Thursday, November 17, 2011

Myth of Adulthood

When I was younger I was certain that there was some point, perhaps around age twenty five, where we (humans) transformed into adults. Something of an emergence into understanding. I don't really think I gave that notion enough consideration for it to crystallize, but I was just certain that when I was an adult things would all make sense.

adult

Well, twenty five came and went and there was no moment where I shrugged off the cocoon of childhood to emerge as a full-fledged adult. Of course the "adults" that I knew claimed that they never felt like adults, but I just imagined that was some nonsense that they said to make non-adults feel better.

Later I was certain that it would be parenthood that would make me feel like an adult. However, when they let me leave the hospital with Cordelia I couldn't have felt less like an adult. I couldn't rationalize the fact that trained professionals were under the impression that I was adult enough to care for this tiny helpless babe.

I have continued to reach milestones that I have always equated with adulthood: teaching, home-ownership, a higher education. Yet, still I continue to feel like I am grasping at straws, adulthood eludes me.

Then the other day as I was scolding Cordelia for throwing her juice on the floor she laughed at me as I gave my best impression of a serious adult. I thought to myself, geez even the kid doesn't take me seriously. I kind of shrugged my shoulders and went onward, realizing that there is no true point at which I will feel like an adult.I continued to ponder just what I had even expected from adulthood and I realized that the myth of adulthood is something children create to give themselves hope that there will come a time when things make sense.

Finally, last night Cordelia awoke from a bad dream. I picked her up as she gave me a tearful hug. I whispered to her that everything was going to be OK. She sighed and fell back to sleep, comforted by one of the adults in her life. So, I am not sure that I will ever believe that I have grown up, but my kid thinks so and I suppose that is plenty for me.

Do you feel like an adult?

10 comments:

Susan said...

What's funny about this post is that when you were a child I told Dad you seemed more like a little adult trying to pretend to be a child so that you could fit in with your peers.

Maria Rose said...

I never felt a like a kid either...

Emily said...

I think I thought turning 30 would open up the magic adult portal. Nope. Maybe at age 80?

Roxanne said...

I have a 25 year old son. People all throughout the years of him growing up, constantly think and say he is my "brother", even to this day.

I don't know when other people will LET me grow up!

Keia said...

wow. this post is great- i keep thinking the same thing!

Kate said...

I have siblings who are considerably older than I am (20+ years.) While they're not involved in our lives, they often made/make comments that I am still unprepared and inadequate to the challenges of adulthood/mothering. Thus, I am torn, ever-fearful that someone will look at me with my babes and say, "She's not good enough to raise those kids!" Yet I don't feel somber and serious as I think I often ought to. Maybe next year. ... Or later...

Anonymous said...

No, I do not feel like an adult. I can't believe I am responsible for a one year old. I guess the term adult is akin to the tooth fairy and Santa. I think being an adult means you can do or say what you want and none can tell you otherwise. Unless you still live with your parents :)

Stacy said...

When I'm about to get a root canal, yes I feel a little like an adult (because only adults get root canals in my world). When my mom went into the hospital, I felt a little like an adult (b/c I'm an only child and kids don't have to deal with this stuff). And when I pay my bills, I feel a little like an adult (because kids don't have to worry about paying the Visa bill). But all of those things also make me feel like a kid because I'm just not fully prepared for them.

singlemama said...

I love Susan's comment to this post!!!

and I do not always feel like an adult (thanks God) ;-)

Tammie said...

this post really struck a chord with me because ive never felt like an adult. im amazed i get to do things like drive a car and hold down a job. the times ive had to do important things like buy a house ive felt as if im masquerading and eventually the real adults will figure me out.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...