Author Topic: How do you define "adult"?  (Read 5444 times)

MrMoogle

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How do you define "adult"?
« on: January 11, 2015, 04:19:09 PM »
Someone asked me the other day, "When did you become such an adult?" 

And it got me thinking.  I'm old enough to be an adult (29), but I never really thought of myself as one.  I guess when I think of adults, I think of my parents, who were married and had kids by this time. 

I've got a job, and think about the future.  I'm on my way to FI, but I wouldn't say I'm making sacrifices to get there.  I've always been frugal, I just don't see the point in spending money on things I don't need, I'd rather retire early.  And it was the way I was raised, my dad FIRE'd in his 40s. 

So the only real difference between now and when I was 15, is that I've graduated college and got a job, and I've aged.  Is that enough to make me an adult?

But if you compare me to most people my age (an older), maybe I am one.

So, what makes an adult, and are you one?

TerriM

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2015, 04:21:37 PM »
I think I was more of an adult when I was 15 than when I was in college. 

Maturity and responsibility.  Not necessarily life-experience, but that helps a bit.

sheepstache

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2015, 04:29:21 PM »
Sadly, I've overheard a couple conversations where "being an adult" is defined by buying things.

"I'm buying a bedside table! It's the first piece of new furniture I've ever bought. Yay, being an adult!"

Or a list of "rules" for being an adult, one of which was that you couldn't use toilet paper instead of tissues or re-use grocery bags rather than buying trash bags. Which, okay, these are not huge wastes of money, but it was sad that, like the above example, adulthood was based on purchasing things.

MrMoogle

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2015, 04:36:38 PM »
Before I moved, I owned a house, and I can see how that purchase allowed me to experience more "adult" things that I wouldn't have experienced renting.  But it's probably not much more on top of living on your own (with a roommate). 

Maybe realizing some of these assumptions aren't beneficial is a step toward adulthood. 

TerriM

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2015, 04:49:08 PM »
Ok, how about this definition:

Being an adult means you don't expect anyone else to support you (or your family if you're married), clean up after you, or do your work for you.  It means taking responsibility for who you are, what you do, and the mistakes you make.

Perhaps not everyone over the age of 18 is really an adult :)

Future Lazy

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2015, 04:55:45 PM »
Ok, how about this definition:

Being an adult means you don't expect anyone else to support you (or your family if you're married), clean up after you, or do your work for you.  It means taking responsibility for who you are, what you do, and the mistakes you make.

Perhaps not everyone over the age of 18 is really an adult :)

+1 This

Things that make me an adult:
Being married
Living away from parents
Doing my own cleaning/laundry
Being responsible for paying my bills
Grocery shopping, cooking my own meals
Having a full time job doing something besides food/retail
Making my own doctor/dentist appointments

Etc

Basically doing the things for myself that my mom was still doing for me when I was a teenager.

Sofa King

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2015, 04:57:49 PM »
Ok, how about this definition:

Being an adult means you don't expect anyone else to support you (or your family if you're married), clean up after you, or do your work for you.  It means taking responsibility for who you are, what you do, and the mistakes you make.

Perhaps not everyone over the age of 18 is really an adult :)

This.

RapmasterD

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2015, 06:41:21 PM »
Not living with or sucking off the financial teat of your parents would be a good start.

red7

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2015, 06:50:49 PM »

Things that make me an adult:
Being married
Living away from parents
Doing my own cleaning/laundry
Being responsible for paying my bills
Grocery shopping, cooking my own meals
Having a full time job doing something besides food/retail
Making my own doctor/dentist appointments

Etc

Basically doing the things for myself that my mom was still doing for me when I was a teenager.

I would argue that a couple of the things in your list are not necessary to "be an adult." I'm 29, unmarried, and live with my parents to help as a caretaker when needed. I take care of my own responsibilities (like the other things on your list) plus a few of theirs, and I don't think things like housing and marital status help determine whether you are an adult or not. I think it's all about maturity. As a matter of fact, I often feel like I went straight from childhood to adulthood -- no "typical teenager" or "young, carefree twenty-something/college student" phases here. For well over a decade now, I've had more responsibility on my shoulders than most of my peers.

