US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Am I an adult yet?

By Megan Sweas | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I keep reading various articles that seem to imply I'm not an adult.

"A new period of life is emerging in which young people are no longer adolescents but not yet adults," a recent New York Times article quotes some scholar saying. At least he didn't use the term "extended adolescence."

But that just begs the question: What exactly is an adult and who gets to decide when you are one? Is it those major life moments: marriage, kids, buying a house? I don't qualify for any of these.

Much of the New York Times article deals delayed marriage/family, which is threatening to many Christians (see our Sounding Board, Don't wait for marriage-last weekend to respond). The problem is most young adults, including religious ones, have moved beyond expectations of marriage at a certain age. Even this young Christian woman at Relevant, an evangelical magazine says, "Praise the Lord, a revolution took place."

Let's face it. Times have changed. Instead of either trying to go back to the 1960s or throwing all tradition out the window, we need a new way to apply tradition to young adult life. (Check out Christine Whelan's piece on Bustedhalo for a good counterpoint to our Sounding Board.)

The other area of "adulthood" the NYT article talks about is responsibility: having a job, moving away from your parents, and generally taking responsibility for life. Maybe I am an adult!

Then, I found this entertaining blog post on cycles of (ir)responsibility explains "why I'll never be an adult," and even though it seems to be popular among young adults, it got me thinking that these aren't really good markers of adulthood either. There are plenty of "adults" out there who don't have jobs (especially now) and can't seem to take care of themselves. There are even plenty of responsible married couples with kids that can't keep their fridge stocked, their house clean, or schedules straight. Are they not adults?

All I know is that I at one point said that I was never going to turn into an adult who goes downtown for work, never looks up at the Sears Tower in amazement, and sits at a desk all day long. I turned into just that. I need to go turn into a kid again and watch some fireworks this weekend. At least I still love fireworks!

Aren't we supposed to be like the children? What's so good about "growing up" anyway? Maybe I'll just embrace my non-adulthood.