#adulting
January 6, 2016 3:52 PM   Subscribe

"In an age when the line between childhood and adulthood is blurrier than ever, what is it that makes people grown up?"
...if you think of the transition to “adulthood” as a collection of markers—getting a job, moving away from your parents, getting married, and having kids—for most of history, with the exception of the 1950s and 60s, people did not become adults any kind of predictable way.

And yet these are still the venerated markers of adulthood today, and when people take too long to acquire them, or eschew them all together, it becomes a reason to lament that no one is a grown-up. While bemoaning the habits and values of the youths is the eternal right of the olds, many young adults do still feel like kids trying on their parents’ shoes. [...]

Age alone does not an adult make. But what does? In the United States, people are getting married and having kids later in life, but those are just optional trappings of adulthood, not the thing itself. Psychologists talk of a period of prolonged adolescence, or emerging adulthood, that lasts into the 20s, but when have you emerged? What makes you finally, really an adult?

I set out to try to answer this to the best of my ability, but just to warn you up front: There is either no answer, or a variety of complex and multifaceted answers.
The Guardian - How do you know you've really become an adult? An illustrated essay
"This is the thing about the word “adulting”. It does not describe the act of being an adult. It describes the act of acting like an adult – enough, perhaps, to fool people... That’s the real difference: adults are merely children who commit to pretending."

Grammar Girl - 2014 Word of the Year: Adulting

Jezebel - You're Not 'Adulting,' You're Acting Your Fucking Age

89.3 KPCC (Pasadena, CA public radio) AirTalk - What does it mean to be 'adulting'? (~20 min. audio discussion)

Patheos - “Adulting” is an Indictment of Society, Not of Millennials

StatsCan - Canadian Social Trends: Delayed transitions of young adults
Young adults today have a big incentive to continue their schooling beyond secondary completion for economic reasons. People with university degrees have significantly higher earnings and considerably lower unemployment rates than high school graduates... Of course, a delayed exit from school has an impact on other transitions to adulthood. Although higher education enhances the chances of marriage, school enrolment impedes the first union formation, since most young people wait until they have finished university or college before they start thinking about marriage and parenthood. [...]

Today's young people face a labour market that earlier cohorts did not have to contend with: an increasing wage gap between newly hired employees and those with more experience; more temporary jobs for newly hired workers; and fewer male employees covered by registered pension plans, meaning that new hires are entirely responsible for saving for their own retirement without the backup of an employer sponsored pension plan. Instability in employment is reflected in the much faster growth in part-time employment. The shift from full-time lifetime employment that many young adults entered 30 years ago to a work environment offering more part-time work with fewer benefits has contributed to insecurity, especially among young men, and is a contributing factor to delays in family formation...

Many young adults continue to live with their parents not just because of the financial burden of paying for their postsecondary education, but also because they may be unemployed or working in a low-paying precarious job... While the labour market has changed and the duration and cost of postsecondary education have increased, other social factors have also contributed to delayed transitions. Gender roles within marriage changed. As women became more educated, their earnings increased and they began to rely on their own earning capacity and less on their partner's to determine whether they should remain in the labour market after marrying and having children.
Buzzfeed - 37 Moments Everyone Who Sucks At Adulting Will Immediately Recognize

KG Planner - "Adulting" Achievement Badges


previously on MeFi:
*Allie Brosh/Hyperbole & A Half - This Is Why I'll Never Be An Adult
*Kelly Williams Brown's "Adulting" blog - How to become a grown-up in 468 easy(ish) steps
*NYT op-ed "What You Learn In Your 40s" - There are no grown-ups
*NYT Magazine - The Death of Adulthood in American Culture
posted by flex (216 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm in my mid-40's. I started to feel old some time in the last couple of years. I still don't feel like an adult, though.
posted by dersins at 3:58 PM on January 6, 2016 [64 favorites]


I think adulthood is reached, at least in one way, when you can look at a cookie, think about how you'll feel in an hour, and decide to not eat that cookie.

Or decide to eat the cookie and say "fuck you body I'm an adult I do what I want."

I'll go RTFAs now.
posted by Tevin at 3:58 PM on January 6, 2016 [26 favorites]


Cookies are delicious, though.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:00 PM on January 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


I don't feel like an adult (I'm 42) but I do feel effing exhausted from taking care of my mom, handling my own shit, etc.,
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:03 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


I am nominally an adult because people call me an adult and treat me as an adult. Myself, I will be essentially a pre-adolescent for the rest of my days. Sixty-six years and counting...
posted by jim in austin at 4:05 PM on January 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


I felt like an adult for a little while. It was nice. Those days are over now it seems, but I miss it. Being or pretending to be a kid is overrated.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:06 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Jezebel - You're Not 'Adulting,' You're Acting Your Fucking Age:

"I am in no position to tell people to grow up and act responsibly. I am, however, in a position to tell people that they don’t deserve accolades once they finally do."

Ugh. Nobody is demanding accolades for fulfilling their responsibilities or taking care of their own lives. #adulting posts on Twitter or Tumblr are being shared with friends in your age group, commiserating about said responsibilities, encouraging themselves and each other to live up to them. I'm sure that 50 years ago, young adults hanging out in bars or restaurants' smoking sections had their own local slang to describe their changed lives. The internet has just made these things more visible.

Actually, 50 years ago would be the 1960s, a time when we had young adults hanging out in communes, playing music and doing psychedelic drugs. I'm not criticizing them for it, but that's far less adult behavior than filing your taxes and Tweeting about it.
posted by Rangi at 4:06 PM on January 6, 2016 [34 favorites]


Didn't RTFA yet. At 34, I don't feel like an adult at all but knowing that I actually get satisfaction from being on top of my finances proves I am one :(
posted by savitarka at 4:07 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I know I'm an adult because I can drink Scotch in my pillow fort.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:07 PM on January 6, 2016 [162 favorites]


I'm in my mid-40's. I started to feel old some time in the last couple of years. I still don't feel like an adult, though.

Right there with you.

I spent last night after dinner arguing plot points from The Force Awakens with my 10 year old. While I did the dishes. And I thought to myself: is this what being an adult looks like in the 21st century?
posted by nubs at 4:09 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Omg, I am such an adulting fail, but what is worse is that my teen - who isn't old enough to legally drive yet, does adulting much better than me. But at the same time, has enquired how she can support herself and travel the world without actually, you know, working.

I just assume everyone is fronting and some of us are more honest about it.
posted by saucysault at 4:09 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


For most of recorded history adults were the survivors of poverty and war. If that's what real adulthood was, I'll take adulting any day.

Besides, even my grandparents who killed people in wartime and squeezed small people out of their vaginas had hobbies and drank beers and joked and played games with their buds and everything married young couples today do. Grandpa Window even had a hipster beard back when it was just a hillbilly beard.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:11 PM on January 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


According to that Buzzfeed article, people basically live like Oscar the Grouch? I don't think I personally know anybody who lived like that as a young adult.

But yeah, as far as I can tell, "being an adult" means constantly feeling in danger of drowning but continuing to wade.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:11 PM on January 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


Whatever this is, I blame neoliberalism for it.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:11 PM on January 6, 2016 [21 favorites]


I'm sitting in an IT class with 49 undergraduates and I can now say for a fact that I AM A FUCKING ADULT. Holy shit this room full of actualfax children. The professor is literally explaining what rotary phones were. Help.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:12 PM on January 6, 2016 [139 favorites]


It's weird. Even though I was told they were 'things' as a child, and I expected them to be 'things' when I grew older; it's like 'childhood' and 'adulthood' are not actual 'things' at all. I'm starting to suspect that I am the actual same person I was at age three or four (or whenever I started forming coherent ideas and memories) that I am now, just older and with a whole bunch of experience. Don't let the teenager me know this though, or he'll mock me mercilessly and have some grand ideas about what I should be like now.
posted by Elmore at 4:12 PM on January 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


Also in high school my friend's dad drove our band around in his van and got drunk and laughed at our masturbation jokes ... and I realized recently that I am the age now that he was then. It all makes sense.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:13 PM on January 6, 2016 [17 favorites]


I think you're an adult when you get excited about your kids and you finishing off a bag of fresh produce with no waste. When that makes you as happy as new episodes of your favorite TV show coming out, you're an adult. Same if you don't have kids but relish using all your fresh produce without waste.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:14 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Count me in for "don't feel like an adult, but already feel old." Also, I would rather hang out with my girlfriend's kids and watch them play GTA than with my girlfriend's friends and listen to them talk about schools and real estate. But I have a home and a car and a job and a credit card to use for the local liquor store that delivers, so I guess I'm adult enough.
posted by ejs at 4:15 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


When I was a kid I didn't want to grow up. At 52, I think I may have succeeded.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:19 PM on January 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


Is it when you stop using adjectives as verbs?
posted by humboldt32 at 4:20 PM on January 6, 2016 [26 favorites]


One and only one thing makes me an adult: I realize now that all those people warning you to take care of your knees when you're young are RIGHT.
posted by barchan at 4:21 PM on January 6, 2016 [31 favorites]


The first time I ever felt like an adult was when I got pulled over and I knew FOR SURE that I had my license, registration, and proof of insurance in the car with me, and exactly where they all were. Then of course it turned out that my license had been suspended because I had gotten two speeding tickets in the same month from the same cop, only paid one of them, but thought I had paid them both. So that was short lived.

The most recent time I really truly felt like an adult was when I was sitting in the post-anaesthesia pediatric care unit, holding my daughter's hand while the nurses clicked and fussed with her oxygen tubing and nebulizer treatments, trying to get her oxygen levels back up after the surgery to remove the foreign body that had caused her lung to collapse. They were dictating their PACU rounding report on her condition, and they finished it up with "The patient is accompanied today by her mother, and they demonstrate a warm, caring, and supportive relationship. Both the patient and the caregiver show evidence of a clear understanding of their circumstances and strong emotional coping skills." I remember thinking "That is definitely the first time anyone has said that about anyone in this family."
posted by KathrynT at 4:22 PM on January 6, 2016 [149 favorites]


Is it when you stop using adjectives as verbs?

You misspelled "verbing nouns." HTH.
posted by dersins at 4:23 PM on January 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


Someone must be cutting onions, KathrynT.
posted by wotsac at 4:24 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


Key identifiers:

  • You hear a slang word, don't know what it means, and don't bother to ask because you don't give a shit.
  • Someone younger than you thinks your taste in music is "old."
  • You own something that you purchased that costs more than one of your paychecks.
  • You are the person your friends put in front of authorities when someone needs to explain what's going on when you're all wasted.
  • You don't mind sitting around a table and talking to other people vs. anything else that is not sitting around a table and talking.
  • ...


  • Oh, and that moment you realize that nobody is going to give you money, shelter or food for free. You're on your own, kid.
    posted by Chuffy at 4:28 PM on January 6, 2016 [25 favorites]


    I've felt like an adult since I was, like, 22 years old. What's the big deal?
    posted by zsazsa at 4:29 PM on January 6, 2016


    Why conflate "adulthood" with "having your shit together?"
    posted by prize bull octorok at 4:32 PM on January 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


    When your immediate reaction to a problem is to own it and try to fix it, rather than waiting for somebody else to fix it for you. You prioritise fixing these problems over your own personal recreational pleasure.

    No socks? You look for your damn socks.
    Dirty laundry? You wash your own damn laundry.
    Hungry? You cook your own damn dinner.
    Fridge empty? You go buy some damn groceries.
    No money? You go get yourself a damn job.

    You can live at home at 40 and still do all of these things.

