I’m 31 years old, unmarried, no kids, and live in a warehouse condo thing with four other humans, three dogs, and a cat. Many people would say that I am not an adult yet. They would say that my trips to bars, music festival, and general spontaneous life that borders on nomadic proves I am still a teenager trapped in an adult body. I think these people are full of crap.
As this recent article plays fun with, most of “adulthood” has little to do with the person and much to do with appearances. Somehow adulthood has become defined as how effective we are at putting up a mask or subduing our life until it fits a social mold. What made a person an adult has changed significantly over the last several thousands of years and it is ridiculous to assume that it won’t change again. With more people delaying child-bearing, exploring non-traditional relationships, and relatively easy access to adventures and travel I would think the trend would continue where traditional signals of “adulthood” are not present in adults.
Regardless of the signals I put out there that don’t measure up to what previous generations call “adulthood”, I am a responsible adult. I pay my bills, I take care of myself and my community, and I am not a drain on anyone. To me, adulthood is means being independent and free to make your own decisions without harming others. It has little to do with age and nothing to do with the decisions you make as long as you don’t expect others to take care of you.
I am an adult and I refuse to let that title force me into a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, manicured lawn, wine collection, books that exist for show, a closet full of uncomfortable clothes, and a perverse view that adventures are for teenagers and retirement.
PS: It was pointed out by a respected friend of mine that this could be construed as a criticism of people who do have homes, lawns, kids, or whatever. I have no criticism of their life at all, they have chosen what makes them happiest and that is freaking awesome. I just would prefer not to be judged when my decisions do not mirror theirs. I love my friends regardless of their adulthood perception just like I (as a polyamorist) love my monogamous friends. I enjoy understanding how they tick, debating the pros and cons of different lifestyles, and having a diverse group of people in my life.