Growing Up Through the Eyes of Tumblr and Twitter

Sometime between this:

…and this:



Each of us will be an adult one day (if we aren’t already), and yet, we would all disagree as to when this will happen—we don’t mark it by some birthday or significant event. And then there’ll be those who believe that we’re never grown up but rather always growing up.

Regardless of how you look at it, it’s clear that the word “grown up” implies a sense of responsibility and independence. Whether it’s a child’s first day of college, a woman’s first pregnancy, or a teen’s first time behind the wheel, citizens took to Twitter with the hashtag #allgrownup, as each of these events signified a huge change, often for the better, in one’s life.

Buzzfeed, my generation’s leading authority on culture, seemed to agree that becoming an adult is about escaping the safety nets put in place by society in exchange for more freedom and authority. One Tumblr user wrote, “When I was little I thought being an adult meant not having a bed time but I’ve come to realize that it just means being in charge of my own bed time and it turns out that I am not equipped to handle that responsibility” ( Another clip found on Buzzfeed “perfectly summed up” growing up:

It seems to stand, then, that the process of “growing up” is not only inevitable for most (after all, who isn’t excited to get his or her license?) but is also one that we’re not always ready for and equipped to handle. Thus, it would seem that one is a grown up or adult once one has mastered the the art of setting one’s bedtime, walking onto an escalator, and doing other “adult things.” But our society as it stands today lacks a rigid set of criteria that defines what “adult things” are—to some, it may be having your first full time job, and to others, it may be living away from your parents.

What’s clear, however, is that in the eyes of society, you’re never officially an adult. Regardless of whether you’re 40 years old and still figuring things out or 25 and already rocking at life, you’ll always be growing up in someone’s eyes.

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1 Response to Growing Up Through the Eyes of Tumblr and Twitter

  1. Brandon Pal says:

    The bedtime example you provided is absolutely brilliant. It’s a great illustration of how adulthood brings about incredible freedom, but requires a tremendous amount of responsibility. As college students, we are getting a taste of adult life. We no longer have our parents to act as a safety net. Our mistakes are our sole responsibility. To be honest, it’s pretty scary.

    I actually disagree with the last statement you made. While it is true that we are always growing and developing, I believe that society does regard certain people as adults. The requirements for achieving such a title are extremely unclear, hence why we will struggle so much in our transition into adulthood. However, society has certainly established that “adults” do exist. Some of us will reach adulthood sooner than others, but all (or most, I suppose) of us will leave adolescence and enter adulthood at some point.

    I enjoyed your post a lot. Your media depictions were spot-on, and added a humorous vibe to your argument. Adulthood is an intimidating topic to discuss, so your use of GIFs and tweets sets a much lighter and more inviting tone.

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