anyone ever really does, but I think it’s more about being mature enough to deal with adult problems that actually makes you an adult. In high school, the biggest problems I had were almost entirely family or school related. But now, I have to think about my future career and being able to support myself. Don’t get me wrong, the school and family problems are still there, it’s just now there’s even more stuff that gets added on. And as I grow older, I’ll never really solve any of it. More and more things will just keep getting added onto my plate. So I think that being an adult is just having the maturity to not quit and just having the ability to manage all these things at once. I still feel the same way as I did when I was a teenager, but I just have a larger responsibility. So I think it’s okay if I don’t immediately have everything figured out even when I turn 21. I will probably continue to learn from my many, many mistakes for quite some time into the future, but I think overcoming those mistakes and being able to forge your own path because of them is the true meaning of being an adult.
And that’s what’s in my head, thanks for reading! 😀