A few weeks back I was worshiping listening to NPR while walking to work. Usually the news stories just buzz in one ear and out the other. On this particular day however, a really interesting story caught my ear. The reporter was asking people on the Seattle street when they realized they were an “adult.” There were many typical answers.
“When I got married.”
“When I joined the Marines.”
“When I turned 30.”
“When I had my first kid.”
“When I made love to an antelope.”
Whatever the case, it sparked a thought process with dire consequences. (hence, this blog) At 35 years of age, I do not feel like an adult. Or to clarify, it wasn’t until listening to this news story that I actually took a step back and looked at myself and my supposed adulthood.
I quickly ran through the adult checklist:
Then I stopped. There are a hell of a lot of things I do that are not “adult.” I play computer games. I sit around in the living room wearing only my boxers. My condo looks like a Ten Thousand Villages. I still enjoy cartoons and read comic books. Aren’t you supposed to grow out of these things?
But wait! I do adult things! All my bills are paid off. I have a taste for single malt cask strength scotch. I live thousands of miles away from my parents. I’ve lived in a foreign country. I vote! I have a freakin’ IRA and retirement portfolio. How much more adult do you want?
I had been holding on to a crazy notion of what “adult” was. My notion was based on passing certain tests and fulfilling certain benchmarks. I was looking at being an adult from the perspective of a teenager; somebody I will be someday, rather than who I am.
Being an adult isn’t checking off a list. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions and admitting when you’re a dumb ass. I can still play video games and read comic books because my bills are paid and I pay attention to my relationship with my wife. I can say no to buying that $500 lock of Wil Wheaton’s baby hair on Ebay because I’m saving up for a first time home mortgage. It’s all about making good life choices and not being a dick. Case closed.
I don’t always feel like an adult, but I’m not sure I want to anymore. As long as I’m making those big adult decisions, I can still laugh at a fart joke and enjoy going to Ren Fairs.
So NPR, just to answer your question… when did I realize I was an adult?