Can you actually ‘declare’ adulthood?

Photo by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

I once read a scholarly article that claimed adulthood cannot be declared but instead is merely something we all come into. The theory is that adulthood is a natural and inevitable progression and humans do not have the option to claim or declare themselves adults – they simply are.

I have to call bullshit on that one.

Although I do believe that we all naturally progress into adulthood, there is a clear choice that is taken at some point to acknowledge that yes I am an adult and every decision and action is my own. If you have had a conversation or even observed humans at any given point in your life you’ve probably realized this. (I suggest you visit a college campus sometime where denial of adulthood is a certifiable epidemic.)

Yes, we all grow up and through the natural course of life, we have experiences and circumstances that make us the textbook definition of adults. We reach the legal age for voting, drinking, gambling, sex, and a whole slew of other ‘adult’ activities. We all age without a fight. It’s inevitable.

However, that doesn’t mean that we accept the responsibility that comes with those allowances. Often we see that as humans we avoid true adulthood because we are scared of being on our own. Then, there is a certain point where we find ourselves in the midst of the most recent life crisis or adult adventure and it dawns on us ‘Holy shit – I’m adulting so hard right now.’. These moments are made up of the big things such as marriage, buying a home, having children, etc. These moments are also made up of the smaller, less noticeable things.

For me, it has included the moment that I cooked the perfect egg, over easy, without having to call my mom to ask how to do it. It’s also the time the pipe burst in my basement and instead of calling my dad to ask what to do – we just fixed it and moved on with our day. It’s those moments where I made a clear and concise decision – this is my problem, and I’m a damn adult, and I will do this on my own.

That is not something that we have to do. It’s something we all should do at some point, and some of us jump on that train a little slower than others. The fact of the matter, it’s a constant and ongoing process. Every single day we have to wake up and make a choice to accept our roles, accept the responsibilities that have been given to us, and accept the consequences of our actions.

Sometimes we choose to stay in bed all day and avoid it all.

Sometimes though, we get up and try to change the world.

It’s all about balance.

Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. Every single day we drag ourselves out of bed and face the world head-on, that’s a tiny declaration of adulthood.


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