    Also, you say 'damn' a lot.
    posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:32 PM on January 6, 2016 [37 favorites]


    * You are the person that your friend calls when he's in the ambulance on the way to the cardiac unit with a heart attack to ask you to pick up his iPhone charger and bring it to the hospital.
    posted by matildaben at 4:33 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


    Why conflate "adulthood" with "having your shit together?"

    I had my shit together before I was an adult...don't know that I would conflate them.
    posted by Chuffy at 4:33 PM on January 6, 2016


    Being a caregiver will make you grow up in a hot hurry.
    posted by datawrangler at 4:34 PM on January 6, 2016 [32 favorites]


    Adulthood is the point where you've stopped getting older but the rest of the world keeps getting younger.
    posted by dephlogisticated at 4:35 PM on January 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


    Oh, and if you want those kids to get off and stay off your damn lawn, you're definitely there.
    posted by Chuffy at 4:35 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    You are the person that your friend calls when he's in the ambulance

    The EMTs will let you make a phone call? They probably only did it because it makes a better story.
    posted by datawrangler at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Also, I knew that statcan report seemed familiar. It is from 2001 data. I would love to see the analysis of more recent data (skipping over the failed 2011 census). The gender differences are very interesting - especially the comparison that a male with FT employment in 2001 would spend 25% of his income on a mortgage at the median price of $134,000, compared to a male in 1971 spending 20% of his income (and, likely just his income as the wife stayed at home). I think the average house price across Canada is now $440,000(ish) but wages have not tripled in 15 years.
    posted by saucysault at 4:37 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


    Wikipedia sez adulthood is when a human being or other organism reaches sexual maturity. I think that is a specific set of physical characteristics, not a value judgement...for instance, I can be really immature when I'm foolin' around, but I'm foolin' around, so I'm mature.
    posted by Chuffy at 4:40 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


    My career failed, grad school was a disaster, almost everything I believed in turned out to be crap, I watched my father die right in front of me, and now I'm watching my mother slowly die from dementia with no help from the rest of the family. So basically, adulthood can fucking fuck off and fuck itself. I hate it and I'm done with it.
    posted by LastOfHisKind at 4:40 PM on January 6, 2016 [64 favorites]


    I'm so sorry LastOfHisKind. Adulthood has sucked for me too. I don't get why people feel the need to be so cruel to people who are struggling. I think people should get accolades just for surviving this really really tough world, just getting through the days and doing anything at all is really impressive and I don't think badly of those who aren't good at making it through this world. Well I guess since I am such a person it makes sense.
    posted by xarnop at 4:45 PM on January 6, 2016 [36 favorites]


    Yeah, screw all that*. I call adulthood, adapting to your circumstances. If you can squeak out a little project or way of living that means something to you, maybe connect with some people, that's to the good. Getting by is enough.

    *status signifiers.
    posted by cotton dress sock at 4:48 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


    I always thought it was tacitly acknowledged between everyone who uses the word "adulting" that it's kind of a send up of a cultural more the Atlantic article touches on:
    In fact, if you think of the transition to “adulthood” as a collection of markers—getting a job, moving away from your parents, getting married, and having kids—for most of history, with the exception of the 1950s and 60s, people did not become adults any kind of predictable way.
    I think probably anyone who was born before 1990 (and maybe after, I just don't really have any insight into what the messaging was like while growing up for people born much later than that) was presented with exactly that model as the gold standard, and furthermore was promised that its virtues were inherent and that the pursuit of its trappings made for a sure path to prosperity and happiness.

    At least for me, then, watching almost all of the exemplars of Adult Life in my family descending into alcoholism and addiction, destroying their marriages or just killing themselves really put that rhetoric into perspective. Maybe my family is exceptionally broken, but I'm sure there are a lot of people my age with similar experiences, and so there's a certain bitter humor when we meet one of the smaller markers like paying taxes. Like, here I am. Really living the fucking dream.
    posted by invitapriore at 4:51 PM on January 6, 2016 [24 favorites]


    You're grown up when you start loathing the young.
    posted by srboisvert at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


    One and only one thing makes me an adult: I realize now that all those people warning you to take care of your knees when you're young are RIGHT.

    Every adult says this to me and I want to do this but no one ever bothers including instructions. What does "taking care of my knees" even mean? Am I supposed to oil them every 100,000 steps or something?
    posted by Conspire at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [77 favorites]


    Also when you start calling them "the young".
    posted by srboisvert at 4:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than shopping at Costco.

    I think another big shift happened when my mom left my dad a year and a half ago and I started feeling like I didn't trust her judgement at all and thus stopped asking her advice and confiding in her. This all happened very shortly after my own wedding, so that's obviously a transition point too. However, the switch from being someone who was happy to share personal thoughts with my mother to now just telling her quick travel updates and what books I'm reading definitely felt like a growing up moment.

    However, my husband's out of town which means I will probably have popcorn for dinner, so, you know...
    posted by carolr at 4:55 PM on January 6, 2016 [17 favorites]


    I have recently come to decide that adulthood is, for me, hierarchical. Most of the time I am just me, but if I find myself around someone younger than me who needs my help, I can be an adult.

    So for me, any person who has their shit sufficiently together that they have the ability and the inclination to help someone younger than them out is the adult in that situation, and that is the only time that they are an adult. I recognize that there is a certain amount of privilege that goes into that definition, but adulthood has frankly always been a position of privilege.

    Help kids with their problems. Give them rides when they need them. Help a young person who has not yet had the benefit of twenty years of steady employment make rent. Offer good advice, and try not to be a total shit when they ignore it. Congratulations! You are the adult in that situation. When you aren't doing that, you can go back to being just you, and you don't have to give a shit about being designated an adult.
    posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:55 PM on January 6, 2016 [73 favorites]


    that moment you realize that nobody is going to give you money, shelter or food for free.

    I think that was the start of the process (and I do think it's a process, or at least an accumulation of habits) for me becoming an adult.

    I was 19 (or maybe 20?), living at home, and not really thinking much about that or about the future. One day my mom came to me and said that if I was going to continue living there, things were tight and she needed me to help with the cost of rent and groceries. At that very moment I realized, well shit, I guess I need to start being responsible for myself - and if I'm doing that I'm sure as hell not going to hang around and do it here! My living at home wasn't a premeditated mooch; being asked to contribute financially was simply the mental nudge I needed to realize I was an "adult" now and had to do the things adults do. So I got a job (not as impossible a task in 1980 as it apparently is now), saved up enough money for deposits and so on (ditto), and moved out.

    Ever since then, for me "being an adult" has been a continual process of skill-learning in terms of being responsible and self-sufficient.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 4:56 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


    What does "taking care of my knees" even mean?

    Not a damn thing unless you're, like, currently pounding on them with a hammer or something. I never mistreated my knees, but they're starting to be funny anyway. Abandon all hope. Seriously.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 5:00 PM on January 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


    Teenhood is when you start getting hair in odd places.

    Adulthood is when you start finding white ones.
    posted by sebastienbailard at 5:00 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


    I think I realized I was really an adult when I was asked out on dates by a 22 and a 24 year old (separately) and shuddered at the thought of dating children, who are legally adults themselves.
    posted by desjardins at 5:01 PM on January 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


    Also previously: OMG I'M THE ADULT.
    posted by MonkeyToes at 5:04 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    If the thought of pondering whether you're an adult or not gives you a mordant chuckle because the pressing weight of the burdens breaking your spine and the silent howls of the ghosts of everything you've lost won't hardly give you a moment's peace for such self-reflection and you know that everyone is flailing, everyone is adrift, and patting yourself on the back for being a grown-up is the coldest comfort you can imagine and then the mordant chuckle turns into a hacking cough because of your chronic bronchitis, then yes, you are #adulting
    posted by prize bull octorok at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2016 [36 favorites]


    Yeah, realizing you don't even have any family left whose sofa you could crash on for a year or two in a pinch if things went south really makes you feel like an adult, whether you want to or not.
    posted by saulgoodman at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


    Now that I've read some more articles and thought about it a little bit, I think adulthood is when you take over a gov't location you remember to bring your own snacks.
    posted by barchan at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2016 [54 favorites]


    What does "taking care of my knees" even mean?

    Don't do crap like this, for one.
    posted by cotton dress sock at 5:09 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    What does "taking care of my knees" even mean?

    I'm not really sure, I wasn't listening. I think maybe it meant don't jump off 10 ft rocks when you're really drunk and go to the doctor when you have weird knee pain instead of ignoring it until it goes away or possibly just be thankful you have knees?
    posted by barchan at 5:11 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    . Yeah, realizing you don't even have any family left whose sofa you could crash on for a year or two in a pinch if things went south really makes you feel like an adult, whether you want to or not.

    There are pre-teens who've had that realization. Adulthood is not "the state of understanding that your life sucks".
    posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:12 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


    Not everyone's adrift. Rich people get to plan exactly where they're going to be in a year or two's time, or even farther ahead, if they want to. The rest of us are left to contend with the infantilizing tendencies of capitalism.

    There are pre-teens who've had that realization.

    You don't have to tell me. Who do you think my drinking buddies in middle school were?
    posted by saulgoodman at 5:15 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


    i can't even successfully be responsible for my own bedtime

    i'm 37
    posted by poffin boffin at 5:15 PM on January 6, 2016 [50 favorites]


    Being a graduate student has sort of stalled my progression to Adult Maturity, it feels. I'm not making very much money. I'm not getting married. I'm not having a kid. I don't have a job. I don't have very much authority in my day-to-day existence. And people constantly think I'm much younger than I am (maybe someday I'll stop being carded and hit on by 19-year-olds?). On the one hand, it's kind of awesome to be turning 28 in a few days and realizing that there's still a lot of Life Markers left for me to accomplish. On the other hand, shit. I'm turning 28 in a few days. I'm not married, I don't have kids, I don't have a real job, I don't have a house, I rely on my parents for monetary support occasionally, I get carded every time I try to consume alcohol, I've spent the past 4 months obsessed with a Broadway musical, and I still sleep with a stuffed rabbit.

    I guess, on the upside, I really appreciate a good cup of coffee and a nap, which were both markers of Boring and Gross Adulthood when I was a kid. And ... no grey hair yet.
    posted by ChuraChura at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2016 [18 favorites]


    For me it was not just feeling responsible for myself, but in actually stepping up and taking care of things.

    A lot of times I still feel young, though -- I know younger people who are so dreary and stilted. That kind of thing is a state of mind, not a matter of years.
    posted by Dip Flash at 5:18 PM on January 6, 2016


    I'm sitting in an IT class with 49 undergraduates and I can now say for a fact that I AM A FUCKING ADULT. Holy shit this room full of actualfax children. The professor is literally explaining what rotary phones were. Help.

    so basically you know you're an adult when you're ignoring the lecture by posting on metafilter instead of the neopets' writer's forum, right
    posted by runt at 5:18 PM on January 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


    What does "taking care of my knees" even mean?

    * wear kneepads, all the time
    * don't walk up or down stairs, slither down them, worm-like
    * avoid dangerous sports like football, soccer, rugby, marathon running, muay thai, and shirling
    * remember to give your knees some "knee time" once in a while. treat them to some tea and a buster keaton movie from the library
    * on public transportation, place duffel bags on either side of your legs while seated. if anyone questions you using up too much space, make angry eye contact and say "it's for my knees! I have a medical condition!" (it's okay to half-lie like this; you're preventing future medical knee conditions so it's pretty much the same thing!)
    * drain your knees of toxic humors and unquiet blood by tapping a ha'penny nail under the kneecap once every six months
    posted by prize bull octorok at 5:19 PM on January 6, 2016 [132 favorites]


    I'm a 32 year old with a pregnant wife and I just started feeling like an adult, mostly because I've stopped drinking so much.

