Monday, November 09, 2009

"Real Adulthood," whatever that is.

When I enumerate my daily accomplishments, I often catch myself saying something like "I (took out the trash/paid my bills/had dinner with a couple of friends/removed my own appendix) just like a real adult!" People who hear this usually respond in one of two ways: a) shake their head and say that I am a real adult, or b) pat me on the head and remind me that I will never be a real adult. I will leave it up to your mercies to decide which is truer.

The thing is, what is "real adulthood?" Before I was supposed to be a real adult, I thought of adulthood as something that would inevitably happen when I reached the age of majority, i.e. the condition in which one finds oneself when one is no longer a real child. Then once I turned 18, I assumed real adulthood would land upon me when I left college and went out into the "real world." (At least I realized even then that college was an idyllic fantasyland that bore little resemblance to the way my life would actually go.) Now, two and a half years out of college and eyeball deep in the real world, I still don't feel like a real adult.

I read in a book on parenting (don't ask why I read books on parenting; no, Mom, I'm not pregnant) that people in this country consider the age of real adulthood to be twenty-six. This makes me feel a little better in that I've got another year and a bit to go, so there's still time to figure how to make it work properly.  That just leaves the question: If I don't feel like a real adult now even when I'm living on my own and making my own money, what has to happen before I do? And can I make all that happen by age twenty-six?

Here are some things I consider to be milestones that point to real adulthood:

So there we are. I don't know if I can get all of these in by January 24, 2011, but I'm sure going to try. Otherwise I may never be a real adult. And wouldn't that be a shame.

P.S. Check out the Word of the Week to your right. See if you can use it at least once this week!

Posted by Silent Five @ 10:03 PM

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See, now I feel like I've failed, as I've passed the 26-year mark, but don't wear my black cocktail dress anywhere fancy.

Posted by Blogger -Murphy @ 6:22 AM #

I don't have dental insurance anymore. Can my "real adult" status be repealed? Having achieved adulthood, can you then move into post-adulthood?

Posted by Anonymous Mom @ 9:29 AM #

So, I guess I feel like a quasi-adult then?
My status on these points

* Relative financial independence.
ok, I make enough for myself but can I support Kyle and I? Almost but not quite.
* Planning and executing your own vacation.
check-back packing trip and trip to NC complete with rental car
* Having dental insurance.
check, need this with my history
* Knowing things about wine.
does knowing more than your husband count?
* Hosting at least one dinner party to which you invite more than two people you're neither related to nor dating.

will you come over for one, or do we not count because we might as well be related?
* Being able to make small talk about the stock market without sounding imbecilic.

this will never happen

* Becoming more centered and spiritually fulfilled.
also probably not happening
* Owning a black cocktail dress.

check on the owning and wearing

Posted by Blogger Katie @ 3:50 PM #

Hmm. I feel like you're conflating "adult" and "upper middle class" to some degree.

Also, keep up the good work! I've been enjoying your writing enormously so far.

Posted by Blogger Jacob @ 4:00 PM #
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Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

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This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)