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Defining Of What Adulthood Really Is

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When some people think of “adulthood,” they think about somebody independent. They have their own car, they’ve moved out of their parents’ house, and they have a job with a steady income. Then, there are some people who think that you are an adult the moment you reach your eighteenth birthday – the people who think this tend to be the ones who are either under the age of eighteen or have just celebrated that magic, life changing birthday. I am here to tell you that there is no magic birthday, and independence does not equal adulthood.

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Adulthood has more to do with responsibility and maturity than anything else. I have known children who are more capable of rational thoughts and decisions than many “adults” I know. One example being my uncle. He is forty-seven years old, has a steady income, and lives on his own. He is, by definition of the word, independent, and yet I would not consider him to be an adult. He has the maturity you would expect to find in someone one-third his age and is known to never take responsibility for the things he has done in his life. He is a divorced father of two girls from different mothers, and still goes out and gets drunk every weekend instead of being a father to his children. He is, however, very good at playing the role of fun uncle which takes decidedly less maturity.

Further, while there are certainly eighteen-year old’s who could rightly be considered adults, many are still years away from true adulthood and many more may never get there. In the words of one Mr. Thomas Szasz, “A child becomes an adult when he realizes that he has a right not only to be right, but also to be wrong. ” In other words, you cannot become an adult until you realize that it is okay to be wrong. Recognizing this enables you to take responsibility for yourself, and for those wrongdoings. The people who never come to this realization, who never obtain the maturity needed to admit when they are wrong, are the ones who never really become adults. They go through life with the maturity of an eight-year-old who won’t admit to breaking a lamp.

Another important realization you need to come to in order to achieve adulthood, is that you alone are in charge of your life. As said by Roy T. Bennet, “When you stop complaining and making excuses, you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choices you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life. ” Each of us makes choices every day, from small things like what shirt to wear or what drink to have with lunch, to things that could truly change your life – like making the choice to go to college and get an education, or maybe to quit that job you hate. While it is impossible to know how some choices may affect you in the long run, a part of being an adult is having the ability to weigh the pros and cons, make sometimes difficult decisions, and take responsibility for what those decisions may bring – good or bad.

All in all, being an adult is not something that happens when you reach a certain age, or when you decide to move out on your own, although it is true that that may help move you in the right direction. It happens when you decide to truly take responsibility for yourself, and occasionally for those around you. It happens when you stop making excuses for yourself and take charge of your life instead of sitting on the sidelines and letting others choose your path for you. Basically, all that’s required to be an adult is the maturity and good sense to stop acting like a spoiled toddler.

31 October 2020

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