Adulting

Today’s agenda: attacking euphemisms and the modern day average twenty year old. They’re not exactly combined. But they are a little.

Laura Ingalls Wilder began courting Almanzo Wilder when she was fifteen. He was twenty-five. They were married when she was eighteen. Personally, I think a fifteen year old dating a twenty-five year old is strange, to say the least. However. They were not dating. They were courting. Also, at that time, Laura was living away from home and teaching a school. Without delving into all the nuances and unarguable vagueness of the mental maturity age, Laura was acting like an adult.

I’m not suggesting that all – or probably any – fifteen year old girls in our country and culture are mature enough or stable enough to teach a school and court a person ten years older than themselves. (Not to mention fifteen year old boys – it is scientifically (and empirically) suggested that boys mature slower than girls.)

I’m suggesting that it is possible to have a society like that. Today, I look around me and I see people who, at first glance, I assess to be adults. I talk to them, and I reassess them to be overgrown children. They play video games. They use their parents’ credit cards. They live in their parents’ houses, sometimes not working or attending school. They expect to be treated as adults while acting as children. Freedom? Yes, they better have it. Respect for their privacy? Yes, they better have it. Mommy making them food? An even bigger yes. I’m not an advocate for moving out as soon as you’re eighteen and trying to make a life for yourself in the messy world. But if you want to do that, I’ll wish you the best of luck and Godspeed.

A few sexist remarks have to be made here. It’s different for men and for women. Traditionally, the man gets a job and earns money and the woman cares for the house and the children. You’re welcome to believe in something nontraditional. I don’t. Because of that, I feel that it is the man’s place to take initiative. A job, an education, a house…whatever particular way he does that. As a girl, I do plan to get a job before my marriage and perhaps in the early year or two of my marriage as well. I will likely live at home till I get married. I’ll be the first to claim I can take care of myself, but as the Bible says, it is the role of the husband to not only have leadership qualities, but also to protect and care for his wife.

Back to the main point. Recent studies have shown that twenty-four is the new “adult age.” Yes. Yes, that may well be true. Should it be true? No. If an hundred and fifty years ago, a fifteen year old was acting like an adult, why are we suddenly nine years slower? What happened to us? You can cover the maturity gap with all the euphemism band-aids you want and say this is just “the new times,” but it doesn’t change anything. If this is the new times, we got stupid. It isn’t ridiculous to expect a twenty-one year old to act like an adult. They may not be an adult, but they sure should be. As it is, humans have one of the longest childhood rates in all of Creation. Why do we need even more time? Well, we don’t. But it makes it easier, which is why most people do it. It’s ridiculous, and it needs to change.

*steps down off soapbox*

4 thoughts on “Adulting

  1. heh – you appear to be saying that men mature slower and then turning around and saying they should mature faster? Why not just have everyone act as an adult by the time our laws expect us to – 18?

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    1. Biologically, I do believe boys mature slower than girls. However, I think the divide that I personally am seeing is more due to societal constraints and strange legitimization that has occurred. If all their peers aren’t acting like adults, why should they? I think /that/ is the problem: our society. Breakdown of the family unit, loss of responsibility, and lack of respect.
      Everyone acting like an adult at eighteen would be great! Unfortunately, that’s just not happening very often. I suppose part of it depends how you’re defining “adult.” Personally, I don’t feel like many college freshmans are “adults.” Some of them can be, of course, but that isn’t what I’ve seen.

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  2. I LOVE this!! Thank you for the timely and true reminder, Ellery!

    (Adulting is SO hard. Laziness and apathy and a general sense of lost are epidemic in my/our current generation. I cannot even imagine – actually, I can, but I don’t want to – what this world is going to be like if everything keeps on going the way they are.)

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