Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've wondered for the past few years about how much the concept of 'adulthood' is just a front. As kids, we all looked at our parents, teachers, and others who were significantly larger than we were as if they were something great. Adulthood was an eternity away, and those who had reached it were full of experiences and knowledge beyond our comprehension. Adults could answer every question and solve every problem. They spent their time doing 'important' things that we were unfit to do. They hardly laughed, and when they did it was over things that we didn't understand. They never made mistakes.

As a kid I thought that children and adults lied in completely separate categories, as though there was a line drawn somewhere that was used to distinguish between the two. In my head, there was an age that someone reached, or a test that someone took, that once passed, would mark the exact time when a child had become an adult- complete with all the attributes and abilities that I thought all adults had.

But now is the time when I have to challenge this idea of 'Adulthood'. I am continuously faced with the question: "Am I an adult yet?" I do not think there is a real answer, but I still ask.
Of course, a government or religion can give a definition of what an adult is, but they are usually too simple to agree with the preconceptions that I've carried over from my grade school years.
Maybe I ask the question because I find myself in situations that bring it up. Like, for example, when I go searching for a job (a very adult-like activity), and the following conversation comes up:

"Excuse me, are you currently hiring teachers?"
"Maybe...........who's applying?"
"Yes......I have a B.A. from UC Berkeley, and teaching experience."
"REALLY?..........But you look so young!!"

Things are generally much worse when the facts come out that: 1. I'm married, and 2. We're expecting a kid in a few months.

...which brings me to perhaps the real reason that I'm writing on this topic.
I play video games. I watch cartoons. I have a weekly ritual every Thursday night when I wait for the next Naruto issue to appear online and read it as fast as I can (sometimes getting enormously disappointed when it doesn't come). Although I still feel pretty 'adult' in some aspects, I'm sure that these are just some of the things that are ruining the image I described above. I don't feel that I will ever be an 'adult', so long as it is defined in the way that I thought it was when I was a kid.

Yet I still can't shake the idea that adults are supposed to be like in the picture I described. When I think of how I saw my parents and teachers as a child, I still feel that I will never reach the example that they have set for me. Am I just that childish?

Or, there is the other scenario, which is both liberating and somewhat disturbing: Maybe no one really grows up. Maybe they hold onto their childish tendencies, hiding them in front of onlookers in order to keep up the image. I wonder if the adults from my childhood still secretly laughed at fart jokes and did stupid things from time to time. I wonder if I'll have to maintain the front in front of my kids in a few years... or maybe I'll get to read Naruto with them.


  1. Read Naruto to them. After all, your mom read to you until high school--stuff about Winnie the Pooh and wizards and all kinds of stuff. I think you said it succintly: We never grow up, our activities--mostly out of necessity--change. I bet your mom and dad are very proud of you.

  2. And you KNOW dad still laughs at fart jokes.