Day 161 (A Hundred & Sixty One) of 365 days

As kids, we can’t wait to grow up. We look forward to the day we can drive and live by our own rules. There seems to be nothing we want more in the world than to be a little older, aside from candy that is. Adults on the other hand like to look back on life and reminisce about “the good old days” back when they were young, fun, and had a full head of hair. But why is it that for half of our lives we just want to be older and when we finally get there all we want is to be able to turn back the clock? The sad truth is we aren’t built like Benjamin Button, and we don’t live in Never Land, so getting older is going to happen and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Growing up is something we all have to face regardless of our age, gender, social or cultural status. Growing up is a gradual ladder toward changing (developing) from a naïve child into a mature adult. This change is shaped by the influential people and experiences we have met along the way. Growing up is not an easy process in most cases, but with proper support and positive guidance growing up can be the most rewarding experience. Through the journey of growing up, we adopt a sense of responsibility and independence. Growing up is the difference between being told what to do and what decisions to make to making your own decisions and choosing the path you think is right.

If you think of the transition to “adulthood” as a collection of markers — getting a job, moving away from your parents, getting married, and having kids — for most of history, except the 1950s and 60s, people did not become adults any kind of predictable way. And yet these are still the venerated markers of adulthood today, and when people take too long to acquire them or eschew them altogether, it becomes a reason to lament that no one is a grown-up. While bemoaning the habits and values of the youths is the eternal right of the olds, many young adults do still feel like kids trying in their parents’ shoes.

“Becoming an adult” is more of an elusive, sort of abstract concept than I’d thought when I was younger. I just assumed you’d get to a certain age and everything would make sense. Bless my young little heart, I had no idea! Adulthood is a social construct. For that matter, so is childhood. But like all social constructs, they have real consequences. They determine who is legally responsible for their actions and who is not, what roles people are allowed to assume in society, how people view each other, and how they view themselves. But even in the realms where it should be easiest to define the difference — law, physical development — adulthood defies simplicity.

What it means to be grown-up has no definite answer because you can be grown but not how to be grown.

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