Saturday, November 19, 2011

Leaving Childhood

So, the question asked the other day on BlogHer was "What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?"

That sounds easy, doesn't it? If you really think about it, though, it's a really complicated question, and one that was much easier to answer, I think, in previous generations.

Is it some number? In some cultures, 13 is considered adulthood, in others, 15. Here in the US, in some ways you are considered an adult at 18, and in other ways, the magic number is 21.

I have a 21 year old son. I treat him as an adult, in that I don't really boss him around, or give unsolicited advice, but he does still live with his father and attend school. He's not self supporting. So, that detracts from his adult status. Middle Child is convinced that she will be an adult in a few short months, when she turns eighteen. I remain unconvinced.

So, is being self supporting the mark of adulthood? I don't know. Where does that leave people who have to rely on others, or on government support?

I feel like I truly became an adult when my son was born. I'd been married for a year, we had an apartment and all, but it felt a little bit like playing house until he came along.

But that's not fair. Plenty of people delay having kids, or decide against ever having them, and of course they are perfectly responsible adults.

For some people, the first job is the mark of adulthood. For others, home ownership.

I guess the answer to this question is specific to each person. What is it for you, readers? What was the magical moment that took you from child to adult? And do you think it's the same for everyone, or is the answer, as I believe, completely personal?

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