Why I don’t feel like an adult

run race.jpg
credit: Tama66

When I was at primary school, the boys who were a couple of years ahead of me seemed way bigger, taller and older. I thought, that’s what I’ll be like in a couple of years. I wasn’t.

I got to secondary school and thought, by the time I’ll done here I’ll feel like a proper, responsible, mature adult ready to go off to university. I didn’t.

Throughout these childhood and teen years, I thought, by the time I’m in my 20s, BOY will I be well on my way to being a fully-functioning adult. Settled in a job that I really like (just like dad), earning good money (just like dad), living in my own place with a lovely wife and thinking about having kids – maybe even having had one already. That’s hasn’t happened.

I haven’t done any of those things, and I’m 28, just about to come out of a career break (hopefully), and I’m sat in bed writing this. I worry that, in living at home, – though I know it’s not so uncommon these days (thank you, ridiculous property/rental prices and low salaries) – I’m getting too comfortable and not going through the adulting and independence that I otherwise would. I mean, it didn’t happen to me at university (that was a difficult time, another story there).

To this day, I can get very wrapped up in my thoughts and/or absorbed in what I am doing. Sometimes, I even forget to eat. If I spend too much time on my own, I can get low. My family also know this, and my already-anxious mother is constantly thinking about this in the back of her mind. My dad and my brother, too, though they don’t show it as obviously. I can cook basic meals, I’m lazy when it comes to household stuff. I suppose weekly vacuuming can be therapeutic, depending on my mood – though certainly not a task I look forward too (whacking music or a podcast on can help). Shamefully, it is only recently that I have been conscious of the money I am spending, rather than spending what I want and when I want.

Part of all of this is a comparison thing. My parents got married in their early-mid 20s, soon had a mortgage, and I think my dad was 27 (mum 24?) when I was born. My mum is a trojan and seems to be able to juggle a million things all at once. I’m not like that.

Most of the people of my kinda age seem to be living in a flat with other housemates or other-halves. Most, though not all – and it’s still more common for Asian (at least, Indian) families to live together for longer. I think the parent-child to adult-adult transition can be a lot trickier, especially when you have lived at home almost your whole life – and have a dominant mother!

A lot of this comes down to societal and cultural expectations, and the pressure we put on ourselves based on what we see in the world around us. Whether it’s ‘in real life’ or online. And, of course, the online world means we see all sorts of amazing, shiny lives aka apparently fully-grown adults who seem to have it all. The ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ effect is, in the digital age, more profound than ever.

I try not to dwell too much on this feeling of inadequacy and, instead, am trying to focus on myself and acknowledge even the smallest of steps. Slow growth in my own time. I think it’s been easy for me to be complacent whilst living at home and, if I want to be the man I want to be, there’s more development to come. I suppose that’ll always be the case, though.

“Run your own race” a friend once told me. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Run my own race.

PS. After a busy end-of-working-week, and a course all-day Saturday and Sunday, I missed Friday’s post last week. I still try to post on Tuesday and Friday each week, with a poem on Sunday.

✏ Written: Tuesday, 6th March 2018 @ 9.17am

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What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
Do you feel like an adult? Are there parts of you which need to grow more to ‘become’ (more of) an adult? I’d love to hear how you feel 💙

30 thoughts on “Why I don’t feel like an adult

  1. 😂 oh my! You could be writing about me. This especially resonates with me “Sometimes, I even forget to eat.” I still do. But i really dont like eating. If i didnt have a family, I probably would never eat.

    I have never truly been on my own. Not sure how i would do. Your brave to share and i enjoyed this piece.

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  2. I found that becoming an adult wasn’t an abrupt change, but more of a gradual process. I think I really started to feel like there was a generation gap between me the 19-year-old crowd. In my mid-30’s I rented a car for the first time, and I remember thinking that seemed so grown up. I’m 39 now and I’m not entirely convinced that my parents think of me as an adult yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing, Leia. I think the older generation – who just got together younger – were almost forced into “adult things” at a younger age. Re: parents – I’m not sure we’ll ever be considered adults by them! 🤷🏽‍♂️

