I’ve turned thirty recently.
I’m shocked over the fact that thirty years have passed so quickly, and overwhelmed by the expectations of being a grown-up.
Most millennials would relate, I don’t feel like a thirty-year-old, at all. I rather feel like I needed to do something before I hit thirty, and I just skipped it.
Come to think of it, what does being an adult mean?
And like most millennials, I googled it, and it gave me many different definitions.
The most common definition is the combo of joining the workforce, getting married, and having kids. Let me think… I’ve been earning money since I was nineteen, and I got married four years ago. I don’t have any kids yet, but I don’t feel like an adult at all.
Another one is giving up the impulsive, childish decisions and becoming more serious.
Even as a kid, I was just too sensible not to make any rushed, impulsive decisions. Yet I am very decisive, once I make up my mind, I fully support my decision.
But if adulting means being more serious and losing your ability to have fun, then I guess I’ll never grow up. I got a warning from my colleagues not to laugh and talk loudly in the office just the other day! And I wasn’t goofing around, I was just telling my coworker how fun qualitative research is. For some people, work is never supposed to be fun I guess.
Another popular perception is that adulting means being able to lie easily. Okay, I will never be able to do that. Even when someone tells me to keep a secret, I blush and give it away. You shouldn’t tell me any secrets because I turn into a five-year-old when it comes to lying and hiding stuff.
This one I like: Feeling responsible for the world and society. By this definition, I have always been an adult.
What about this? Getting lonely. This is surprisingly a very common perception. For me, though, my adolescence has been my loneliest period in life. I couldn’t connect to anyone except for my journal and books. I’m really grateful that I’ve been surrounded by the loveliest people during my young adult life.
Understanding you can’t have it all, losing your confidence, another person wrote. This is just the opposite for me, too. As a kid and teenager, I lacked self-confidence. I was even anxious for asking for things from my parents. My self-esteem, and also confidence in life grew in years.
Maybe this is why I don’t feel like an adult because I haven’t lost my confidence yet, in fact, I’ve just found it.
Or it may be because I don’t fret on the mistakes I’ve made, or others have made. I can laugh about them and go on with my day. Mistakes by which standards, anyway. There are no mistakes in the universe.
You could say life hasn’t shown you the bad side yet. Of course, it has. I’ve surely seen more than some of you, and less than some others. It’s all part of being a human, and thanks to all experiences, I am strong today.
If being an adult means losing the love of life and the ability to laugh, feeling entitled to judge people without empathizing, or just talking about “serious” topics, no thanks, I’ll pass. But if it means taking the responsibility for yourself and the world at large, then I’ve always been one. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel different.
What about you? Do you feel like an adult? What’s your definition of adulthood?