I also feel compelled to add:

Having been FT food retail at one point, and still working there part-time, I have to disagree with the underlying assumption you've made that a FT job in those industries would somehow disqualify someone from "being an adult." They are real jobs, with just as many challenges and rewards as any white collar position. Many people without the technical skills (or desire) to be in, for example, IT or engineering make highly successful and enjoyable careers out of them. It can also be highly lucrative in some cases. At my company, department managers and higher typically make at or above $60K a year when you include their bonuses. Store managers can easily gross $100K+.

I think I was more of an adult when I was 15 than when I was in college. 

Maturity and responsibility.  Not necessarily life-experience, but that helps a bit.
+1

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2015, 07:17:55 PM »
Adulthood=independence. You cook, clean, earn, fix, make bookings and appointments, pay your own way and don't sponge off anyone (parents, partners, friends, relatives, government (I. E. Not being a "Dole bludger"). Entirely self reliant.

Adventine

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2015, 07:21:38 PM »
To the OP: love your username, kupo!

Real adults make their own decisions about their jobs, their homes, their educations, and their lifestyles, without depending on their parents to finance those decisions.

And yes, I'm an adult by those standards :)
« Last Edit: January 11, 2015, 07:25:19 PM by Adventine »

Future Lazy

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2015, 07:45:54 PM »

Things that make me an adult:
Being married
Living away from parents
Doing my own cleaning/laundry
Being responsible for paying my bills
Grocery shopping, cooking my own meals
Having a full time job doing something besides food/retail
Making my own doctor/dentist appointments

Etc

Basically doing the things for myself that my mom was still doing for me when I was a teenager.

I would argue that a couple of the things in your list are not necessary to "be an adult." I'm 29, unmarried, and live with my parents to help as a caretaker when needed. I take care of my own responsibilities (like the other things on your list) plus a few of theirs, and I don't think things like housing and marital status help determine whether you are an adult or not. I think it's all about maturity. As a matter of fact, I often feel like I went straight from childhood to adulthood -- no "typical teenager" or "young, carefree twenty-something/college student" phases here. For well over a decade now, I've had more responsibility on my shoulders than most of my peers.

I also feel compelled to add:

Having been FT food retail at one point, and still working there part-time, I have to disagree with the underlying assumption you've made that a FT job in those industries would somehow disqualify someone from "being an adult." They are real jobs, with just as many challenges and rewards as any white collar position. Many people without the technical skills (or desire) to be in, for example, IT or engineering make highly successful and enjoyable careers out of them. It can also be highly lucrative in some cases. At my company, department managers and higher typically make at or above $60K a year when you include their bonuses. Store managers can easily gross $100K+.

I think I was more of an adult when I was 15 than when I was in college. 

Maturity and responsibility.  Not necessarily life-experience, but that helps a bit.
+1

It's certainly not a list of "Things That Make All People Into Adults". It's just a list of "Things That Make Kayla Feel Like An Adult".

Re Living Away From Parents: My parents are pretty codependent, my mother especially in a way that included doing everything for me all the time, and then resenting me for having to do it. If I hadn't moved away, I wouldn't be doing my own dishes, cooking my own meals, doing my own chores. That's not true for everyone, but that's why it makes me into an adult. It makes me vacuum, and helps fight depression.

Re Married: Once again, codependent parents - Being successfully married in a non-codependent relationship (psychologist approved!) is high on my list of successes. That doesn't mean that unmarried (or unattached) people aren't adults - just that being in a healthy relationship encourages me to feel more confident and self sustaining. 

Re Fast Food/Retail Jobs:  This opinion may have to do with my age range. It comes it two parts: Ability to moderate your use of drugs/alcohol, and ability to pursue better opportunities ("get-to-it-iveness").

A number of my peers (ages 18-25) refuse to seek better jobs due to excessive use of marijuana or alcohol. People who would make great salesmen, electricians, bakers, college students... But don't, because their priorities aren't in line. Include here a handful of older adults (25-40) whom make the same complaint. "I hate working here! Maybe I should stop smoking pot for a bit, so I can find another job..." And yet, there they stay.

I'd also like to specify that I'm talking about low level or entry level positions - Cashier, Head Cashier, Associate, Crew, Shift Manager. The kind of person who has the gumption to pursue a department management or store management position is not really what I'm picturing when I'm picturing retail. I'm picturing a 24/7 stoned cart pusher at Sam's Club, such as those my DH used to work alongside.   