    That Jezbel article makes me want to sneak out get drunk and blow the college fund money on video games, though. Seriously, not every single trend fits into a narrative about Everybody Gets a Trophy Day.
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:20 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


    my path to adulthood
    posted by gatorae at 5:20 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I had my adulthood epiphany one terrible winter night a couple of years ago. I was hanging out on my couch, watching the teevee..... and heard a scrabbling in the kitchen..... and up from behind the washing machine pops a large rodent head.... a LARGE RODENT HEAD. I scream. New rat housemate goes all, "oh sorry, my bad - I thought you were asleep!" and pops back down behind the washer. He spends some time calculating the coldness of the outside temperatures and the tastiness of easily available cat-kibble and decides he's comfortable enough to make himself at home. Comes back out - as I take two steps towards him with more yelling, "go-way, rat!" Like a cranky toddler to another toddler trying to steal his favorite toy. Rat decides that now is not a good time for me and he takes off...... now I officially have a RAT PROBLEM. (Did I mention that I own a house, have a kid and have been at the same job for many years? Yup - that's me) I spend a good 20 minutes having a meltdown about a rat. (A LARGE COUNTRY RAT) Meeses? Okay - cats keep those away - but that rat was easily the size of my largest cat. (Quit scoffing, city dwellers, this was a rat, in my house, acting like his name was on the deed. Dude wasn't even paying rent or contributing to groceries) My first thoughts are, of course, geez who do I call?? And then I realized, grown-ups handle their own rats. Pull your shit together, Gyre, stop sniveling, and go to the S-mart and get some rat-killin' gear. And I did, and I took care of him, and then he smelled bad in some hidden location outside the house for a bit and it was over. And I realized that I was a boring-ass, home-owning, rat-killing grown-up.
    posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 5:23 PM on January 6, 2016 [17 favorites]


    "I held up my hands and tried to look at them – I knew the veins stood out on their backs now. It is when those veins stand out that one is a man." - Gene Wolfe, Shadow of the Torturer.
    posted by larrybob at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


    I don't get this. Honestly. I don't feel like a fraud. I'm not putting up a front. I don't assume everyone else is putting up a front. I just assume that I and all other people, no matter what their age, are basically clueless except maybe in one or two areas they know a bunch about. But I always assumed that, for as long as I can recall. I had no epiphany. There was no revelation. Why would I think adulthood meant competence? Who were your parents? Mine are very smart people, but they weren't freaking James Bond. I don't know, maybe I thought they had it totally together when I was a little kid, it's possible I don't remember, but even if so don't most people get over that when they're teenagers? Isn't that kind of supposed to be the whole teenage thing?
    posted by kyrademon at 5:41 PM on January 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


    Everybody is always making it up as they go along, and everybody is full of shit. Phase 1 of adulthood is really understanding that. Phase 2 of adulthood is making some kind of peace with it. Phase 3 of adulthood is maybe pitching in to clean up some of that endless shit. Phase 4 of adulthood is relearning everything you thought you understood about Phases 1-3. Phase 5 of adulthood is being very, very sure of yourself, but not being able to remember what you were just feeling so damn smug about. Phase 6 of adulthood is the eternal reflection of endless, still waters.
    posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 5:44 PM on January 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


    Nothing makes me feel more like an adult than shopping at Costco.

    One time I was batch-cooking some stew, using tomato sauce I'd bulk-bought from Costco, using pre-caramelized onion I'd slow-cooked and kept in the freezer, and individually portioned into zip-locs, and felt a deep glow of satisfaction at seeing my thrifty, healthy, tasty bundles stacked on the countertops. That felt pretty adult.
    posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:45 PM on January 6, 2016 [12 favorites]


    Adulthood is when you realize all the adults in your life were just pretending to be adults. Then you start pretending to be an adult.
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:49 PM on January 6, 2016 [35 favorites]


    Getting a job, a mortgage, paying taxes, all that felt like faking being an adult. Even getting married was like Let's pretend to be grown-ups together. But when we had a kid of our own, that felt like adulthood was now a requirement, not a choice. Here is someone whose livelihood depends on having an adult around. Becoming a parent didn't make me wiser or more insightful, it's just there's this one responsibility (well, two of em in our case) that can't be ignored.

    This isn't a proscription for or against having children. It isn't for everyone, and not everyone really learns to take responsibility for their children.
    posted by Loudmax at 5:51 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Oh, and divorce mediation. That felt ridiculously adult. Although ironically the whole post-separation time pretty much plunged my brain back into what felt suspiciously like a heady stew of adolescent brain chemicals. If there's one thing I'll say about really bad breakups, there is no better time to listen to wallow-y, dramatic music, except for the entirety of teenagerdom.
    posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:53 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    So far my understanding of how adulthood differs from my current graduate student life is that you drink alcohol during activities not usually appropriate for alcohol, and that you're in constant excruciating knee pain.
    posted by Conspire at 5:55 PM on January 6, 2016 [15 favorites]


    Yeah - the knee pain is why all the alcohol.
    posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 5:56 PM on January 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


    And the back pain... and the leg pain... and the...
    posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 5:56 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


    ...liver pain.
    posted by This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things at 5:57 PM on January 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


    Oh yeah it's definitely also when you get out of bed and you can hear an old man groaning and then a few seconds later you realize the groan is coming from you.
    posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:59 PM on January 6, 2016 [11 favorites]


    A middle-aged (my-aged) friend has a 13 year old and a great job, but refuses to "adult." She posts on Facebook about the (poor) cat's box never being cleaned, and no food in the house, or clean laundry, and she and the kid are playing video games and ordering pizza. Today she posts about being sick with the flu, and there's no food or clean sheets or anything that makes life human and decent. Because cooking and housework and keeping your shit together and anything that's not TV or games is BORING. ADULT. DRUDGERY.

    Today I am home, also with the flu. In a clean flat with the soup I made and frozez just as "cold season" hit and tea and eucalyptus bath salts and clean sheets and GODDAMN. IT IS GOOD TO BE AN ADULT.
    posted by 2soxy4mypuppet at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2016 [40 favorites]


    When I was 18 and graduated high school and my family moved away from me. That's when I knew that shit was on. Honestly, so much in my childhood was bad (most of a christmas my family spent hiding under the neighbors dining table because the old man was in a drunken rage) that adulthood was "OK, I'm starting a band and spending my time my way!"
    posted by evilDoug at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


    My uncle once said World War Two ripped the innocence from him but quiting booze forced him to grow.
    posted by clavdivs at 6:04 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    At the age of 16, my grandmother, who lived to be 96, dropped out of high school and literally ran away with the circus to be an acrobat. Not long before she died, she told me that the weirdest thing about old age was that, in her head, she still felt like she was a 16-year-old who wanted to run away with the circus.

    I am unclear on whether my grandmother got it all wrong or understood something very profound.
    posted by /\/\/\/ at 7:04 PM on January 6, 2016 [60 favorites]


    I just really hate the word "adulting." I don't know why, because it seems useful enough, but it gives me the same feeling of outright disgust that "sammich" does. It feels so infantile!
    posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:04 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    Sitting here with a heating pad against my lower back which has decided that it's not interested in working anymore. And I can't have a drink because I'm taking steroids to reduce the swelling. Definitely feeling like I've passed right into old man stage. On the plus side, my knees are fine.
    posted by octothorpe at 7:12 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I've only read the first article, but I still love a bumper sticker my dad bought 10 years ago. It read: "Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible Adult"
    posted by JoeXIII007 at 7:13 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    It took me until my early 40s (okay, maybe until even therapy yesterday) to learn that being a grown-ass adult is not always about saying "I want this" and then figuring out how to get it. It's equally, or maybe even more, about knowing to say "Oh hell no I do not want this" and figuring out how to nope away. You qualify for premium adult membership, I think, when you're able to not worry about how the nope-ing away from this thing you don't want is going to make others feel.
    posted by mudpuppie at 7:19 PM on January 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


    Let me preface by saying I'm revolted by people in their late 30s and 40s saying they feel like children, haven't “found themselves,”or don't know what they want to do when they “grow up.”

    I went to medical school in my early 20s. By the age of 26 I was an intern in San Francisco during the lingering shadow of HIV/AIDS. Early in the year I was called to the bedside of a man younger than I am now late at night. His partner was at the bedside, clearly a long relationship, the man clearly had HIV as well. I told him his partner was dead.


    I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Would my grandmothers have looked around for someone to give her a high five when she got off her ass and resolved a tedious insurance issue at 31? I don't know, I doubt it? I was at the hospital a few weeks ago looking at the doctors and nurses eating lunch and I thought, could I hang with these folks? Could I have made it here if I was more ambitious when I was little? I could have gotten better grades and done the work and I could be sitting with them and nobody would question what I was doing there. It blew my mind.

    But the other thing is that I'm 31 and it feels like my brain keeps maturing all the time. There are all kinds of things I can think about and understand now that were totally beyond me in high school & college and even 5 years ago. And it's not like I was less smart or did less thinking back then, I did nothing but grind my brain all the time. My brain just had to gain more XP before certain parts could unlock.

    The other thing I was thinking about is how you know when you're adult when you realize if you want to have a nice Christmas, you have to be the one who does all the work, and do the cost-benefit analysis therein.
    posted by bleep at 7:23 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    As far as I'm concerned, you are not an adult until you are a caregiver for a human who is 100% dependent on you for their survival--child or your parent. Period. Until you're trapped in that special hell, you ain't a real adult because otherwise, you could escape.

    I really dread the day I'm stuck doing caregiving because there's nobody else to do it and I'm TERRIBLE at it.

    As for taking care of your knees, it boils down to "for the love of god, don't get a knee injury." I still gloat inside that I've managed to never do that.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 7:23 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


    I think it's when you figure out that doing the un-fun routine chores of life routinely a little task at a time is way easier than waiting until they become giant projects. You know, like laundry before you're out of clothes, or dishes before the sink is full, even when nobody will know if you did or not.
    posted by ctmf at 7:25 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Yes yes, blah blah, what I care about is how it's pronounced.

    uh DULL ting?
    ADD ul ting?
    add DUL ting?

    posted by not_on_display at 7:41 PM on January 6, 2016


    I'm too busy smarting from all the teenaging I did to have time to adult.
    posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:46 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    As far as I'm concerned, you are not an adult until you are a caregiver for a human who is 100% dependent on you for their survival--child or your parent.

    This is oddly timely for me. My dad is undergoing cancer treatment and my mom is a mess. During the holidays she, my older brother, and I went out to lunch, where we were able to talk about general issues surrounding my dad in a way that we wouldn't have been able to if he'd been in the room.

    Every time I chimed in, my mom looked at me with such attentiveness and interest and, I don't know, such a thirst for someone to give her answers, that it startled me.

    That was truly and honestly the first time ever I felt as adult as one of my parents, and the first time I didn't fundamentally feel like a kid around one of my parents.

    This is something most of us will end up going through or have gone through. I get that. I'm at that age where most of my friends and acquaintances are dealing with aging parents. But to recognize, in the moment, the very first time we crossed that line? It was a clock-stopping mic-drop moment.

    I didn't like it, if I'm honest. It was scary and sad and I just wanted my mom or dad to be able to make things better.
    posted by mudpuppie at 7:48 PM on January 6, 2016 [44 favorites]


    A lot of these adulting examples strike me as similar to what someone with depression would have a difficult time performing (As an aside, I know everyone is different and there are people with depression that can still mostly function). But I remember depression topics where folks mention having difficulty with taking out the trash, doing the dishes, or planning anything while being depressed.

