“Am I old enough to make the decisions of an adult and to live on my own,” many teenagers ask. The answer to this common question is more difficult than the average teenager would like it to be as adulthood is not determined simply by the age of the individual. Rather, hatching out of the cocoon of the adolescent life is based on the maturity of an individual to make a decision that effects the well being of his or her future self, rather than his or her present self, and that has a no negative effect on other individuals. As well, one may only be categorized as an adult if he or she take responsibility for her actions and assignments in life. The drunkard who only cares about intoxicating himself, the man down the street that is infuriated when the most minuscule events do not turn for his favor, and the individual who throws trash all over the highway are hardly adults.
The person who has been told to check the strength of the beams to be sure that they can hold the proper weight, but simply signs it off without potentially finding a vital hazard can hardly count himself as an adult. In the end, the individual who makes the mature decision to not get drunk every night, to be calm when things do not go his way, and to complete his assignments to the best of his ability while taking full responsibility for his actions, is the true adult in the room.
To sum up what it means to be not an caterpillar, not a hatching cocoon, but a full grown butterfly, individual maturity in making decisions in all areas and categories of life is essential. An adult can be as young as possible and an adolescent can be as old as possible; it all depends on the extent at which the individual utilizes his maturity in making decisions that effect him and those around him.