Being an Adult [en]

Being an adult isn’t easy.

[fr] Est-ce difficile, d'être un adulte? On ne se réveille pas un matin magiquement 'adulte'. La vie ne devient pas plus facile parce qu'on a déjà  fêté certains anniversaires. Il y a toujours un effort à  fournir. Je pense que l'on se retrouve finalement toujours aussi démunis face aux étapes de la vie. Grandir, c'est apprendre à  affronter l'inconnu. Et ça a quelque chose d'effrayant.

‘Is it hard to be an adult?’ he said. ‘It’s certainly better than being a kid. You can’t get in trouble with your parents. And you don’t have homework.’

He’s thirteen. Yes, being a teenager is tough. I see it in my classes, and hear it from my students too. Some of them are voicing it on their weblogs already. Can’t do what you want. Can’t say everything. Have to do as your told.

I find being an adult isn’t easy either. Homework disappears, but is replaced to all these things we ‘have to do’: taxes, shopping, cooking, cleaning, paying bills. And if you’re lucky enough to be a teacher, you almost get real homework: tests to correct and classes to prepare. I spend more time at my ‘homework’ than the kids I teach — that will change, but this year, I certainly am.

Yes, it’s hard being an adult. You don’t wake up one morning suddenly ‘adult’, and magically up to it. You remain yourself. You learn how to pay the bills, cook, clean up, live without your parents, but all in all, there is never a clear line crossed into adulthood. You carry who you are with you at all times.

I’ve long lived in the illusion that life would suddenly one day become ‘easy’, that things would fall into place and all the tough stuff would just vanish. I now know that is not how life goes. Life is always challenging. Growing up is learning to deal with those challenges. But the tough times don’t go away.

The first real insight I had about what ‘being an adult’ meant was during one of my early conversations with Aleika, in India. She was telling me how being a parent isn’t something one can be really prepared for. As a kid, we always think our parents know what they are doing — but as a first-time parent, you just do what you can. You don’t know much more than before the baby arrived. You’re not transformed into another person because you just gave birth.

And it goes on. Becoming a grandparent and growing old is also a first-time experience for those who go through it. I think no stage in life is really easy. Growing up is about taking risks. Doing things you’re not really fully prepared to do. Taking responsability for your actions and your life. It’s exciting, and it’s frightening.

La vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquille.

14 thoughts on “Being an Adult [en]

  1. Tell me about it. I’ve been dropped into being an adult – somewhat forcibly, I suppose – and it’s quite an interesting culture shock. Switch from being a 19 year old college kid whose parents pay for everything to a 20 year old parent of a 7 and 3 year old who is working full time and pretty much ignored by his parents.

    Quite a culture shock indeed.

  2. Christopher, congratulations on your two kids in one year – that was quick :-).

    My kids are 12yrs / 7yrs / 10months old. Time went by so fast that I’m sometimes surprised to realize that _I_ am supposed to be the grown-up around here.

  3. La vie est dure même pour les adultes…

    Gianfranco Ramoser

  4. You know, I’ve recently learnt the hard way you can’t see yourself growing and becoming adult. But once, you just realize game is over.

  5. please stop speaking about that, i haven’t yet realize that i’m not a kid anymore!

  6. oui, c’est dur, mais en même temps super! plus de responsabilités mais aussi plus de choix…

  7. Im 23 years old and half the time I still act like im only 15.. Its hard, 23 years of bad habits and ill perceptions on life..

    Im just begginning to realise that life is a game.. and that everyone is a player, even the people that love you the most, they still want whats best for themselves..

    I guess no matter what, youve gota put yourself number one and use information as power to get what you want out of life..

    Wouldnt it be nice if we could get by in life without not having to keep a part of ourselves protected.


  8. Neat article Steph.
    I believe that being an adult is difficult – and we shouldn’t shy away from becoming one. The end result is worth the effort. To analyze your current situation – then look to the past and see how far you’re come is an incredibly rewarding perception.

    Being adult forces us to change, and change is a painful thing.

    Part of being an adult is to adapt yourself to the situation – and not make the situation change to accomodate you.
    Forcing the world to change for one person is selfish.
    I just wrote an article in my blog about it – and some other things as well –

    Take care

  9. Im a student in turkey and Im a teenager because Im 15. I can make some mistakes so Im so sorry. ı read your writing about being an adult because my teacher gave me a homework for researching. you told the truth about our lives because in my opinion you know something or everything aboutlife and the parts of it.I don’t know anything about other countries but in my opinion students have to get good marks to be a successful adult in every country. ı know and I want to have good marks but sometimes I don’t have… I realize something and ı don’t think being an adult is hard…….=)

  10. Oh my, Josh: “Part of being an adult is to adapt yourself to the situation – and not make the situation change to accomodate you.”.

    This has a double meaning. Making the situation change to accomodate you is being selfish for sure, but making the situation change to accomodate everyone is completely different, and, in my eyes, actually being more adult than accepting some silly situation that really makes everyone around you unhappy (not always you included). Being adult requires much will, and accepting some absurd situations is just lacking the will or courage to change them, nothing more. Btw, I did mention changing a “situation”, not “people” (which we indeed have to learn to bare with on some occasions).

    Moreover, change is only painful when it’s forced upon us. If you have the will to change, then you shall manage, and it’s surprising how many people are afraid of changing because they fear that a new and unknown situation will occur (even though it may be better still).

  11. well this is all interesting im only seventeen but honest im terifide to grow up because i have no clue wut it is actually like to be on my own

  12. At 29 years of age I still have yet to learn what being an adult is.I still live with my parents and don’t have the responsibilities of most adults.

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