Even then, RE Department Managers: SIL currently makes about $10.25/hr - She's been working for McDonalds for 11+ years, and is a department manager in her store; it's not a job she enjoys or an environment that fosters her. Is she not an adult for working at McDonalds? No, she's certainly an adult. She's in her 30's, she even has a kid. Is she giving herself the shaft for not seeking a better job, when she certainly has the desire, skills and intelligence to do so? Absolutely.

Hopefully that's a little more clear... Didn't meant to insult anyone. :0

lostamonkey

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 07:55:43 PM »
I think everyone's definition of an "adult" is different but here is what I think:

1. Not living with your parents
2. Being financial independant from your parents. You (or your household if you are married) pay your own bills and don't rely on your parents for everyday expenses.
3. Being able to maintain a job or other source of income

+1 Kayla. When I lived with my parents, they also did all those things for me.

Zikoris

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2015, 09:59:14 PM »
I consider myself to have been an adult when I was 18 based on:

1. Not living with parents or receiving economic outpatient care
2. Being capable of maintaining a long term relationship
3. Working and supporting myself
4. Making my own decisions without consulting anyone
5. Not crashing and burning

surfhb

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2015, 10:28:04 PM »
Gosh!  So hard to pin down an exact definition.   I know many who cover every point on the lists posted here yet they are the most immature people you've ever met. 

My parents managed to buy a new vehicle after losing a large portion of their net worth in downturn of 2007.   They are in their 80s and still have a small mortgage, little saving and only SS as income.....not very adult behavior :)

You never stop growing and learning so perhaps we never entirely grow up?   

TerriM

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 10:32:24 PM »
I consider myself to have been an adult when I was 18 based on:
...
5. Not crashing and burning

I think it's ok to be an adult and "crash and burn."  After all, we learn from our failures, and success isn't the only possible outcome.  Perhaps part of being an adult is taking on that risk instead of playing it safe with parents.

MrMoogle

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 11:25:05 PM »
To the OP: love your username, kupo!
Kupo!

It means taking responsibility for who you are, what you do, and the mistakes you make.

I like this definition. 

Zikoris

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 11:37:08 PM »
I consider myself to have been an adult when I was 18 based on:
...
5. Not crashing and burning

I think it's ok to be an adult and "crash and burn."  After all, we learn from our failures, and success isn't the only possible outcome.  Perhaps part of being an adult is taking on that risk instead of playing it safe with parents.

I guess I'm just not a "crash and burn" type of person, and would consider it a pretty big life failure. I can see the value in it for people who are trying to be entrepreneurs or something though.

TerriM

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 11:45:25 PM »
I consider myself to have been an adult when I was 18 based on:
...
5. Not crashing and burning

I think it's ok to be an adult and "crash and burn."  After all, we learn from our failures, and success isn't the only possible outcome.  Perhaps part of being an adult is taking on that risk instead of playing it safe with parents.

I guess I'm just not a "crash and burn" type of person, and would consider it a pretty big life failure. I can see the value in it for people who are trying to be entrepreneurs or something though.

Honestly, sometimes it just happens.  You could have a medical issue, be in an accident, or go through a divorce.  Life happens.   

Zikoris

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Re: How do you define "adult"?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2015, 12:41:52 AM »
I consider myself to have been an adult when I was 18 based on:
...
5. Not crashing and burning

I think it's ok to be an adult and "crash and burn."  After all, we learn from our failures, and success isn't the only possible outcome.  Perhaps part of being an adult is taking on that risk instead of playing it safe with parents.

I guess I'm just not a "crash and burn" type of person, and would consider it a pretty big life failure. I can see the value in it for people who are trying to be entrepreneurs or something though.

Honestly, sometimes it just happens.  You could have a medical issue, be in an accident, or go through a divorce.  Life happens.

I don't choose to live in a country where medical issues and accidents lead to disaster/ruin (and if I was born somewhere where that was the case, my highest priority with be immigration to somewhere sane), and I'm about as anti-marriage as a person can get. I get that a lot of people crash and burn regularly, and sympathize with people who have had things happen genuinely out of their control, but I'm just not like that.