Becoming Adult

First Published - May 2019

Did you get the Handbook on Life given to you when you became an adult? No me neither! Sometimes I wonder if I am already an adult or still becoming one…how do I know if I’m already an adult?

We’re having a very hot and dry spell at home at the moment, so every evening I take joy in standing barefoot in my garden and watering the grass and plants. Thankfully nothing has died yet!

The other day, as I was standing there, grounded to Mother Nature and her crispy grass when this thought crossed my mind, “I’m going to be 47 in a few weeks time, is it time to be an adult yet?” or at least words to that affect. It surprised me that this thought came into my head, I mean I am a full time mother to two wonderful sons, we’ve relocated around the world a few times since I got married, we’ve moved house more times than I care to remember and more recently bought our first home, renovated and now settled into a new city.

Surely these are adult tasks, so then why do I feel that I still haven’t grown up yet?

I meet other women who are probably my age, maybe older or younger, who knows nowadays, and I think to myself; they’re adults, they “look” like an adult, they “act” like an adult, yet I still feel like a younger version of myself and not grown up yet. I my head, I am a lot younger than my age would lead me to believe, yet at the same time, I feel like I still have so much left to achieve, do and aspire to be. What does it take to be an adult? What things are supposed to happen to me?

I don’t know what those things are, but as I was standing and watering my garden I thought I haven’t grown up yet, I haven’t become an adult yet, I don’t feel like I’m an adult. However, I’m not a child but don’t feel that I fit into the term adult either.

According to the dictionary the term adult can be described as a person who has fully grown or developed. I’m pretty sure I’ve developed, however, I do feel that I am still growing. Just not in the same way as the dictionary leads us to believe. I’m constantly growing in different ways; more emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

Legally, a person can be considered an adult in the UK when they reach the age of 18. My son turns 18 in just a few weeks’ time, but he is by no means an adult in my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, he is a responsible young man, however he still depends on us financially and although I am sure he considers himself an adult, I know he still relies on me for emotional support too.

Giving it further thought, here’s my take on becoming an adult and what it takes to be one;

1. Taking Responsibility of your Life

This is something I think many of us feel we do but being an adult means that we take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for our own lives and what happens to us in it. We are at an age where we decide what we want and how we want to get it; we research the possible outcomes and face the consequences of our actions. We take ownership of who we are and how we handle everything related to us.

2. Telling the Truth

I have found as I have got older that telling the truth is an important aspect of being an adult. There is just no reason to lie anymore. I think this also comes in tandem with being responsible for what goes on in our lives as well. Telling lies doesn’t help anyone, lying to yourself is especially worse and it will only mean that you will be stunted and never grow into the true person you know you can become.

3. Stop being Childish

As a young child I remember having full-blown temper tantrums. I used to scream and shout and throw my glasses across the room to show my anger or react to something that made me unhappy. As an adult I could no way imagine myself doing this. Can you picture a fully grown woman throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket aisle just because they’d run out of her favourite chocolate bar!!! I think there are still many older people who think that throwing a temper tantrum or being childish is a way to move forward and get what they want. Being an adult means knowing this no longer works. You accept that things won’t always go your way and learn to adapt and accept. You become more understanding of various situations and circumstances and that means not being childish and throwing those silly tantrums.

4. You broke it, You fix it

We all make mistakes, we screw up, we drop something, break something, forget something or worse still hurt someone. It happens we are human after all, but being an adult means owning up to these things. Own up to something you broke, whether it be a vase or a relationship. This comes hand in hand with being honest and not lying. If you broke it, work out how to fix it. If you can’t, own up to it and admit your mistakes. Being honest is the best thing you can do for yourself and anyone else around you. Honesty is a big one for me and something I try and instill into my children from a young age. I think becoming an adult means you understand this and accept the mistakes you make.

There’s a great article in The Independent about 31 Skills Every Adult Should Master. They start by saying that no one gets a handbook on how to be an adult, and I think is very true. Many of us stumble through working it all out as we go along.

For me, yes I am an adult, but the inner child in me still wants to shine through, and although I accept my responsibilities as an adult, there are times when I just want to switch it all off. Be done with “adult-ing” for the day! How about You?