Youth is at such a premium. There are articles and posts everywhere about staying young, looking young, being young, being a child. I’m still a kid, people say. “I hate adulting” or “help, I can’t adult” or “me and my partner trying to adult”. I actually don’t get it. Since when was adult a verb? Adult is a stage of life we reach without realising; like adolescence, like childhood, like existence itself.
What’s wrong with wanting to grow? I look at the posts I’ve been writing recently, and the decisions I’ve been making. The timetable I keep. Progress occurs, day by small day, and when I see these tiny steps towards growth I feel proud. I WANT to mature, I want to be adult, I want to tackle this stage of life like I have all of the others, except with more fervour and experience and success. I can imagine nothing worse than being the same person I was when I was 8.
Some aspects remain, of course they do. Your inner child never strays too far: we may keep the same tastes in food, enjoy the same genre of fiction, laugh at the same jokes. But that’s not failing to adult, that’s constructing an identity. None of us can escape the fact that are brains are most absorbent during the ages of 5 and 11; for my part I know all the names of the first 151 Pokemon and but have already forgotten the title of my dissertation.
These are not signifiers of my failure to grow, or my naivety as a person. Remembering these things does not mean I need to sit around going “I’M SUCH A CHILD WAH”. It’s just a part of my personality and the person I’ve become. It’s still seen as taboo to adult, but I want to welcome with open arms a time of my life where I have agency and composure; dreams, and plans.
I feel grateful. “Adulting” is such a ridiculous concept. What do people mean when they say the cannot “adult”? They can’t be responsible? They can’t plan holidays? They can’t keep to schedules? They can’t succeed? Yes, I still hate making the bed, forget to make dentists appointments and am guilty of buying more chocolate milk than is necessary in a weekly shop. But that doesn’t mean I am not an adult. Sure, my parents refer to me and their friends’ children as “the kids”, despite the fact the youngest of us is 25. I suspect we will still be “the kids” to our parents even when we have actual kids of our own. But we are adults. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to learn, but I’m proud to be a member of society: a person with a place to be; something to offer; responsibilities; roles.
These are very uncertain times in which to be maturing and become an adult. There are no jobs, and so we make our own. My generation are largely leaderless. Our parents don’t get it, and they don’t know how to advise us. Actually, a lot of current youth society seems to confuse the older generations. This is nothing new: ever since youth culture was invented it has opposed the previous generations ideas.
So we wind up having to educate our parents to varying degrees of success. Maybe this is why we’re so afraid of adulting; we’re still finding our feet in this scary, uncertain world and yet we’re also having to distill it to other so-called “experienced” adults. God knows I’ve had more than one conversation with my Dad about protein sources when really he could (should?) have been advising me on how to fill in a tax return. That’s how it is for our generation, and for all generations before and after us. We have yet to fail our children; instead we analyse the flaws of our parents.
But what’s the alternative to adulting? NOT adulting? Stagnating? Dying? Nah, you’re alright.