    I don't know if this is just a random coincidence, or if a lot of people are just depressed (or have another mental disorder or condition) and are just kind of trying to put a funny joke on it by calling it "adulting".
    posted by FJT at 7:54 PM on January 6, 2016 [28 favorites]


    So far my understanding of how adulthood differs from my current graduate student life is that you drink alcohol during activities not usually appropriate for alcohol..

    Your authority is not recognized in Fort Clynelish. Good day.
    posted by louche mustachio at 7:55 PM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


    My family has actually given me instructions. A lot of it is making sure that your knees are not exposed to too extreme weather and being mindful of extreme movement. Basically in winter, wear those leggings underneath your pants, not sheer tights, so the cold doesn't sink into your joints and make them stiff. If your lower extremities are feeling very cold, soak your feet in hot water and wrap yourself in lots of blankets so you can be warmed thoroughly through.

    When lifting heavy things, use good posture that will help protect your posture and joints. Also, make sure to do very proactive stretching that helps warm up all of your joints, and promote good posture and balance. (Tai Chi is perfect for this. I am fairly sure that Tai Chi is partially developed for the whole idea of "taking care of your knees/joints", condensed in a martial art form. ) But otherwise, stay warm and stay limber all the time.

    Anecdota: One of the cutest moments was when I was in the car with my grandmother, and my bare knees were exposed to the airconditioning vent in the center of the car. She put her hands over my knees over the entire time, since she wanted to help take care of my knees and make sure that they don't get too cold. That's a succinct example of what it all means.
    posted by yueliang at 8:00 PM on January 6, 2016 [19 favorites]


    Yes, mudpuppy, I understand. I recently had to shepard my father through a brain cancer diagnosis quickly followed by pneumonia, life support, and death; having to be the one that advocated, and discussed things with the doctors, and made decisions - so that my mother could not have that responsibility (and later carry regret) was very sobering. She was so lost, and it was so profound to see that even someone in their seventies sometimes wants to turn their back on adulting just as a coping mechanism when life throws you more shit than you can handle.
    posted by saucysault at 8:24 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


    Does adulthood have to be a binary thing? It's pretty clear that our human brains adore cramming blurry complex spectrummy things into tight simple binaries (see: gender, consciousness, sentience, etc ad nauseum). I mean, take me for an example:

    -At 17 when I got my driver's license and started driving myself to appointments and dual enrollment classes the next town over and concerts and things, I was definitely more of an adult than I was when I was like, 14.
    -On the other hand, yesterday I was thumbing through an old journal from that time, and I'm definitely way more of an adult now at 22 than that guy, no question.
    -I am way less of an adult now than folks with 10 or 20 more years of life experience under their belts, and I am just now beginning to fathom how much of a difference 5 or 10 years can make w/r/t maturity and general life wisdom.

    I don't know if there's a point at which you for sure become a "full adult," but it definitely seems to be more complex than kid/not kid. If I had to label myself on the spectrum, I'd probably go with "young adult" or something.
    posted by Gymnopedist at 8:25 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Education: check. Homeowner: check. First divorce: check. Career that I've been in for 9 years: yep, that too. No kids, but I do have a puppy.

    When I was in my late 20s and always feeling pysically bad, I was admonished and told I really should have a GP and I should see them when needed. Went and oh hey your liver is jacked up how about you don't drink so much and you sleep more and actually take care of yourself? So I was like "I should be more responsible."

    Quit drinking so hard and continued to exercise and started seeing a therapist.

    Not too long after that my mother had a massive stroke. I spent the 2 years before she died from complications from kidney failure arguing with her and my dad about trying to make their quality of life better. I'm 4 hours away, and have been since 2008. My family life hasn't been the best, but obligations you know.

    Working with my dad to help him get through mom's death a few days after my birthday in October and he has a stroke a few days before Christmas. Seizures too, so now he can't drive for the next few months.

    No siblings, and a partner that's less involved than I'd prefer but he doesn't do stress well.

    I'm an adult. It's okay. I like that no one can tell me "because I said so" and I have to listen to them, and I can eat ice cream and cereal for dinner if I want to. I'm responsible, so I won't. But I *could.*
    posted by sara is disenchanted at 8:39 PM on January 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


    One of my most favorite recent stories comes from packing up a weekend-long event, where a good friend of mine yelped "help, help, I need an adult" (she's in her 30s) and our other vendor friend's mom (20ish years older) came over and volunteered both help and a hug.

    She was being kinda sarcastic when she cried out for an adult but it was super-cute to see one step up anyway.
    posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:48 PM on January 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


    Sitting in a bar with three guys, including my husband, noting that all of us had lost our fathers in the past three years, one of the guys said "Well, Freud said “A man doesn’t become a man till his father dies.” I used to feel like I became an adult when I gave birth to my first child. After my father's death in October, though, replace "man" with "adult" in the Freud, and now I know I'm an adult.
    posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 8:50 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I traded the anxiety of my youth for the exhaustion of old age.

    I'm just too damn old and tired to be anxious anymore. It's just too much work.
    posted by littlewater at 9:24 PM on January 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


    The list of things that "everyone" "must" have, do, or keep up with to be considered an adult anymore is exhausting.
    posted by ob1quixote at 9:30 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    deaaaath.

    My dad died several years ago, but that's wasn't the thing that made me think "whelp, gotta be a grownup now." the thing that made me think "whelp, gotta be a grownup now" was when my niece died, of a type of cancer that is absolutely, positively, never supposed to kill people, while being treated in the best cancer research facility in the world. but nevertheless the "this will never kill you" tumor went all weird unexpectedly... and then weirder... and then basically lit her on fire from the inside.

    My sister fell apart. I had to hold myself together enough to give her the love she needed to keep breathing; hours spent holding her in her bed while she sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Hours holding her while we sat on the couch and marathoned Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt I think three times in a row. then making fun of her ex-husband via text message while he was in the room, without giving half a shit whether or not he knew we were laughing at him. High fiving her when she proudly announced how long it had been since she had showered. "WOO! NINE DAYS IN THE SAME CLOTHES WITHOUT A SHOWER! LIFETIME RECORD! I STINK! GIMME A HIGH FIVE!"

    every time I got away from her house to get coffee I called my wife and sobbed at her. I'm pretty sure every time we got off the phone she immediately called her dad and started crying at him.

    so that's what being a grownup means to me. being caught up in an unbreakable chain of grief with all the other grownups, all of us totally unable to cope with what the world gives us, but at least unable to cope with it together.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:38 PM on January 6, 2016 [91 favorites]


    You're not really an adult until you've fought a tiger shark with a nail file while reciting the Mabinogion in the original Welsh. You must do this clad only in a loincloth you wove yourself from wool from your herd of sheep you have spent four years rearing in the Pyrenees.

    I will shower down contempt on anyone who has failed to do these things because otherwise I'd have to confront that my life might have involved wasted effort and bad luck or poor decisions.
    posted by winna at 9:42 PM on January 6, 2016 [25 favorites]


    Reading this thread has reminded me of an article I read a few years ago (possibly via Metafilter?), which - if I recall correctly - put forth the theory that, sort of culturally speaking, liberals were pro-choice on the premise that people shouldn't necessarily be forced to have an unplanned baby until they were adult enough and prepared to be decent parents, while conservatives were pro-life due to the notion that nothing pushes someone to "become an adult" like having to take care of a child.

    I still don't know how I feel about that theory, but it's interesting to contemplate.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 9:45 PM on January 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


    I have always associated "having your shit together" with "being an adult". I have never, ever felt like an adult.
    posted by schroedinger at 10:01 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Grownup checkboxes:

    I made soup from scratch, without a recipe, and it tasted like a harmonious, coherent thing and not just a bunch of things all thrown together.

    I closed a bank account, rather than (as so many of my friends have) just walking away from a negative balance.

    I recognize my early-20s questions in younger people, and know at least some of the answers.

    (Points off for:

    Writing a song about how I know I'm an adult "because I can make my own soup" and singing it to myself in a singsongy little-kid voice

    Making dumb sexual or scatological puns about the name of the bank

    Proclaiming from on high about my grownuppy observations about shit I probably don't really know, just cuz I'm older and they'll think I know what I'm talking about)
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:07 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


    And that '50s-'60s window of adulthood markers means I get to add another item to the list of things McCarthyism screwed up.
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:13 PM on January 6, 2016


    "Basically in winter, wear those leggings underneath your pants, not sheer tights, so the cold doesn't sink into your joints and make them stiff."

    Oh lord, I not only wear fleece leggings, I have freaking sweatpants on also under my pants. I waddle like a duck in winter from all the clothes I have on. So I guess I'm good?

    In other news of adulting, I am actually planning events for people this year (I need the resume boost because all the jobs want you to do event planning now) and I'm pretty proud that I got so much shit taken care of so far this week on that.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 10:25 PM on January 6, 2016


    so much of the stuff above is about learning to conform and learning to be responsible and reliable.

    Which is fine. Nevertheless, I hold that that stuff above is how you know you are middle-aged, and more to the point middle-aged in a very particular stratum of a very particular society.

    Being an adult is something different, and something not quite so culturally bound. Being an adult is knowing that both conforming and nonconforming are meaningless and that shared food and water and shelter and love are the only things of value we will ever have. Being an adult means knowing you don't own anything, that ownership is vanity mixed with cruelty.

    Being an adult means that we know that we can never, ever, ever be responsible or reliable enough to meet the horrible storm the world throws at us, not alone and not together. Being an adult is being a wild animal in a world of wild animals. Being an adult means knowing that the world moves us and not the other way around.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:27 PM on January 6, 2016 [27 favorites]


    Oh lord, I not only wear fleece leggings, I have freaking sweatpants on also under my pants. I waddle like a duck in winter from all the clothes I have on. So I guess I'm good?

    @jenfullmoon - My family would be proud! That is definitely adulting.
    posted by yueliang at 10:29 PM on January 6, 2016


    When you throw up from drinking too much and clean it up before going to bed. That's being an adult.
    posted by Literaryhero at 10:34 PM on January 6, 2016 [9 favorites]


    Oh lord, I not only wear fleece leggings, I have freaking sweatpants on also under my pants.

    i have my Winter Pants Index which i txt every morning to my nearby friends

    today was just a 1 pantser but yesterday was almost a 3 pantser
    posted by poffin boffin at 10:35 PM on January 6, 2016 [20 favorites]


    At 7, I was a gravely mature studious adult. At 22. my friends called me grandma and looked to me for advice and direction. Now at 62, I am to be found freewheeling my wheelchair down the hill singing "Taco taco, man. I wanna eat a taco, man!" to the tune of Macho Man at the top of my lungs. I'm doing it rong.
    posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:48 PM on January 6, 2016 [59 favorites]


    > At 7, I was a gravely mature studious adult. At 22. my friends called me grandma and looked to me for advice and direction. Now at 62, I am to be found freewheeling my wheelchair down the hill singing "Taco taco, man. I wanna eat a taco, man!" to the tune of Macho Man at the top of my lungs. I'm doing it rong.
    posted by a humble nudibranch at 10:48 PM on January 6 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

    Thread's over. we found the grown-up.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:52 PM on January 6, 2016 [34 favorites]


    With my brother and I being late-60s kids born into the suburbs to pre-McCarthy parents (pre-WWII, even), we've basically never had any realistic adult models. Between the expectations to Cleaver-up our lives and Happy Days & Family Ties providing the only counterpoint to that, it's been a little weird.
    posted by rhizome at 11:09 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I feel a number of markers probably help, but a big one for me is this recollection that I recently had with a good friend. We thought it was so weird that we were turned 30. How did that happen?

