I am a 19-year-old man and by the laws of this country, I am considered an adult. I have a driver’s license, I can vote, I could even purchase cigarettes if I wanted to. My mom however still thinks I haven't reached the adult life yet, since I still live with her and depend on her for my livelihood. Admittedly, even though I'm legally seen as an adult, I sure don't feel like one. Heck, I don't even feel like a teenager sometimes. So when is this adult life suppose to kick in?
A lot of people look to characters in media for help and guidance so let's look at a well known character, Bruce Wayne, a.k.a Batman. Bruce Wayne is a man well past his twenties. He has a whole successful business that could rival Google and Disney (if it existed in the real world). He even protects Gotham from criminals as Batman. That's all fine and good, but have you ever noticed how much responsibility he shirks off? He still lives with his legal guardian, Alfred, who takes the responsibility of all the household chores and the maintenance of Batman's gear. Bruce Wayne pays for the bills with the money he gets from his company, but when was the last time you’ve seen him work? All of his employees do the work while he plays dress up and goes to expensive parties. Even when he's Batman, he does not take responsibility or abide by the law. By being a masked vigilante, he can do whatever he wants to catch the bad guys and not suffer any consequences. Can you imagine how much money he would owe in property damage if he was a cop? He wouldn’t be a billionaire anymore. Bruce Wayne is basically living the childhood dream. He has riches that he doesn’t need to work for, gets to act like it’s Halloween everyday while beating up bad guys, and has virtually no responsibility. If Batman existed, then no one would say he’s an adult — except the government.
Many countries assign the age of 18 or around that age to be the point where someone is legally seen as an adult. While that can work for some people, the rest of us are still trying to figure out how to balance our lives. The reason why the U.S. and many other countries have that the legal age of adulthood set to 18 is because most people will be done with high school by then. So in order to help people who are about to either have their first job or move out of their parents' house, they need certain liberties in order to do that. That means allowing them to buy or rent property, allowing them to drive and allowing them to work overtime.
Many countries also give you these responsibilities because that's the age that people think they have enough experience and knowledge to make decisions on their own. In reality, it's a lot more difficult than that. While the government sees these people as adults, many people — including myself — still don’t feel like adults. That’s because many young people don’t know what they’re doing all the time.
If someone was thrown into being responsible for a family, keeping a job, paying for bills and that person tried their best to maintain all of these responsibilities, they would still need to know what they are doing to be considered an adult. Once you have these two attributes, knowledge and responsibility, then you’re an adult. If you’re not there yet, then don’t rush it. If you need more knowledge of how to adult then just think about it like a skill. Writing takes a long time to master, so does being an adult. If you don’t have any responsibilities that you have to take care of, then definitely don’t rush that. Because once you’re an adult then there is no going back.