“Dreaming of being an adult is easy, being an adult is hard work. Don’t spend your childhood dreaming of being an adult, spend it enjoying the wonders of being a child. ~Etta D. Richards
When I was a little girl, my anticipation of becoming an adult was only surpassed by those of Christmas and my next birthday. The idea of NO school, NO curfew, NO seeking permission to stay or up late and being able to eat as much ice cream I want when I wanted was a fantastic dream that made my heart sing. Yes, being an adult was the highlight of my 12-year-old life. Then reality hit, I woke up one day and BAM! Guess what? I was adulting and let me tell you, adulthood is overrated! But wait a minute? What constitutes being an adult? Is it age? Maturity or emotional growth and stability? My childhood perception of being an adult was totally misguided and filled with unrealistic notions.
Adulting (v): to do grown-up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown-ups.
You can probably ask 20 people what they feel constitutes being an adult and each of them would give you different answers. I’m speaking from experience here, over the years I’ve asked close friends what they felt constitutes being an adult. The women I asked often felt they were the adult in the relationship they were in, because they were the responsible person in that relationship, making them the adult in the relationship. While some male felt being an adult to have grown up and become a man! Others felt that being an adult had nothing to do with age, it had to do with your level of maturity. Who’s right and who’s wrong?
Well here are my top 10 characteristics of what I feel reflects being an adult.
1. Accepting the responsibility that maturity is an ongoing process that means continuously striving for self-improvement and development.
2.Learning from your mistakes, accepting that you can sometimes be wrong and moving on.
3.Accepting and taking constructive criticism. For me, this took a lot of getting used to.
4.Is able to differentiate between rational decision making and emotional impulse.
5.Capable of managing your emotion like temper, anger, jealousy or envy.
6.Being mindful of the feelings of others.
7.Having the ability to distinguish between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.
8.Expressing confidence without being overly arrogant.
9.Taking ownership and responsibility for personal actions.
10.Have the ability to distinguish true love from temporary infatuation. Ok, maybe it’s not fair to add this one because this could be a challenge for even the most mature adult.
Above all, being an adult means that you’re willing to do what needs to be done when the time comes. Rowing when going uphill instead of sitting with your arms folded, “adulting” isn’t always easy, trust me many days I’m ready to toss in the towel and revert to my 12-year-old self. Yeah, you get to stay up late, eat all the ice cream you want but those privileges come with the price of taking on the responsibilities of your own life and sometimes the lives of others.
©Etta D. Richards