    It ends up that "recently" was 12 years ago, and we're 42 now. It seems so recen. My observation is that time not only speeds up as you get older, but that it is gauged, in part, by the internal fortitude that has been developed to handle and sustain life, such that time starts to "flow" from one day, week, month, year to another. Until you get the hang of it, life kicks you in the pants in a way that makes it feel like it drags a bit. Something of growing up is learning how to take life on its terms and be okay with it in a way that doesn't create excessive anxiety.

    That's neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being an adult, but I find that mixed within the "flow" is things like kids and a job and an ability to give support to the person I've committed to spending my life with. Those things create a texture within the flow of life that feels meaningful and my participation is a necessary condition to its success, or its downfall, as distinct from my childhood obligations.

    And within all of that, I detect a posture in myself that becomes slightly more outword looking to those who need a way, versus inward looking to my own personal desires. They intertwine and intermix in a mutually beneficial relationship, but there's something essential in finding that mutuality that was different than childhood on its own terms.

    So I guess adulthood to me is defined very much by a general ability to flourish in life, or to keep at it if it's difficult, along with a commitment to others in a way that is self-giving and indispensable. When this happens, life creates a stream that carries you along more quickly than you expected, and with it more sanctification to let "life be life" and to take it on your own terms, while doing what you can to maximize flourishing within your realm of experience.
    posted by SpacemanStix at 11:17 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I'm having a rare moment of feeling like an adult, because I'm turning 40 tomorrow. I just ate a few fist fulls of sugar free chocolate chips and can't think of anything I want or want to do for my birthday. Not helping is that I skipped family Christmas to have a lump removed from my head, though the outpatient surgery nurses sent me a card to thank me for being an "awesome" patient. (I was the only patient scheduled, have no medical anxiety issues, and a double board certified surgeon was bringing 28 years of experience to the table to remove a sebaceous cyst. It was fun. I'd never had general anaesthesia before. The way my head was shaved and my forehead swelled, I totally looked like I was undergoing species reassignment to Klingon!)

    I wish I enjoyed feeling like an adult. I'm not, and I don't do it well, though a few people claim that I was born middle-aged. I do sometimes like the results of acting like one, so I try a bit.

    Also, having to go on blood pressure meds makes you feel old.
    posted by monopas at 11:33 PM on January 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


    As for taking care of your knees, it boils down to "for the love of god, don't get a knee injury."

    Thankfully mine seem to be in pretty good shape despite this, but generally speaking - NO YOU DO *NOT* NEED TO RUN A MARATHON. It is basically spending your old-age good knees for a not-really-necessary societally rubber-stamped badge of badassitude. The psychological benefits were great, especially during training, when you suddenly find that, yes, you *are* one of those people who gets up on a Sunday morning, runs 20 miles, then comes home and has a nice brunch, but I wouldn't be surprised to pay for that later. Also I am no longer that guy, and am mildly baffled as to where on earth that level of discipline came from.
    posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:40 PM on January 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


    Personally, I think it's when you discover The Container Store and know, deep in your bones, that you need to do a long shopping trip there.
    posted by A dead Quaker at 11:41 PM on January 6, 2016 [22 favorites]


    Back in third grade, I was sitting on the beach one day with my Mom, thinking about how weird some stuff going on with my friends at school made me feel. This is a paraphrase of course, but I said something like, "Mom, I think I'm way smarter and know way more things than I did when I was really little, but I feel way more confused now then I ever did back then."

    She put down her book and laughed and laughed and laughed. She said, "That never changes."
    posted by EatTheWeak at 12:13 AM on January 7, 2016 [20 favorites]


    I caught a lumbar hernia about a month and a half ago (I'm not washing my hands enough I guess???) and my wife and I both agreed that the cause behind it was "because I turned thirty."

    so I guess that makes me an adult now I guess because hernias are definitely an Old Person Malady
    posted by DoctorFedora at 12:39 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I mentioned this years ago when he was still kicking around, but Roger Ebert struck me as an ideal Adult, capital intended.

    Thoughtful, caring, curious, empathetic, open-minded, even-keeled, confident of your abilities tempered with the knowledge that you barely know anything in the big scheme of things. More tolerant of mistakes, yours and others, less tolerant of bigotry and hatred. There are a lot of old people who aren't very adult and a lot of young people who are.

    I think too it's trying to be aware and thankful for the others who make your life easier, and trying to pass it forward. I rarely succeed at being an adult, but I know it when I see it.
    posted by maxwelton at 12:51 AM on January 7, 2016 [14 favorites]


    I think I realized I was really an adult when I was asked out on dates by a 22 and a 24 year old (separately) and shuddered at the thought of dating children, who are legally adults themselves.
    You also know who the non-adults around you are because they say things like "go on you're free now you can do these things" or "where's the harm" or "it'll be fun".

    No it would not be fun, it would be like eating an entire bag of sugar.
    posted by fullerine at 12:54 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Till a man has accomplished twelve books of poetry, the same is not taken for want of poetry but is forced away. No man is taken till a black hole is hollowed in the world to the depth of his two oxters and he put into it to gaze from it with his lonely head and nothing to him but his shield and a stick of hazel. Then must nine warriors fly their spears at him, one with the other and together. If he be spear-holed past his shield, he is not taken for want of shield-skill. […] Neck-high sticks he must pass by vaulting, knee-high sticks by stooping. With the eyelids to him stitched to the fringe of his eye-bags, he must be run by Finn's people through the bogs and the marsh-swamps of Erin with two odorous prickle-backed hogs ham-tied and asleep in the seat of his hempen drawers. If he sink beneath a peat-swamp or lose a hog, he is not accepted of Finn's people. For five days he must sit on the brow of a cold hill with twelve-pointed stag-antlers hidden in his seat, without food or music or chessmen. If he cry out or eat grass-stalks or desist from the constant recital of sweet poetry and melodious Irish, he is not taken but is wounded. When pursued by a host, he must stick a spear in the world and hide behind it and vanish in its narrow shelter or he is not taken for want of sorcery. […] One hundred head of cattle he must accomodate with wisdom about his person when walking all Erin, the half about his armpits and the half about his trews, his mouth never halting from the discoursing of sweet poetry. One thousand rams he must sequester about his trunks with no offence to the men of Erin, or he is unknown to Finn. He must swiftly milk a fat cow and carry milk-pail and cow for twenty years in the seat of his drawers. […] Unless he accomplishes these feats he is not wanted of Finn. But if he do them all and be skilful, he is of Finn's people.


    I'm working on it.
    posted by bokane at 12:59 AM on January 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


    The Daily Show just featured a clip from ABC News' coverage of the new Texas open-carry gun laws. One of the proud gun-owners shown in the footage had bought a holster with a Superman logo on it. Perhaps he wanted one which matched his underoos?
    posted by Paul Slade at 1:04 AM on January 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


    For me, something like what Parasite Unseen described, being an adult comes when you have to be the responsible one, when your role is not looking out for yourself but supporting the good of the group, not as, say, the designated driver for an evening, but in a sustained enough way that it starts to shift your goals and identity. If everyone is warm, fed, rested, and traveled from Point A to Point B uninjured; if everyone's paychecks got paid and everyone's workstation is suitably ergonomic; if you feel responsible for making sure all that happens; if you spend your free time thinking about how that will happen repeatedly for the foreseeable future -- that's adulthood to me these days. When you care if the car is insured. When you realize how happy it makes you just to see others clean, fed, and sleeping peacefully.

    It doesn't mean never eating a bag of rice crackers for dinner. But it does mean doing it only when you're not setting a bad example in the process. It does mean doing it only when you know it won't cause some sugar-crash headache that keeps you from doing what needs done that night.

    Along similar lines as You Can't Tip A Buick, I think that's when you start seeing who else handles that weight and how you can take turns leaning on each other when need be. It's when you start seeing who needs to lean on you, including all the capital-A adults you've been leaning on your whole life.

    I suspect there is a phase beyond all this when you say "hey, maybe I don't need all this responsibility," "hey, I think someone else could host this year," "maybe it would be good for everyone if I delegated some of these leadership roles" and start trying to step back and have more freedom. I'm not sure if that phase feels like "being an adult" or something else entirely. I'm still very much trying to get the hang of the first kind of adulthood.
    posted by salvia at 1:17 AM on January 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


    It strikes me that being an adult means you've stopped giving a shit about whether you've hit any other particular outside indicators for adulthood, and that so long as you are keeping yourself alive and functional, then you're doing okay.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:35 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    At 3:15AM last night, as I was being forcefully vomited upon for the third time in as many days by an iridescently unhappy toddler, my train of thought went something like:

    "Truly, this is the face of responsibility. I am most definitely An Adult now."
    "Wait, this scene feels really familiar. Probably because all of my practice holding someone's hair back as they vomit came when I was a 19-year-old undergrad."

    Plus ça change.
    posted by Mayor West at 5:26 AM on January 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


    Sometimes I feel like I'm regressing on the whole adult thing. I used to be a reasonably responsible married person with a proper job in my 20s. Now in my mid-30s, I'm basically a big mess. What's the hashtag for that?
    posted by dominik at 5:28 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    I think people should get accolades just for surviving this really really tough world, just getting through the days and doing anything at all is really impressive and I don't think badly of those who aren't good at making it through this world.

    I completely agree.

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day. It said "Adults on board. We want to live, too." It made me realize that for some reason being an adult in this world means you are expected to sacrifice everything, be always the caregiver, and never get any consideration until you are elderly and most people around you start seeing you as a child again, only this time you are obsolete.

    It's weird how most people seem to think that everyone deserves compassion, protection and understanding until they are 18. After you are 18 however, you are on your own and worthy of everyone's disapproval unless you shut down emotionally and accept a mountain of overwhelming responsibilities without so much as a flinch. This of course earns you respect, but you deserve no compassion or empathy.

    It's like people can't be compassionate and respectful at the same time. You get either or, but never both.
    posted by Tarumba at 5:48 AM on January 7, 2016 [32 favorites]


    I take responsibility. For the house, the car, the stuff. I plan ahead. I care about nutrition, and the budget. Too late to worry about the knees; arthritis ensures that all joints are unhappy pretty much all the time.

    As a result, when life got too fucked up, I was able to Run Away From Home. Took a bunch of time out of my life and went on road trips. I will have to work further into my retirement to pay for it - thanks, budget and savings. It's harder to get a job at 60 when you haven't worked in 2 years, well, okay. Being a skilled, experienced adult means I have coping skills, and also means I know how to have fun with way fewer unpleasant repercussions after.
    posted by theora55 at 5:55 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    The only time I felt like an adult was when my mom needed brain surgery and couldn't care for herself. Now that she's better, the feeling of adulthood has worn off.

    My 30th birthday is in just over a couple weeks, and I'm looking forward to putting my 20s behind me. I'm not expecting being 30 to make me feel like an adult, but it feels like something. I guess incremental change can still happen.
    posted by teponaztli at 6:04 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I've gone from not knowing what I want to do when I grow up (which I've felt as late as, oh, age 41) to daydreaming about retiring early and getting off the treadmill. Does that count?

    I often have the feeling like I'm not the senior person in the room when I actually am. My supervisor at work is, if I had to guess, 15 years younger than I am and has significantly less experience at actually writing code, but more at this company and its legacy code. I have zero interest in leadership myself, nor any career ambition other than to not let the bastards get me down and never to be poor again.
    posted by Foosnark at 6:05 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    If you're at this point in the thread, in Boston and still haven't gotten it, you can take classes to be an adult.
    posted by sammyo at 6:15 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Anyone else see "adulting" as a form of self-depreciating humor or sarcasm?
    posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:16 AM on January 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


    I felt really grown up when I moved out of the dorm and was living in an apartment for the first time and realized that I could eat ice cream for breakfast and no one could stop me.

