The Long Way

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Imagine being stranded on Mars.

By yourself.

Knowing that you will likely starve to death before rescue gets here.

The movie The Martian talks about an astronaut Mark Watney’s journey on Mars and the challenges he conquers to survive. Though the protagonist was way beyond the age of an adult in the movie’s setting, the story still echoes the themes of adulting and independence.

Surviving on Mars may seem an impossible task and completely irrelevant to ordinary people’s everyday life, but the process of encountering a challenge, troubleshooting, and overcoming the problem holds the same for just about anyone. Watney had a handful of problems he had to solve just to stay alive on the planet, nevertheless traveling to the next station where he could meet the rescue crew. He would examine the problem, find a solution, and…something would always go wrong the first time around. This pattern perfectly resembles an ordinary person’s everyday life – things almost never go the way we plan, and the only thing we could do is to adjust to what we are given and keep on trying.

The essence of adulthood is independence and solving problems on one’s own, which can be difficult for people to transition into sometimes. The truth is, life is not a straight path. Some obstacles force us to detour, to take the long way. Adulthood means that parents are no longer there to remove the obstacles and show you a clear path. Like Watney, to become an adult, people have to learn how to troubleshoot and solve problems on their own. They also need to accept failures, pick themselves back up, and try again. People ought to embrace the scenery of the long way to adulthood. The journey of adulting is much more important than the destination of adulthood. In the movie, Watney’s journey resembles the process of adulting. He seemed very lighthearted and playful in some of his video entries for the kind of mess he was in, but he also demonstrated a positive attitude, the ability to overcome challenges on his own, and the willingness to take the long way to reach the destination, which is I believe to be what adulting is.

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