I Want To Talk About "Adulting"

Before I get into the rest of this post, I want to be clear that I speak as a person with the privilege to have gone to a good school, th...

Before I get into the rest of this post, I want to be clear that I speak as a person with the privilege to have gone to a good school, that I have a good home, that I am physically, and mentally of good health, and that I express these notions relative to my experience and idealism, to address those of the same privilege but with a potentially damaging mindset (from my projection). I'm not here to tell you how to think despite how I may phrase things. There are obvious limitations, and consequences to my opinions, and I understand and accept that. You do you, and if you own it, what you do is super cool.

The TL;DR (and kinda mean) version of this is: Nich's projection of her own ideals onto other people makes her think that "adulting" is this garbage notion that we are all in a constant state of not understanding how to handle responsibility because of the perpetuation of the idea that school doesn't teach you anything and instead should spoon-feed how to be a functioning human being, and that self-deprecation is still funny and a good way of coping with scenarios that could've been an opportunity for personal growth. I suggest embracing the mantra of stop being a punk-ass-entitled-little-shit and learn to embrace the world when it opens itself up to you.
Now, let's begin.

I want to talk about "adulting", and how I hate it. Not the actual "act" of it, or the word itself necessarily, but the idea that we are a bunch of oblivious children stumbling through taxes, long-term relationships, bills, feeding ourselves, and *gasp* responsibility, and that it's apparently funny

I have two specific gripes with this notion. The first is the idea that everyone needs to learn every trade skill which somehow is completely more important than classes that encourage critical thinking and outside-the-box problem-solving, and that learning all of these things (practical and theoretical) is supposed to be easy. I get it. Institutional education does not prepare anyone for "the real world" (don't get me started on that). We don't learn how to file our taxes, or clean out a sink drain, or (as mentioned by everyone and their mother) what the hell a mortgage is. (Easy definition: It's the loan you get to be able to purchase actual property because ain't nobody regular got the money to immediately drop on a house).

There are possible arguments for why these "adulting" topics aren't a part of the curriculum: There'd be some sort of conflict in the need for workers like plumbers, car mechanics, or accountants because everyone just deems themselves efficient without even considering the logistics, legalities and technicalities that come with working trade, Topics that are considered "useless" (i.e. Algebra) would have to be taken out of the curriculum which means less time spent developing abstract problem-solving skills, or equally as terrible, culture courses like the arts, dance, theatre or music would get less funding than it already does. Some adulthood transitioning classes are welcome, but they can't replace all of it. School isn't there to teach you how to survive; School is supposed to teach you how to live.

Especially now that we live in an age where information is readily available, there are a good number of existing resources that tell you, step-by-step, how to change a car tire (with videos!), or what to pack during an emergency snow storm. Destroy the idea that we have to be served all the things we "have" to know on a silver platter. I mean, God forbid we spend our incredibly important personal time learning how to create a monthly budget, and how to be okay with calling the doctor's office to set up an appointment, right?

(I cannot emphasize enough that I am speaking as a person with the privilege of opportunity addressing those of the same situation), these resources are available to me, and there is a degree of accountability in living a "good" life -that is, making the effort to know what you think you need to know, which is why I can't understand why people think it's entertaining to label themselves as "clueless", "unprepared", and all these other implicit adjectives that come to mind. To me, (and I acknowledge that it's horribly judgmental), I hear "lazy", and "entitled". I hear, "other people did not prepare me enough to transition into adulthood and I'm too much of a coward to take responsibility of my own life." Obvious complications, limitations, and financial technicalities aside, of course. When the world is so forthcoming towards you, why would you be so afraid to face it head on. Why is it acceptable to make excuses for yourself when you are a universe of possibilities? You are capable of awesome things without the need to talk yourself down, without the need to devalue your achievements by reducing it to a buzzword like "adulting".

I understand that this is me projecting my ideals and principles onto other people, and that really isn't fair of me to do. Saying, "you have to work for it" is so subjective, and relative to each own's situation, so really, my hope is just to elicit a positive change in mindset and perspective, however that may be. I just want whoever reading this to come into the discussion with an open mind, a critical eye, and an accepting heart. 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. What most people don't tell young adults is that no one really knows what they're doing. We're all just winging it and hoping for the best. I've heard people well into their 40s feeling like they're still drifting through life and barely passing the "adulting" test. And these are people will jobs and families. Drop anybody into an entirely new situation (whether it be a job loss, divorce, eviction, or something else) and few people know exactly what to do.

    So the concept of being bad at adulting isn't new. I find it comforting to know that everyone feels as lost as I am sometimes. That's also why I don't understand why older people keep getting on ~the millenial's~ cases. You were young once, you know what it was like. Minus the crippling student debt, bad economy, and dying environment.

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    1. I wonder if that's where the mid-life crisis thing roots from -the feeling that you /still/ don't know what you're doing even though you're expected to have worked it out 20 years ago. The ~ugh millenial~ argument always strikes me as odd, like older people expect everyone to act exactly the same as they did (and struggle through the exactly same things, as well) except we're all surrounded by all these things that are both new and different. I wonder if it's baby boomer jealousy, or maybe it's the manifestation of a (irrational or not) fear that as a generation, we're moving towards a path that sacrifices humanity for convenience.

      Maybe the idea of adulting is just another way to slow everyone from being too independent too fast, too detached from depending on each other too quickly -like a way to remind everyone that we're here for each other.

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