    I became an adult when there was half a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the freezer and I chose to eat fiber cereal for breakfast instead.
    posted by coppermoss at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


    Anyone else see "adulting" as a form of self-depreciating humor or sarcasm?

    I see it more as self-soothing when faced with the myriad of responsibilities of life while deep down you know it could all go to shit in 5 minutes.
    posted by Tarumba at 6:30 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Anyone else see "adulting" as a form of self-depreciating humor or sarcasm?

    Me!! Me!

    I dunno, I think that one can be "adult" in some areas of life while being pretty childish in others. My parents are really old-school adults in most ways that matter, actually. I've had good examples - they do what needs to be done, they defer gratification, they are not afraid to be authoritative when necessary, they are not afraid to assert that somethings must not be. (My mother is so ill now that she can't really do most of those things, but she certainly faced the first stages of her illness with a lot of adultness, back when she could make decisions.)

    I'm much less adult than they are in most areas of my life, partly because I'm not a great person, partly because I am not straight and cis (which helped them fit into adulthood), partly because I saw some of the costs that they incurred via adulting and thought the price too high.

    For instance, both of them lived in places they didn't like at all and worked jobs they didn't like at all - for virtually their entire careers, because that was what adults with families did in order to minimize financial risk. They are both lonely people, because their values are radically different from those of their community (but would be normal left-liberal community values - they'd be right at home in a nice college town, for instance). Neither of them got to make too much of the talents that they actually cared about - both are smart people and were perfectly good [upper-working-class skilled functionaries] , but both are also creative people, and that got pushed aside pretty much entirely.

    And they never had any time, because doing all the adult things eats all your time - you have a job with a commute, you take perfect care of the house and yard, you clean all the things every week, you take care of two children, and you don't have time. They did a great job with all the adult things, far better than I do with any of the adult things, and I look at them and I feel sad that they didn't have time for friendships or hobbies or the serious creative work they were capable of.

    I know that almost any life looked at closely is a bit tragic, because that's the human condition. But I also regret that my parents didn't get to do a lot of stuff they would have enjoyed and been good at, and I feel relief when I look at my peers with children when I see that while they are perhaps less adult, they're also better integrated into a community and more fulfilled as people.

    I look at my parents and I'm not sure where the line between "doing the right thing" and "sucking it up kind of unnecessarily to the point where you're hurting yourself" gets drawn.

    I guess that for me adulthood is being able to recognize that a thing has to be done and then doing it [or making sure that it's done] regardless of inconvenience or risk. Which is why one can be an adult in the "eating vegetables" or "saving money" sense and not adult at all in the "having a difficult conversation in order to protect a person for whose wellbeing I am responsible" sense, or vice versa.
    posted by Frowner at 6:34 AM on January 7, 2016 [17 favorites]


    I was a layabout college dropout still living in a college town when I was 25 and by 27 I'd moved to a "big" city, had a kid, bought a house* and gotten married (in that order). Adulthood hit me quick.

    *In Pittsburgh in 1990 you could buy a six bedroom 3000 square foot Edwardian mini-mansion for $40k so buying one at the age of 26 wasn't really that big an accomplishment.
    posted by octothorpe at 6:42 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Stages of Adulthood:
    1. Paying your own bills.
    2. Getting married.
    3. Staying married, after arguing about bills.
    4. Paying your kids' bills.
    5. Paying your parents' bills.
    6. Retirement.
    posted by prepmonkey at 6:55 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I'm about to be 42 and everything I've cared most about and spent nearly the last two decades of life working for fell apart completely just when I managed to shake myself free of a work situation that most definitely wasn't healthy for me or my family (and to overcome an addictive disorder a little over three years ago). Now because things in my family are completely unsettled, I don't even know what I'm supposed to be planning for or trying to do with my life anymore, so it's frustrating. I'd like to be able to feel like an adult, but I really can't right now because to me, being an adult is all about keeping life on an even keel, planning ahead, and making choices that are as responsible as possible (while still allowing yourself enough fun and recreation to stay well and sane). There's a lot of social pressure on me right now in all kinds of different directions, but all I really want to do is play house again, because that's what makes me feel like I'm doing my job and not being a selfish dick (with two kids that still need me very much). It's not up to me what my life is or means anymore though. It's frustrating but what the hell. Nothing I can do. My wife has all the power over mine and my kids' future right now and that's just how it is.
    posted by saulgoodman at 7:08 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I see a lot of the "adulting" comments on Facebook and such as a recognition that a lot of the scut work it takes to keep a self and house and family running is boring and tedious and sometimes difficult (especially if mental-health issues or physical disabilities are mixed in), and as pushing back on the 1950s housewife/current-day Pinterest idea of everything being effortless and fun and "Why, yes, I *love* spending several hours deep-cleaning my bathrooms and then making handmade personalized thank-you notes and then posing my child's Elf on the Shelf in whimsical and creative ways!" I do think there was more of a sense in the past that such activities was not automatically personally fulfilling, and some of the sarcastic "Look at me, adulting!" now might be aligned with that.
    posted by jaguar at 7:09 AM on January 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


    I was a layabout college dropout still living in a college town when I was 25 and by 27 I'd moved to a "big" city, had a kid, bought a house* and gotten married (in that order). Adulthood hit me quick.

    Friend of mine is a Mountie, who went straight from graduating university to the RCMP Academy. That was also the same year he got married and his wife gave birth to twins. He remarked to me once, "The day I turned 22 I was a phys ed major living in my parents' attic. The day I turned 23, I was a cop in Manitoba with a wife and two kids. Big year."
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:19 AM on January 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


    I'm married, have kids, am financially independent from my parents. But there are some things I don't care about, don't understand why anyone does care about, but feel like they are things that Real Adults do care about. Don't get me wrong- I do these things, but only because I know other people care about them, not because I care about them. A few examples:

    Thank you notes. I do care about thanking and being thanked, but why not just say "thank you"? Why does anyone want a note, that becomes one more piece of paper you have to deal with? And some people seem to think it somehow doesn't count if it isn't handwritten. Handwriting is harder to read than typing- why would that be desirable in any way?

    Dressing up for occasions. I'd wear a T-shirt and sweatpants all the time if I could. I dress up basically when I think not doing so will piss somebody off (and it's somebody I care about pissing off). I don't understand why anyone cares how anybody else is dressed.

    Clutter. I'm not talking about filth here- I understand that that attracts bugs and such. But books stacked around don't do that. I'm also not talking about enough clutter to make it hard to do stuff. But even then, clutter seems to be unacceptable to some people.
    posted by Anne Neville at 7:19 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    There are a couple of things that really made me feel like an adult. Perhaps the most important one happened when I was about 30 and during the course of some conversation with my wife I thought, "Man, when I was 25, I was really an idiot." Then I thought back to when I was 25 and realized that I felt the same way when I was 25 about my 20 year old self. When I was 20, we ALL know that my 15 year-old self was a complete and total moron who thought he had it all figured out.

    I realized that five years from now, I'm always going to think my younger self was an idiot and as long as I keep trying to be smarter, I'll always be right. Therefore, right now I'm an idiot and that will always be true too. I think it's generally true for everyone. I also know that I've impressed people with my knowledge and expertise and they think I'm some kind of genius but I don't feel nearly as smart as others make me out to be. So maybe, just maybe, we're all idiots, no one really knows what they're doing. Everyone else isn't the confident, smart, capable person that they appear to be, they're idiots doing the best they can just like me!

    So I realized that feeling like an adult, at least when you're younger, isn't what makes you feel like an adult, it's realizing that none of my peers feels like an adult but they are adults all the same.

    The more fun ones for me were buying a new bookshelf (instead of used or a hand-me-down). I can't really explain it beyond that. It just seemed like a thing that only adults do.

    The last I can sum up as, "Being an adult means realizing that you can have cake and ice cream for dinner, but you don't want to." We do occasionally have breakfast food (omelettes, pancakes, french toast, etc.) for dinner and I'm not sure that's all that different.
    posted by VTX at 7:47 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    I've always heard/thought that you're an adult when you get to the point of understanding your parents as more-or-less ordinary human beings, with flaws and talents that any human being might have; and overcoming any sense of unfairness you might have been subject to. I've noticed that most people who are dependent on inherited money never quite get to that point.
    posted by mmiddle at 8:08 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    The Daily Show just featured a clip from ABC News' coverage of the new Texas open-carry gun laws. One of the proud gun-owners shown in the footage had bought a holster with a Superman logo on it. Perhaps he wanted one which matched his underoos?

    I was wearing Superman pajamas (actually a onesie) with a matching bathrobe when I read this comment this morning.
    posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:13 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I walk through the door at work feeling like I'm young and stupid and then someone will talk to me and I'll feel like I'm old and stupid. I could pretty much write the same self pitying entries in my diary now as I did when I was 14, but I don't own a diary apart from the one I write my shift times in. I've let some of my bad habits slide because I simply can't afford them any more, not because I was able to use wisdom or self discipline to logic myself into not being such an irredeemable fuckup. My children think I'm clever in exactly the same way I thought (and still do think) my Dad was clever - reading a lot is excellent for getting away with that but I know that at least in my case it's just a front.

    I compare myself all the time to what my parents were like when they were my age or younger and it's really quite depressing. Sometimes I find myself shouting at a cloud and looking for faces in it at the same time which is confusing to everyone, probably. I am an adult but I don't think I'll ever feel like one. I'm in the process of skipping that bit altogether and just getting old, it seems.
    posted by h00py at 8:16 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Now in my mid-30s, I'm basically a big mess. What's the hashtag for that?

    #Life.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 8:22 AM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    All this talk of taking care of your knees talk has me sad. A few months ago, at age 39, I went on a jumping pillow at an apple picking/corn maze/petting zoo farm with some friends. It didn't go well.

    Today in about 5 hours I will be seeing my orthopedist and likely deciding that my torn ACL from the jumping pillow has not reached an acceptable level of stability with physical therapy alone, and will be scheduling surgery.

    So I guess if anyone's asking, part of being an adult/taking care of your knees is not jumping on jumping pillows (or probably bouncy castles or trampolines) in your late 30s. Sigh.
    posted by misskaz at 8:31 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Someone I know once remarked on "that stage of life where every time you try to play a sport you hurt yourself." He was sporting a sling from tearing his rotator cuff in a softball game at the time. I don't really see that as a marker of adulthood, though, since that doesn't set in until a little later (hopefully).
    posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:37 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    You become an adult when you realize there are no adults.
    posted by lowtide at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


    I'd like to be able to feel like an adult, but I really can't right now because to me, being an adult is all about keeping life on an even keel, planning ahead, and making choices that are as responsible as possible

    I don't think that's a mistaken point of view, necessarily, but I'd amend it to say that being an adult is doing that when you're able, and learning to accept the fact that you're not always able to do so, because Life is inherently chaotic and unstable.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I've always heard/thought that you're an adult when you get to the point of understanding your parents as more-or-less ordinary human beings, with flaws and talents that any human being might have; and overcoming any sense of unfairness you might have been subject to.

    I'm halfway there. I guess that's good for 48? (I'm legally responsible for my mother now, so maybe that's a bonus and I'm 3/4 of the way there.)
    posted by immlass at 8:52 AM on January 7, 2016


    I had lunch recently with two women who've been my friends for nearly 30 years, and I was kind of dreading it because, well, I was afraid of being an #adulting cliche in the face of actual adults.

