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Food, Health & Fitness

IT’S CALLED ADULTING. NOW WHAT?

Do you still remember that time you were handed your first ever payslip? Did some imaginary confetti pop in the background with a band marching to the congratulatory beat of the drum—carrying the banner that says, “KUDOS! YOU ARE ADULTING!”? That was how it was for me. My first ever payslip was the token I got when I finally accepted the inevitability of adulthood. It’s the official receipt of adulthood. 

There was a time when all we could think of was how we could finally buy things using our own hard-earned money. We spent quite some time fantasizing about what adulting would be like. For some, it meant we could eventually spread our wings and carve our future through experiences and life lessons. Choices and decisions make our paths towards a particular goal clear or hazy. But for others, adulting is simply a phase in life at which we continuously reap what we sow—whether we do something or nothing at all will have an equal and opposite reaction. 

You could be well over your 30s and still don’t know how to be responsible for your own life, or you could be a teenager that has to learn the ropes early because no one else will carry the responsibility of caring for yourself other than you. Delay as we may, becoming an adult will eventually find its way to make us realize that, like taxes and death, it’s inescapable—at least for most of us. 

Adulting means what, really?

adulting

In an article from TIME titled ‘This Is What Adulting Means,’ Ben Zimmer states, in reference to adulting, “Adulting tends to be used by those “who find themselves doing adult things for the first time and feeling like an adult,” he says. “It is very much attached to people coming of age, where they’re thrust into having to take things more seriously.” Every generation, he adds, “comes to grip with aging in their own way.”

If there is anything certain about adulting, it’s the fact that it’s different for everyone. It isn’t like we all have the same experiences as we reach the age that society considers adult. That said, our concepts of adulthood, like childhood, are heavily influenced by the specific society we are born into. If you look at it that way, one might suggest that adulthood is a social construct because though it’s specific to societies, it may mean something else in other cultures.

Did we confuse you there? Try separating age from the age roles or stages of human life, like childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Age is, of course, not a social construct; it’s a fact. If you are 21, it means you are 21, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an adult. It doesn’t follow either that you have to start thinking about serving the society where you belong while abandoning all your childhood ideals—though it wouldn’t hurt to become a part of something bigger than yourself.  

Take the wheel if you want to go somewhere. 

Some of us think of adulthood as a dreadful stage that we have to face—no more baon from our parents because we are expected to start working our own way to get the things we want in life. We wouldn’t dare say that adulthood isn’t dreadful. In fact, it kinda is. Taking control of your life can be scary. It’s like when you are taught how to drive and are asked, for the first time, to get to the driver’s seat and take the wheel. The first few times would still be a bit nerve-racking, but when you get the hang of it, you embrace the inevitable that you will have to take over the wheel. It’s either you get somewhere or you get where you actually want to be.

Adulthood is like that. Our age does not dictate when we’ll become one. Our readiness and state of mind will. When you are in the driver’s seat, you get to decide which direction you’ll take and go. If it gets lonely along the way, don’t forget that there’s room for more. You can let some people hop in for a ride. If you are lucky, you might find a companion who will occupy your passenger seat and be with you along the way. 

I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it.

You need someone who could, from time to time, check if your seatbelts are on or tell you to take it easy as you hit the road—someone who could dissuade you from running the red and tell you that the journey will exhaust you, but you are allowed to rest. Your hands could use a bit of break off the wheel before you go when the light turns green. Adulting comes when you know when to slow down, take a complete stop when the sign says so, and carry on because you need to get to your destination. Don’t forget to roll out your window and feel the air as you take the scenic route. Adulthood is only long and tiring for those who miss seeing the sheer beauty of the journey. 

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