Paying for groceries does not necessarily usher in adulthood

As a college student, whether you like it or not, you are often addressed as a young adult.

That moniker implies that you have done it – you’ve reached adulthood – but just barely. So when is it that you make the jump from carefree child to full-fledged adult?

In an attempt to answer this question, I turned to someone most of us consider a wealth of knowledge, dear old Mom. Approaching another one of her infamous 29th birthdays, mother dearest has always been the embodiment of what it is to be an adult.

“I’m a grownup, laugh with me, love me, but absolutely respect me,” my mom said.

When I turned to my mother, my question was answered with a question: “Well, when do you think you became an adult?”

Feeling the spotlight searing my skin through the phone, I fumbled around and ultimately punted with, “I do not really even feel like an adult.” As usual, motherly comfort came in as she explained that it’s probably different for everyone, and its okay to feel like that. Thanks Mom.

This is ultimately what the whole idea or feeling of being an adult comes down to. While some will say your eighteenth birthday signals your newfound adulthood, others will say your 21st is when you say goodbye to childhood.

Leaving home for college or the military might be what makes you an adult. Paying your own bills and making your own money might have been the deciding factor for you. Walking through a store with a cart of mundane groceries and an awesome radio-controlled helicopter that shoots missiles and then putting it back at the last minute could also be your moment.

Mom was probably right. There probably isn’t a particular time that everyone suddenly looks around and understands they are an adult. For some, it will be a defining moment that truly signals the transformation. For others, it might be a gradual process that they never fully realize. 

First Corinthians says “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Heavy.

So when do we become adults? Who knows. The experience and perception will vary from person to person. But if being an adult means you can not have that particularly cool attack helicopter with ultra-stable flight technology, then please, cling to every last bit of non-adulthood you have left. You have the rest of your life to spend money on fiber rich cereal and hard candies.