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Grown-ups

16 February 201507:22AMlife

Actually, while we're talking about growing up and weird senses of continuity, let's address what I feel is a pretty common sentiment among people my age.

"...because I'm a real grown-up."

"...Oh god, does that make me an adult now?"

"...Is this what adulthood feels like?"

This kind of stuff is usually prompted by doing something particularly childish, like buying Lego online. Or alternatively, something particularly grown up, like filing taxes online. Or something particularly adolescent, like spending all day online. And to be honest, it's actually starting to grate a bit.

Maybe it's a weird generational thing, and we are totally under-prepared emotionally and skill-wise for what lies ahead, but somehow I doubt it. Every single other human, in every other culture, has pretty much managed to figure this out. Well, okay. Not all of them. But I guess that's sort of the point. Nobody becomes a soulless robot as soon as they start paying taxes, and nobody arrives into this world totally clued in on how to do those taxes either. The constant, semi-ironic self-referential surprise that these turn out not to be the case for our generation, just like every other generation, is starting to get a bit old*.

We have this obsession with what adulthood actually means, and joking at how unprepared we are. And yet we spend our whole time as kids playing at adulthood. Why do we panic once we get there? You've spent your entire life to date preparing for this. Go out there and do the stuff you always pretended you could.

Because in all seriousness: We are grown ups now, and it is our turn to decide what that means.

xkcd 150: grownups

* No pun intended.

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