Adulthood is a Myth
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Adulthood is a Myth

Do any of us really know what we're doing?

Adulthood is a Myth
Yanping Nora Soong

In the days before my mom left me alone in New York City to begin my senior year of college, we had the obligatory “I can’t believe how fast time is going” conversation. In other words, marveling in astonishment at how quickly I had grown into an adult. In the moment, I found myself agreeing, but the more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure “adult” was the correct word to use.

Before she turned 21, my mom moved cross-country on her own, rented a house, went to school, held down a well-paying job, and had a functional social life. On the other hand, I’ve been known to spend entire days in a blanket burrito watching reruns of Adventure Time on my laptop. Put us side by side, and it’s obvious who anyone would label the “adult.”

A few weeks later, I met a couple of friends for dinner. After talking about our semesters abroad, internships, and classes, the subject of adulthood crept into our conversation. As we struggled to hear each other over the din of the restaurant, we all came to the same conclusion that there was still so much we didn’t know.

One of my friends commented that after she turned 20, she was struck with the realization of not how old, but how young she felt.

Ironically, that entire evening was very “adult-y” of us. Three friends meeting for dinner at a trendy neighborhood restaurant to catch up and call it a night at a reasonable hour because of work the next day. We mimicked the caricature of the “young New York professional” perfectly.

Despite the uncertainty that characterized our discussion, there are plenty of facets of my life that could lead someone to label me as an adult. I make my bed every morning. I don’t let dirty dishes sit in the sink. I have a designated cleaning day each week. I own a small decorative table covered in small decorative things.

My friends even label me as a “grandma” because I like to get up early and enjoy my morning coffee before I head out the door.

However, my generation tends to label these activities and accumulation of certain possessions as “adulting,” rather than “adulthood.” The context therefore changes adulthood to a temporary activity than a permanent state of being.

This generational trend also implies that when we’re not “adulting,” we’re acting like children, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Thanks mostly in part to the Internet, the cultural trends of my generation’s childhood still surrounds us every day. We celebrate the events, stories, and characters that shaped us as children. While our development of independence may be a little slower than that of our parent’s generation, our tendency to cling to our childhoods keeps our ideas inventive and our outlook on the future positive.

There’s no way around growing older or learning the skills necessary to lead a functional and independent life, but leaving behind the optimism and wonder of childhood is a choice. There’s a reason so many great minds say that once you forget what it’s like to be a child, you lose a valuable part of yourself that can never be recovered.

In short, childhood and adulthood (to use those labels) shouldn’t be a choice, but a friendly coexistence. You should be able to go to work and then come home and unwind with a couple episodes of Spongebob if you want to. “Adulting” is perhaps a better term than we give it credit for.

Being an “adult” is not a magical transformation or a higher plane of existence to aspire to. It’s simply the gradual process of feeling less like an imposter every time you find yourself in a new situation. There will be some days when you think you have it all figured out, and are some days you won’t. That’s life.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments