When do you think you become an adult? Does age dictate your adulthood? According to society, it does, but I beg to differ. I’m a senior this year and I find it extremely hard to believe that on my birthday this school year I will be considered an official “adult.” Why would I put quotations around the word “adult”? Well, I don’t know if I can accept that fact. People will see me as an adult, someone who should be able to make her own decisions, speak for herself, and…make her own important phone calls. I can’t be the only one who thinks about making important phone calls, such as scheduling a doctor’s appointment, for example, and ends up cringing. I used to think it was because I had some irrational social anxiety, when in reality it was the weight of the responsibility pressing down on my shoulders, giving me that over-dramatic sense of dread.
I’ve spent 17 years of my life with a safety net, a.k.a. my mother. She considers me a pretty independent person, as do a lot of people who know me, but if there ever came a time or a situation where I couldn’t handle this independence, I would have someone to take over the reins and handle it for me. Sooner or later, that safety net won’t always be there. I’m not saying that when I turn 18, I will be completely alone, out in the cold, harsh world, left to fend for myself; what I’m saying is certain things will be expected of me. Are you 18, or turning 18 soon? Believe it or not, certain responsibilities are going to be expected of you, as well. Are you cringing yet?
The reason this is such a hard thing for me to grasp is because it’s such a quick transition. You have teachers and your parents telling you your whole high school career that they’re preparing you for college, for adulthood, and they are, of course, but it never really dawns on you that the event they’re preparing you for is so close, until your 18th birthday when it all hits you like a ton of bricks, and your first day of college when the bricks seem to multiply.
I hope I’m not making this sound terrifying because I know nothing about being 18 or being an official adult…yet. I can’t tell you how hard or how easy it might be for you. I can’t tell you if everything will work out or if there will be some bumps in the road along the way, but what I can tell you is this:
Don’t be afraid of not being able to solve every problem in your life. Sometimes all you need to do is experience the hardships, make mistakes, and learn from them. After all of that, you will be able to experience happiness, as well. Adults do not have all the answers and neither will you.
So, when can one truly be considered an official adult? That is essentially up to you, the choices you make, and the way you handle those choices. I believe that the true dictator for adulthood is your experience and your ability to take care of yourself in challenging situations. It’s your ability to stand on your own two feet. Don’t be scared though, because being an adult is also knowing when you need help from others, and not being afraid to look for it.