As a responsible adult I have been very busy with things I am suppose to do first, before indulging in hobbies such as blogging, researching or running. Therefore I apologise for the temporarily negligence of writing. On other hand, I am always available on the Facebook Page if you want to chat, suggest a topic, criticize my work or share an opinion. Please vocalize yourself as much as you want, I appreciate your views.
Meanwhile while I was running around like a squirrel in a wheel (and not literally of course, I simply mean being overly busy), I realised that being a “grown up” can actually suck sometimes. Although I love growing older, it often slaps me back on the face to just remind me of “inappropriate” childish behavior I might have been exhibiting, placing me back to the line with all other “adults”. BOO to you adulthood!
It got me thinking what growing up really means and why is it so hard to be an adult all the time? Who outlines the characteristics of being a grown up and why “you are behaving like a child” often throws many people into embarrassment? Basically, I decided to talk about why it’s so hard to grow up.
Well, first of all, growing up physically and mentally can be two different things. I’ve looked into what people say about growing up and found out that many of them see mental maturity different from physical one. While growing older basically means developing and than wearing your organs out, mentally growing up is a little different process.
“Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry is own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”
So do I understand it correct, Mr Roosevelt in his quote basically states that becoming a grown up is being responsible for our own actions and consequences of them?! Taking responsibilities for errors as well as success is what makes us grown ups. I can understand why some people get frightened of becoming an adult.
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
I am not sure about you but I used to think that grown ups are almost immortal – this is how powerful they seemed to be to me. I haven’t noticed how I crossed the line and one day became an adult myself. I don’t mean that I became wiser or more powerful or more responsible (although I definitely have become more of all of these)… But one day I’ve noticed that there is a next after me generation and I am no longer in the line with them; however moved forward to a different level which is so familiar and so strange at the same time.
I’ve always enjoyed growing up, I have never been a big fan of being a child. Personally, I’ve always wanted to carry this “burden” or at least something in my life. I guess I was curious because I was brought up in my mother’s loving hassle free bubble which is of course sweet and admirable but unfortunately Peter Pan developing. Thankfully I moved to a different country where my Peter Pan had to give up and let me grow to simply survive. However it wasn’t an easy journey.
Although I like to think that I am steadily growing up I’ve met many people who refuse to be anyone else but Peter Pan. I must add, they are in fact happiest people I’ve ever met! 🙂
So why is it hard to grow up and why wouldn’t we remain Peter Pans for the rest of our lives?
Growing up implies many new activities which require us to be good at to maintain our well being. Some of them involve getting our own food, look after our own health, ear money to sustain life, hobbies and pleasures, clean our own clothes, make decision for ourselves and be accountable for it and many more. Some of the activities are more difficult than others.
So What Adulthood Is?
Thought Catalog suggested some pretty painful adulthood exercises we must learn in order to be grown ups which include our relationships managements, Dealing with families, friends, lovers and strangers is one of the things Peter Pan isn’t good at. Finding courage to stop agreeing or arguing with parents, removing bad influence friends from our lives, facing conflicts and telling your ex that we forgive them is something that draws the line between childhood and adulthood. Accepting that we need to go to bed early while others are still partying because we have an important meeting tomorrow is being an adult. Choosing our health over bad habits is being an adult. Confronting our bully or making a first step in a new relationship is being an adult. All of the above can often make vulnerable and even hurt at some stage. Dealing with the pain and moving on is what adulthood is.
All of the above takes time. I believe that attempting to grow up will eventually make it easier to become older and wiser. I also think that being weak doesn’t mean growing backwards into a child, it is simply a process of learning and finding your best way of getting there – becoming an adult. The growing up process shouldn’t be unbearable but challenging.
Growing up means accepting the fact that you have over $3000 bills this month and no matter how much you love this new pair of shoes you cannot afford it now but might be able sometime later. Growing up means facing the struggle of unemployment pushing yourself in becoming a better professional and exploring new opportunities. Growing up means living your life the way you want and never ask anyone else to follow you but support their choice. I am sure it is not always very easy to let your beloved one to be themselves and observe them making their mistakes. It is not always easy to be 100% focused on your goal and always stay positive during hard times. It is not always easy to sustain good health and never miss your morning vitamins (for example). However no matter what you can evaluate the past, make new goals and aims and after over coming difficulties and hesitation move forward. This is what adult means.
So When Do We Become Adults?
I cannot tell which age is the best one to cross the “river” from the childhood to the adulthood. I don’t believe there is one. However I do believe that everyone need to cross it eventually.
I was reading news the other day and bumped into an article called “Why so many 20-year-olds are failing to grow up” where I read: “Throughout school, I worked every Saturday and every holiday. My generation was obsessed with work: we wanted to earn money, to have good careers, to make something of our lives. And we were prepared to start at the bottom to do so” which reminded me of my parents saying just the same to my brother and myself. I am sure most of the 20 year olds face the same conversation with their relatives especially if they still living with them.
Psychology Today published an article on why to even bother growing up if children are often told how irresponsible they are and how much they need to work and how they cannot wait for them to grow up, etc. Who would want to grow older knowing that it is all about million of hours of work, no fun, bills and debts and less time for friends and beloved ones?! No one!
Erica Bauermeister in her “Joy for Beginners” writes “Adults need to have fun so children will want to grow up”. No wonder Peter Pan wanted to always stay a kid and play games and fight pirates and never go to bed unless he felt like it. No adults, no orders, no “go and clean your room up” stuff is much more fun than bills and work deadlines, screaming managers and no time for fun. However, wouldn’t you get bored!?
According to the earlier mentioned article, “we want to grow up because it involves achievements that make us feel good about ourselves”. Personally this is exactly why I was looking forward growing up. I wanted to mean something. I wanted to do something. I wanted to have a say and be responsible for it. Don’t get me wrong growing up is almost like a blind man walking through a black pitch cave stepping on the rocks carefully hoping not to fall… This is all a part of growing up fun!
A study by Australian charity the Brotherhood of St Laurence found that only 38% believed they had reached maturity on their 21st birthday. 13% insisted they were not adults at 21, while 49% could not decide either way.
On other hand, who defines what growing up is? Does maturity means responsibility or simply social conformity? Do we tie our community up to certain way of behavior that we call adulthood? Well, I am sure each of us has their own definition of if. Although many societies attempt to outline one definition for everyone, I’ve noticed that no one really sticks to the same. Meanwhile, growing up is unstoppable and inevitable therefore the quicker we grab the understanding the easier our journey would be.
“I am convinced that most people do not grow up…We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.”
Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter