If anything can sum up my generation in a nutshell, it is that we now use "adult" as a verb.
The term "adulting" means to do something grown-up and responsible. The term is used anytime a 20-something does something like cook dinner, do laundry, or manages to wake up on time. Thus, the rise of the self-congratulatory phrase "adulting" on every social media site.
Now, I like being independent as much as anyone else. I like being responsible for myself as I grow into who I am meant to be. But there is something about this whole “adulting” craze that doesn’t sit well. I think there are a few things to consider about the kind of things “adulating” is used to describe.
Yay! You cooked a meal today!
Yay! You put pants on!
Yay! You made your own dentist appointment!
When did basic life skills turn into Snapchats and Instagram photo-ops? This could just be my generation's incessant need to give the world a play-by-play of everything that happens to them every day. And sure, sometimes it is cool when you pay bills the first time; some of those things should fill you with pride and accomplishment.
For instance, buying your first house, or car or getting your first real job is a big deal. Celebrating small tasks - like taking the trash out - diminishes the importance of growing up and becoming a functional member of society.
There is this big factor about millennials today and our apparent “delayed development,” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. My generation is going through life stages much later in life than our predecessors. We are waiting longer to have kids, get our first job and own homes. Many of these posts about “adulting” are just common sense, things that people should know how to do because it is sensible.
This isn’t an excuse, and just because we are waiting longer to do these classic “adult” things does not mean we can prolong or promote a culture of immaturity or incompetency. You are an adult; you have technically been an adult since you turned 18. We need to stop rewarding ourselves for fulfilling basic responsibilities.
Of course, we can all acknowledge and make fun of the transition into adulthood. It can be a funny and awkward time, coming to grips with having to take life more seriously than before -- not to mention the mainstream pressure from society to get a job, pay taxes, and be a contributing member of the system. Being an adult is daunting.
There is no right way to adult, and never will be. The "adulting" phenomenon could, in fact, be my generation's way of pushing back on society’s definition of “adult,” demanding traditional notions of what it means to grow up to be questioned.
The world is changing, and so are our perceptions on growing up. Maybe the most mature and “adult” thing you can do is to trust and be confident in your own abilities.