    One has many many kids, as in, several more than average--she's been a mom for 13 years. Married for 10. Owns an enormous home on acreage. Has a self-directed career in her passion. Has the skills to survive splendidly if accidentally transplanted to pioneer days. Not without her own struggles, definitely, but such adult struggles--aging parent care, health issues that feel to me like Adult health issues, affording braces for her kids.

    The other is also long-married, expecting her first child, enjoying a semi-famous career and nervous about settling down with a baby after a decade spent living abroad in at least 7 different countries, traveling for her fabulous job, etc. She's worried about aging out of her looks-centric industry, but only a little, because her husband is substantially wealthy, and she has an expensive degree that will always find her other work.

    And at one point, after they had both given the run-down on their lives, they turned to me and said, pointedly, "so...what do you, do, exactly." And I decided to swallow my culturally-ingrained embarrassment to reply:

    "Whatever the hell I want, pretty much."

    Fundamentally, though, whatever the rifts between our three lifestyles, the thing that makes us feel like adults is having someone-not-our-moms who has known us for 30 years.
    posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:52 AM on January 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


    I'm 57 and I recently mentioned to a friend of mine that I was thinking of moving house. We discussed the pros and cons of this for moment, and then she added "plus, of course you might not be able to manage the stairs". She wasn't joking, wasn't trying to be ironic or anything like that, just raising what seemed an obvious point to her but one which had never occurred to me till that moment: I was now at the age when people wondered if I'd be wiser buying somewhere all on one level.

    Some people say your own idea of old age will always be set at ten years on from where you are now. Maybe adulthood's like that.
    posted by Paul Slade at 8:56 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Old age = older than your parents. It's a moving target, which is how 35 goes from "OMG so old" to "wait, I'm the adult?" to "who is this child and when is the real doctor coming?"
    posted by Flannery Culp at 9:37 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I started feeling twinges of "hmm, I'm not as young as I used to be" 6 years ago around age 49, but what really made me feel Old was realizing earlier this year that, in 3 years, my son will be 30! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE
    posted by Greg_Ace at 9:51 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I'm 43, and I legitimately consider myself an adult, even though sometimes I still feel like a nervous, unconfident 15 year old about things.

    You know that "Married Life"* sequence in Up! where Carl and Ellie break the Paradise Falls glass jar for the first time to fix the car tire? They're not crying, they just shrug their shoulders, wince, and get on with it. As someone who's broken that jar MANY times for un-fun things, that's being an adult.

    As is going to funerals because now death is regularly stalking your peers' parents. As is saying, "Yes, I still sleep with a stuffed animal because I sleep better with it and, honestly, I don't care what people think. Sleep's important."

    *Google at your own risk. Tear-inducing.
    posted by kimberussell at 9:52 AM on January 7, 2016


    KQED's Forum is doing an hour on When Did You Become an Adult? It's just about to play live, so I assume the audio will be available at that link a little later.
    posted by jaguar at 10:04 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    One of the proud gun-owners shown in the footage had bought a holster with a Superman logo on it.

    God, that would annoy Superman so much.
    posted by EatTheWeak at 10:10 AM on January 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


    i'm 27 and have a steady decent job and pay all my bills and own a car and have a cat but i pretty much never feel like an "adult" except when i go to costco to buy things other than alcohol

    almost conversely, the other time i feel most like an adult is when i go to my neighborhood bar after work and the bartender and all the daytime regulars know my name and say hi (my "cheers" version of adulting i guess)
    posted by burgerrr at 10:16 AM on January 7, 2016


    You are an adult when you must file an income tax form yearly
    posted by Postroad at 10:21 AM on January 7, 2016


    I'm pretty solidly adult, having passed 50 recently, but I use the word 'adulting' in casual conversation, because I find it a great shorthand way to indicate 'tasks that are odious but which I have to put on my big-girl pants and deal with'. Starting the January process of dealing with tax stuff that's due by end of the month? 'adulting.' Playing more Fallout New Vegas because I finished the main quest but didn't even meet the dog, even though I need to do said tax stuff? 'failing at adulting'
    posted by rmd1023 at 10:50 AM on January 7, 2016


    Anyone else see "adulting" as a form of self-depreciating humor or sarcasm?

    I’m assuming you’re talking about the term itself, and yes, I think it was meant that way at first. But like many things it then spreads and is used by people dead seriously.
    posted by bongo_x at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2016


    almost conversely, the other time i feel most like an adult is when i go to my neighborhood bar after work and the bartender and all the daytime regulars know my name and say hi (my "cheers" version of adulting i guess)

    Yeah, I felt this way at my neighborhood bar when I realized all the bartenders there knew what I get every time. Like, I've Made It.
    posted by invitapriore at 11:03 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I know I'm an adult because I can drink Scotch in my pillow fort.

    Or hide under a tarp with my gun.
    posted by Oddly at 11:56 AM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I do think there was more of a sense in the past that such activities was not automatically personally fulfilling

    I mean, I don't think that's true. A lot of housewives were living lives of quiet desperation, and their husbands didn't seem to give it much thought.
    posted by Automocar at 11:59 AM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    My parents still treat me like a child because (I assume) I am not married and don't have kids. If I'm like "sorry I'm juggling a lot of things right now, can't talk " they're like OOH so BUSY what are you SO BUSY doing? etc. And if I do anything remotely adult like pay taxes or schedule doctor appointments which I never don't do my mom is like BIG GIRL!

    It really creeps me out when people put stuff about their kids on Facebook all "where does the time go?" and "I wish they could be babies FOREVER" because that is so damn weird and I feel like my mom just wants to talk about things I did when I was three or five so she's the version of those people 30 years later.

    People are supposed to grow up, whatever that means to you, and hell no it doesn't HAVE to mean marriage and children. Where are these adult men I am supposed to have these children with? I haven't met very many of them.
    posted by sweetkid at 12:06 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    What does "taking care of my knees" even mean?

    Not a damn thing unless you're, like, currently pounding on them with a hammer or something.


    Well, I've no idea if it's what was meant, but if you're any sort of serious cyclist you can definitely do damage to your knees.

    *Ears*, on the other hand, definitely bear looking after. In my 20s, too much loud music through phones and going to gigs and coming home with ringing ears (or even deaf) means I'll be looking at hearing aids fairly soon.
    posted by 43rdAnd9th at 12:46 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    For me it was not just feeling responsible for myself, but in actually stepping up and taking care of things.

    Yep... as others have said, an attitude that "it's up to me", and not looking to others to sort things out for you.

    A lot of times I still feel young, though -- I know younger people who are so dreary and stilted. That kind of thing is a state of mind, not a matter of years.

    Absolutely. I have this sort-of-theory that everyone has a natural age. I remember kids at school who were just waiting to be 45... old and boring in attitude while still in their teens. And I've met very elderly people whose outlook on life could belong to a 20 year old, and whose ability to live life is limited only by the wearing out of their bodies. I'm hoping to be one of those, although I do have battles with my inner curmudgeon.
    posted by 43rdAnd9th at 12:52 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    *Ears*, on the other hand, definitely bear looking after.

    QFT.
    posted by Greg_Ace at 1:00 PM on January 7, 2016


    I don't remember who said it, but the poster above who said that it may be an in-joke for depressives is on the money, at least amongst my friends w/mental health issues. The Jezebel writer got it so wrong and missed the point of the comedy of having a ribbon for putting your pants on, complete with a triumphant stick figure doing the Olympic medalist pose.

    It's most definitely self-deprecating humor: "I don't normally do shit, so here's this one basic normal thing I did. Yay Me!" I think that joke extends to the erm, "normal" community as well.

    Also, I wish/hope the metric of having kids would go away, not because it doesn't require maturity and sacrifice, but as a point of proving maturity, and because gee, what else am I doing with my life. Because there are some real fuckups and monsters having kids for god knows what reason. I know there are many perfectly well-adjusted folks who have kids because they want to and this is great, but no one should ever just have kids 'just because that's what grownups do'. What a horrible reason to bring a human into the world.
    posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 1:08 PM on January 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


    *Ears*, on the other hand, definitely bear looking after.

    oh yeah that's the other thing that makes me feel like an adult - wearing ear plugs at shows now
    posted by burgerrr at 1:14 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I don't remember who said it, but the poster above who said that it may be an in-joke for depressives is on the money, at least amongst my friends w/mental health issues. The Jezebel writer got it so wrong and missed the point of the comedy of having a ribbon for putting your pants on, complete with a triumphant stick figure doing the Olympic medalist pose.

    That's a bit where I was going. I just assume that most people dropping the comment are the sort that "adult" most days of the week, but might be snarking on themselves because today is a bit harder than usual.
    posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:27 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


    Adult is people being intimidated by or even respectful to you but inside you feel as confused as you were at 16 and probably will forever.
    posted by emjaybee at 2:08 PM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Visiting family has been weird, because my sister and brother in law just had a baby, and now everyone's, including me, is a parent, uncle, grandparent, or whatever. Also weird because I saw some high school friends and realized we'd known each other for 15 years. Then saw friends I met in middle school, and realized it had been 20.

    When I was 19 and working at a video store, we would put things on a big TV mounted high in the store, just to keep things interesting. I was playing DVDs of Futurama, and a very proper, very DC, wealthy older woman approached me just to say "you know you're watching a cartoon, right?" Which was true, and so I said "why do you ask?"

    And she said "well, not many adults do."

    So it just occurred to me that maybe she was only there to test my adulthood, and I passed because I didn't chuck a whole bunch of empty DVD cases at her like I wanted to. Maybe I've been an adult ever since then and I never realized.
    posted by teponaztli at 2:19 PM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


    As a serious-minded 6 year old, I made a confession (raised Catholic, ugh) that I had committed adultery. The priest asked me if I knew what adultery was and I said, "It's when you're a kid but you act like an adult." He told me not to confess that again. I still continued to act like a little adult but I stopped confessing.
    posted by a humble nudibranch at 2:36 PM on January 7, 2016 [24 favorites]


    Note to self: compare/contrast "adulting" with "parenting". To parent, to be a parent; to adult, to be an adult.
    posted by XtinaS at 2:43 PM on January 7, 2016


    Child VTX put off doing the shit that needs doing so he can be lazy, play video games, and otherwise eff around.

    Adult VTX, gets all the shit that needs doing done as quickly and efficiently as possible...so that he can get back to being lazy, playing video games, and otherwise eff'ing around.

    Everyone should also be careful not to confuse the subsets of "adult" with just being an adult. All successful adults are adults and all old person adults are adults but you don't have to be successful or feel like an old person to be adult.
    posted by VTX at 3:26 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Note to self: compare/contrast "adulting" with "parenting". To parent, to be a parent; to adult, to be an adult.

    A friend and I were discussing how childish our parents were getting in their old age.
    posted by sweetkid at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    so there's so much stuff here that defines adulthood as making oneself reliably legible to and submissive to capital — a paycheck, a steady job, savings, savings you're willing to spend on emergencies instead of your own desires, a bank account, shelter, car, driver's license.

    I am going to (predictably) say that genuine adulthood requires, certainly, recognizing that we can't resist the oppressive force of capital over our lives, not by ourselves, no more than we can fight back the Pacific Ocean, but also recognizing that being punished by capital by being denied food or shelter or love or access to your own time doesn't make you any less of an adult. If you cannot afford a car, you are no less of an adult for it. If you cannot afford a mortgage, you are no less of an adult for it. If you are denied employment, that doesn't strip you of your status as an adult. but if you can scrap out space to share food and drink and warmth and love with your fellow suffering humans — or just accept these things when others offer to share them with you — you're an adult.

