First things first, let’s get the question most old timers will ask off the table… Adulting is NOT the same as adultery. Adultery is the horrible act of cheating on your spouse. Adulting is a young person, most commonly the generation born in the 1990s finally acting their age.
It’s about being an adult, turning the word adult into a verb. Into a “Let’s do this” kind of spur to action. A moment when a young person who feels inadequate actually feels, if just for a moment that they have their life together.
I am now 26, born on a Saturday in October 1990. No I’m not afraid to tell you my age. But we look at our parents, grandparents and even our great grandparents when they were young in comparison to the way that my peers, my generation are living now. My grandfather for example started his apprenticeship at 15, and had a full paying job well before he was 21. At 21 he got married, and a year later had his first child. He had his life together at such a young age! He was far from alone in this. In decades past people used to get their lives together, get their act together, get married and have jobs at such young ages. I have an uncle who was living on his own and fully supporting himself at only 15 years old. I have aunts who were married at 18 & 19 years old. People who got their lives together so fast. I am not saying all young people today do not do this, just most of us don’t. But compare that to those of us born in the 1990s, we’re the kids who grew up in the start of a new era. The ones who saw the internet take traction and were young enough to quickly grasp it with both hands and ride the wave of soft technology that has swept the globe. We grew as the internet grew.
We watched the new millennium being born as we were young. We are the generation that has been through 3 major economic recessions, we saw arcades disappear while home tv and computer games became popular. We’re the youngsters who although we wanted more than anything to be able to be independent, financially we have not been able to pull it off.
But strangely enough, emotionally and physically we also have not been able to successfully pull it off. Many of my peers have major health issues. And emotionally, it’s not as though we haven’t wanted to do things. To me it just seems for everything they try, these children who were born in the 1990s just can’t quite get their traction right to do what their parents and grandparents were so easily able to do.
We really live in a different world to the one our elders lived in. These people who are 26, 27, heck all the young people born between 1990 – 2000 are now old enough to be able to have jobs, cars, be married, or live on their own. Not all have not done this, yet not all have done it. Of my peer group however, most of us haven’t. Its not even because we don’t want to, or we’re incapable of looking after ourselves, but maybe we are incapable. I have a friend who’s a few months older than me who recently told me she’s moving out of home and going to be on her own now. And I am so extremely proud of her. A little jealous even, since I am still living with my folks. But when she told me this, my first thought was “Dude, you’re adulting well” Because the truth is its really hard to be an adult. I know critics will say “don’t say you’re adulting as you shouldn’t be trying to show off that you are doing things that a normal human being should do anyway (that was one of the points I saw online in doing research for this post), thing is nowadays normal young adults don’t do these “normal” things. We grew up in an age when academic things were so important and such high priorities that many parents neglected to teach their children how to do such simple things as sewing or cooking. And only now are these young people realising they actually want to learn how to do that because those are useful skills in life.
We grew up in an age where as adults we step back and look at how we spent our day, thinking to ourselves “I spent the day doing household chores and no one asked me to do it.” or “I’m paying my own phone bills/car instalments” When I hear of my friends, my peers doing adult things like that, I am so incredibly proud of them. Because, maybe it’s my health or me being plain well lazy, or maybe it is just that the people of my generation have meandered into adult life. Taken their time to grow up to the point of being in their mid to late twenties before really owning their lives.
So that is what I mean about the term “adulting”, to me it means being able to put petrol in your car, doing your own laundry, paying your own bills, basically to be responsible, to feed yourself instead of asking mom to give you food, to clean up after yourself without being told to. It’s about being an adult even though it’s so darn difficult.
And being an adult scares me, it scares the hell outta me. Cause I don’t feel like I should be allowed to adult. I see memes that I can relate to, like “I’m an adult but not a real adult” and I think to myself that describes me. I still find myself thinking I’m a teenager quite often. When I see people similar to my age that actually do seem to have their act together, those who are married, have kids and fur babies (pets), own their own homes, I think to myself “how on earth are you managing to do that?” because I cannot even imagine being able to do that right at this moment.
But it also scares me that I am not yet fully independent. I can hardly get my act together to move out of home, yet at the same time the thought of being fully self-sufficient also scares the heck out of me. I don’t know if I can pull it off. I sometimes reason with myself that I’m in a comfort zone, and why should I move if I don’t absolutely have to? Then on the other hand I feel I should have gotten to that point years ago. I wonder, I wonder if this dilemma is the system we grew up in, I wonder if it’s the way I was raised, the way us 1990s babies were raised at the end of a century and the turn of the millennium. Or if its just me being plain well lazy.
In any case, I’m off to adult a bit now as I have laundry to sort and dishes to wash. Oh joy.
Comment below if you feel the struggle is real.