We all have the innate desire to “grow up.”. From the moment we’re able to speak in comprehensible sentences all we want is to grow up. Children want to be treated like “big boys,” teens want to be treated like adults, and college kids try to pretend that they are adults. Even when us college kids move out and start working we still want to be adults yet we aren’t. Young adults do so much shit to prove that they’re grown up. As a 23 year old man, I am no exception. I, like most, try to find things in life that set me apart and show that I’ve matured. Whether it’s developing our own opinions, a career, a credit card, moving out, a serious relationship, or starting a stupid blog, we all have our own ways of feeling like we’re growing up.
Yet despite all of it, we still have a chip on our shoulder. We still don’t feel like we’re there. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. I can’t say there’s a certain trait, job, task, or thing that defines adulthood. The only thing I could say is what I’ve learned so far. In this period of “growing up” and “maturing” I think I’ve learned a particular trait that, while I’m sure is one of many, is at least a step in the right direction of growing up.
This idea was something that shocked me at first because it is the exact opposite of what we all grew up thinking adulthood is. I believe that a big part of being an adult is doing shit you don’t want to do. I realized that all of the types of things I defined adulthood by, whether it be work, independence, friends, relationships, security, and so on, all have this one thing in common. They all require you to do so much shit that you do not want to do.
A couple of years ago, some distant friend’s/relative’s father died and my mom told how I should go to the funeral. Childish me, who gets super uncomfortable just hearing the word funeral, responded with “Why do I have to go? Me being there will make no difference” upon other stupid remarks. My mother simply responded with “No one said you had to go but it’s the right thing to do.” Checkmate. She won. As usual. In my extremely short experience I think I could say that a real defining characteristic trait between adults and children is the ability to know that sometimes you have to do shit you don’t want to do. Even worse, you have to do said shit with a smile on your face (Or whatever the proper expression for said occasion. Please don’t show up to a funeral with a smile).
Part of being an adult is realizing that as an adult you are obligated to do certain things, not out of force, but out of obligation. You do shit not because your mom told you, but because it’s the right thing to do. So many people I know like to show off about how they do what they want when they want and how they don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. Those are the man-babies of the world talking (or woman-babies, it’s 2019). The mentality of doing whatever you want is the most childish and irresponsible of mindsets. Only three types of people do whatever they want: Children, Assholes, and Idiots. When a child wants to take a shit they shit right away, even if that means shitting their pants. When an asshole is horny he has sex, even if that means cheating on his/her significant other (again it’s 2019. Women could cheat too). When a child is tired they just fall asleep, even if it’s the middle of the day. When an idiot is hungry, they eat whatever deep fried shit that they crave, even if they have high cholesterol and are one trip to KFC away from a heart attack.
Only idiots, assholes, and children do what they want. The rest of us live by rules. All adults make choices and sacrifices to do what in their minds is the right thing. Doing shit you don’t want to do is exhausting and annoying because it’s not once in a while. It’s all the fucking time. You go to work and do shit you don’t want to do, come home and go to a family thing you don’t want to go to, and go to sleep early in order to wake up earlier than you want to. Once you hit your 20’s it’s all downhill. The older you get the more obligations you get. I’m sure there’s a silver lining somewhere and a whole essay a better writer could write on why doing shit you don’t want to is actually good but this is all I got. At the end of the day you’ll still be in the same position but that’s just growing up so feel free to take your time.