    Some of the best adults I know are homeless freegans. All that shit about bank accounts and mortgages and driver's licenses is at best a stumbling block in the way to learning how to be an adult. Being an adult, a real adult, means understanding that all of those vanities1 are problems you have to deal with or get over before you can do the real work of adulting, rather than themselves being signs of adult status.

    If you think you're an adult because you have possession of all the right toys and perform all the right rituals in the right order, you have missed the point of adulthood altogether. It's not so clean and simple as that.

    Moreover, if you have those toys and rituals — houses and cars and jobs — as your gold standard for adulthood, you run the risk of relating to your fellow adults as if they were failed adults, or even as if they were children. it's a dangerous, dangerous, morally corrosive thing to identify adulthood with the possession of things.

    1: quick guess which my favorite book of the Old Testament is.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:58 PM on January 7, 2016 [25 favorites]


    I think there's a lot of confusion between being an adult and being a no-fun, boring stick-in-the-mud. Yeah if we want to get places in life we often have to put on our Professional Act and costume, but does it really make you more of an adult to stop playing video games, watching cartoons, listening to angry loud music, wearing t-shirts and jeans, going out on occasion and getting drunk with friends, going to concerts, etc? Hell no. You can move to the suburbs and wear slacks and have a perfectly cared for lawn that no one's allowed to walk on and complain about all that damned racket the neighbours' kids make if that's what makes you finally feel like you're wearing big boy pants. I'll keep doing what I do. And we can both secretly and silently judge each other, like adults.
    posted by Hoopo at 4:33 PM on January 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Yeah if we want to get places in life we often have to put on our Professional Act and costume, but does it really make you more of an adult to stop playing video games, watching cartoons, listening to angry loud music, wearing t-shirts and jeans, going out on occasion and getting drunk with friends, going to concerts, etc? Hell no.

    I use a roughly equivalent version of this as my mantra during the occasional days I take off work to do acid and listen to abrasive music all day.
    posted by invitapriore at 4:37 PM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Probably should have posted that under a sockpuppet.
    posted by invitapriore at 4:37 PM on January 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


    It seems like every time I start to feel like an adult, I visit my hometown for Christmas and see all my friends and cousins who are married with kids and immediately I'm back to being that shy awkward teenager who can't get a date.
    posted by downtohisturtles at 4:46 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]



    And at one point, after they had both given the run-down on their lives, they turned to me and said, pointedly, "so...what do you, do, exactly." And I decided to swallow my culturally-ingrained embarrassment to reply:

    "Whatever the hell I want, pretty much."



    The best part of aging is when you stop giving a fuck.

    The fucks you gave just start leaving your body, and eventually, if your systems are functioning normally, you have zero fucks left to give.
    posted by louche mustachio at 5:19 PM on January 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


    That can't be true, given the amount of AskMes about parents obsessing over children's weddings, grandchildren, etc.
    posted by sweetkid at 5:35 PM on January 7, 2016


    Being an adult, a real adult, means understanding that all of those vanities1 are problems you have to deal with or get over before you can do the real work of adulting, rather than themselves being signs of adult status.
    Yes on this. Because I think we've all known people who meet the external standards yet are so screwed up and/or corrupt in pursuing them but they justify any and all dodgy shortcuts taken because, hey, nice car/house/job. Buick is so right- we need better markers for personal development than this.

    I wish our culture put more emphasis on being a whole person with integrity who has decided not to pass on whatever damage you got in your childhood. That was sort of my rant on not having kids 'Just Because Adults Do It'. Broken adults are not made whole by having children, they just break their children in a multitude of ways.

    On second thought, if you're going to remain emotionally/spiritually stunted and go for only external validation, it's probably better that you focus on a car or house and not a kid. You can't psychologically damage a BMW.
    posted by GospelofWesleyWillis at 5:42 PM on January 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


    "eventually, if your systems are functioning normally, you have zero fucks left to give."

    Back to working on my "Behold the field in which I grow my fucks" cross stitch again....
    posted by jenfullmoon at 5:59 PM on January 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


    So far my understanding of how adulthood differs from my current graduate student life is that you drink alcohol during activities not usually appropriate for alcohol, and that you're in constant excruciating knee pain.

    Delightfully, my graduate student life includes the excruciating knee pain due to some stupid injury or other I incurred during fieldwork.

    Truly I am living the dream
    posted by pemberkins at 6:11 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    It occurred to me today that I have moments of being an adult. Like when the nurse at the hospital asks my mom if she had a bowel movement today and I don't immediately start laughing.

    My advice to everyone is to try your best to poop on the regular if you're hospitalized because they take it very seriously because not pooping can be bad. You should also poop regularly at home, too. Just FYI.
    posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:48 PM on January 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


    Also when you start calling them "the young".

    When they call you "the olds".


    I was an adult a long time ago, but at 60+, I'm still working on growing up.

    My grandkids occasionally ask me, "When you die, can I have ... (that thing.)
    Some how that makes me feel like what happened here? I just finished late adolescence, and now I'm old? Where did the middle adult part go?
    posted by BlueHorse at 8:19 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


    My advice to everyone is to try your best to poop on the regular if you're hospitalized because they take it very seriously because not pooping can be bad. You should also poop regularly at home, too. Just FYI.

    I tell you. My littlest sibling feels like he ought to grow up because he thinks and talks so much about poop, and I'm like, naw kid, that's how you know you're already grown. Poop is important.
    posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:07 PM on January 7, 2016


    "eventually, if your systems are functioning normally, you have zero fucks left to give."

    Yeah, I understand that can be liberating, but I'm also wondering if this is tied to the older generations being racist, sexist, or just generally shitty to people. And by "wondering", I mean this is one of those things that I fear about getting older.
    posted by FJT at 11:26 PM on January 7, 2016


    Speaking as a 38 year old who lives with his parents as their caretaker, I'm not sure -anyone- in the house is an adult.
    posted by Archelaus at 1:51 AM on January 8, 2016


    That can't be true, given the amount of AskMes about parents obsessing over children's weddings, grandchildren, etc.

    The things that are important you you are things you care about, the things that you do that other people care about are fucks are given. So yeah, if you're racist, that means you stop giving a fuck if people care that you're racist. But if you're not, it means you don't give a fuck that it makes someone else uncomfortable when you call them out on their racism.

    You might care that your child enjoys their wedding day, but no fucks are given to anything beyond that. So you can give them advice like, "Who gives a shit what other people expect? It's your wedding, they can have their wedding any way they like."


    ...but does it really make you more of an adult to stop playing video games...

    These days I mostly play online multiplayer games using VOIP software. If I had a nickel for every time I could hear someone else's kid over their mic because they are in dad's lap while they play, well, I would have a LOT of nickels. It's so normal that no one even notices anymore.
    posted by VTX at 6:17 AM on January 8, 2016


    Adulthood is the state you achieve when a retreat into the infantile is something you can choose to do, and choose to stop doing when it has accomplished what you needed from it, instead of being an involuntary default.
    posted by sonascope at 6:22 AM on January 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


    I'm in my fifties and still play video games and know lots of middle-aged gamers.
    posted by octothorpe at 6:25 AM on January 8, 2016


    I'm in my fifties and still play video games and know lots of middle-aged gamers.

    Purely anecdotally, based just on men I know at work and socially, basically everyone under about 40 or 45 plays video games, but very few who are in the late 40s or older. I've wondered if that tracks with the timeline of one of the early game platforms (Atari maybe?) or if it is just a quirk of the people I know.
    posted by Dip Flash at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


    I'm a 50 year old woman, and while Valve has had my undying love for years and years, I've just started making room in my heart for Fallout since I started playing Fallout 3 and Fallout NV in the past 2 months.
    posted by rmd1023 at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2016




    based just on men I know at work and socially, basically everyone under about 40 or 45 plays video games, but very few who are in the late 40s or older.

    I know you can hustle the shit out of twenty somethings if you’re 45+ and are good at FPS’s. So I hear. A 50 year old woman could probably clean up.
    posted by bongo_x at 11:08 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


    Age 20: Gonna make something of my life
    Age 30: Not really going as planned
    Age 40: THEY KNOW ME BY NAME AT THE LIQUOR STORE


    To continue, how about:

    Age 50: My speed-dial list is full of medical specialists' numbers

    Or maybe just:

    Age 50: Sighhhh....
    posted by Greg_Ace at 11:47 AM on January 8, 2016


    I've wondered if that tracks with the timeline of one of the early game platforms (Atari maybe?) or if it is just a quirk of the people I know.

    I was born in 1980, I remember a friend had an Atari 2600 that was a little old around 1988 or so (IIRC). He also had a Pong console that we regarded as an antique. Some time around then my parents bought me an NES and that was the console that everyone played games on until the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo came out in the early nineties.

    The NES was the system that made playing video games at home really popular but it was very much something children did. So I'd be really surprised to see anyone born before 1975 that considers themselves a gamer.
    posted by VTX at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


    So I'd be really surprised to see anyone born before 1975 that considers themselves a gamer.

    Oh no you di'int.
    posted by rhizome at 2:22 PM on January 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


    I'm fifty-one and the Atari came when I was 13 years old and there had been arcade video games for quite a few years before that so I've been playing video games for over forty years now. I think that qualifies me as a gamer.
    posted by octothorpe at 2:24 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


    VTX: “So I'd be really surprised to see anyone born before 1975 that considers themselves a gamer.”
    Thanks for a laugh. I played Netrek competitively and then gave it up before you were old enough to drive.
    posted by ob1quixote at 2:33 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


    I'm not saying they don't exist, just that they're rare. I think the early eighties are where it started to pick up steam as a popular hobby.

    I spent many an hour playing BF4 with a curmudgeonly 50 year-old, but no one else he or I knew his age was a gamer.
    posted by VTX at 2:34 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


    So I'd be really surprised to see anyone born before 1975 that considers themselves a gamer.

    Class of '71 here, says the guy goofing around on his laptop with Civ IV while he waits for his tabletop RPG group to get going.
    posted by nubs at 3:16 PM on January 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


    I'm 51, and in one of the world's top raiding teams in wow. Also, female. My steam library has hundreds of games. My shadow priest has so many PvP awards, so many. Just saying, plenty of us born before velour was a fashion statement are not only gamers, but are probably gamers that can kick your butt.
    posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:42 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


    > Class of '71 here, says the guy goofing around on his laptop with Civ IV while he waits for his tabletop RPG group to get going.
    posted by nubs at 3:16 PM on January 9 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


    uhhhhhh could people put up a trigger warning before mentioning the civ games? especially civ 4? I mean it's cool and all, it's just that I would like to actually finish my dissertation eventually.
    posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 6:02 PM on January 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


    Born in 1972, I was five when we got our first console (I even remember my daddy buying it at Consumers Distributing but somehow convincing me he hadn't really bought it so it was a huge surprise at Christmas). Everyone I went to school with (so roughly the same age, give a year or two) was a gamer. Most of us are gamers still, with our teen kids playing with us.
    posted by saucysault at 6:24 PM on January 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


    could people put up a trigger warning before mentioning the civ games? especially civ 4?

    I'll acknowledge this...just one.more.turn....
    posted by nubs at 6:26 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


    Thankfully mine seem to be in pretty good shape despite this, but generally speaking - NO YOU DO *NOT* NEED TO RUN A MARATHON.

    I am infinitely grateful for Jon Mitchell for writing this, because all those specifically unhelpful self-help articles seem to suggest that marathon running is part of being a fully actualized adult. I don't know, I sorta just want to live well with a good sense of mental health, *I* get to decide what I want to do.
    posted by yueliang at 10:11 PM on January 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


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