visionary loser

an alternative to ennui

Monthly Archives: October 2014

What is Adult?

In loose terms, the law states that a person ceases to be a child around the age of 18. Legally, said individual is recognized as an adult.

A friend and I had an argument today over “what is Adult?”. This discussion took a nasty turn; what with his hands shaking and my ears turning bright red – but that’s besides the point.

The term adult is unpalatable. I can roll it around in my mouth: ay-dull-t, and it still seems meaningless. Even eighteen doesn’t make sense. Eight-TEEN. Teen – teenager. Nineteen. TEEN. The teen persists for another two years. Twenty – now that’s an adult number. But really, does a number dictate maturity? In my opinion, being an adult is being mature. But, what is maturity? And how can you measure it? I think it’s fair to say that people vary in maturity levels, but what about adultness? Can we calculate how adult person X is next to person Y? I don’t think so. Eventually people start using the term to refer to others and even themselves.

Because I said so. Because I’m the adult. Being an adult entails accepting responsibility for your decisions and actions. Like a title, it grants you certain benefits and burdens. “Well, I can’t behave that way anymore; I’m an adult”. “I can watch that R-rated movie because I’m an adult”. “I can choose to marry whoever I want – I’m an adult”. There are a plethora of adult criterion, yet no passable definitions. And why do we feel the need to call a decade of individuals ‘young adults’ and all those older than 30 ‘adults’. It is all very confusing and maybe – because I am not really an adult – I can’t know.