One of my favorite songs (We Are Young by Fun) is a ballad directed right at adulthood. It reinforces this fact: adulthood is not a certain age range or period of your life, but it is simply a mindset that you have to grow into. Let’s look at what we know. For most states, the legal adult age is 18, but I’m sure many of us know individuals who have been mature before this age and/or after this age. How can we explain those who are working and supporting themselves at 16 or 17? What about those who still live with their parents at 28? It’s easy really: you simply become an adult when you are mentally ready to be one.
Shakar said it best, but now its time to back it up. Though society wants to have this generalized idea about adulthood and when it occurs, it’s impossible for everyone to mature at the same time. Many consider the graduation of an individual from high school as the start of adulthood, some consider the start of college or their transition into the workforce, others consider college graduation, and, legally, all have to consider reaching the age of 18. That right there is already four different ideas of when adulthood begins, and many don’t/can’t coincide with each other. For example, what if a student gets held back a year or two in school? Originally that student could’ve graduated at 17, but now they are looking at being 19 before walking across the coveted stage. This is where the debate gets muddy, for now instead of a child going through an end of childhood event, you have a legal adult going through an end of childhood event.
So where exactly is the line drawn? I think each individual person has to decide that for themselves. Personally, I do not believe I am an adult yet simply because I still survive financially off my parents, I do not own a house, and I do not have a full time job (you can find me however in the Georgia Dome at Atlanta Falcons home games). This applies to me and me only, for there are at least 400 other kids just in my graduating class alone at my high school who are vastly different from me.
As we continue to develop mentally and physically, we can soon begin to make decisions for ourselves. As risky as this sounds, one of those decisions is choosing when to be an adult. Of course it’s not some flick of the switch as it does take some time an effort, but as the song suggests in the title, it is very possible to switch between being a responsible adult and being a carefree youth.