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  3. I’m turning 28 this year, married, and renting, but still feel far from where I should be in both my “career” and just about any regular habits an adult should have. I’m taking better care of my home, actually cooking meals, trying to take better care of my health, and this is about the most adult I’ve EVER been. And, I still have a long way to go. Devouring a pack of chips ahoy at 4am is partially why I am not there yet 😛 I think our idea of what an adult is is probably very different from our parents, too. It’s a different time! We have different kinds of opportunities and experiences. It’s not really comparable, both generationally, as well as across cultures, as you mentioned!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I, too, feel more of an adult now than ever before (I have my moments – and even found myself doubting this as I typed this!). ” I think our idea of what an adult is is probably very different from our parents, too.” – I think you’re absolutely right here, too. *Really* trying not to compare myself, and run my own race! It can be difficult when you can feel the worries/pressures from parents, who want you to be “standing on your own two feet” and be able to relax.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear that. My husband and I still receive some support from family, off and on, when they can, and I am soooo grateful for it. Whether it be monetary support, or guidance, it has made our lives better, sometimes easier, and even given us flexibility. Without them, we shouldn’t have been able to get an education, or had the opportunity to seek jobs/careers we are passionate about. I think your parents love you, and want the world for you, and to help you however they can. Just do what you love, and love what you do, and, although perhaps naive of me to say, I think the right paths will show itself. 🙂

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      2. Aw, thank you ✨ You’re right, they *do* want what’s best. I’m lucky that they are so supportive really. As much as I do feel their pressure to get my life sorted – and add that to the own pressure I already put on myself.

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  4. I’m married, have a mortgage and once held a professional job. I still don’t feel like an adult. I’m taller than most people, but feel like I’m looking up when having conversations with other adults. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve learned to embrace it.

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  5. I felt like an adult more at 14 than I do at (almost) 24. At this point, I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I’m convinced adulthood is titular and most people just wing it as best they can and hope they don’t do anything life-ruining. At least, that’s what I’m doing.

    About having kids. At my age, my mother had a 2-year-old (me) and was pregnant. I don’t want to be a parent, but if I did, I’d probably be fortunate if it happened by the time I was 35. And I am an overly cautious person when it comes to big choices like that, so I’d spend hours researching everything. Everything! “You’ll never be ready” wouldn’t stop me.

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    1. Thanks for such brutal honesty, here. Re: winging it – I think you’re probably right, even if it doesn’t look like it when we see others, on the surface.

      I’m a cautious, analyser too! As I’ve not been in a relationship, and am sensitive, I feel it’ll be a case of pushing through & dealing with my subconscious not being used to it & trying to sabotage/talk me out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I totally agree that adults are just winging it! When I look at my parents. It’s like sure, they’ve got jobs, they pay their bills. But, other than that, they’re about as lost in this world as I am! It’s all LIES. Lol! 😛 😛 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *THIS IS SO REASSURING!* sorry for shouting. So, I just need to secure a job after my break (hopefully close), and be a bit savvier with my money (I’ve already started)… and I’m well on my way!

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  6. I’m also 28 and I feel like I haven’t even done things that most 28-year-olds are supposed to have already experienced. In that aspect, it’s been very hard for me to not compare myself to those I deem more successful than me or feel down on myself for still being kind of a (mostly) blank slate who hasn’t quite figured out her life yet. :/ I’m right there with you about the forgetting to eat part. Sometimes it’s like I understand my body is hungry but my mind feels restless and doesn’t care to nourish myself. It used to be worse where I would load myself up on caffeine and skip meals. As a child, I was always the shortest in my class. For the grammar/elementary school and junior high school years, where classes still had to line up from shortest to tallest student (one line for girls, one line for boys), I was almost always stuck in the front. Hearing about your parents marrying and settling down quickly while juggling work and mortgages, they sound very similar to my own Asian parents. Personally, I don’t think I could do what they did. The effort it takes me to take care of myself is enough as it is. I cannot imagine having a husband and children to look after as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Sometimes it’s like I understand my body is hungry but my mind feels restless and doesn’t care to nourish myself” – I hear you, here. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but v. sensitive to caffeine. I was 3rd-shortest in my year for most of school! I don’t think I could either, but then I think it was just what people *did*, and so – as mum says – “we just had to muddle through and get on with it”. Thank you for reading and sharing x

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  7. I hate to sound like the Gen X whinger here but honestly, this is such a first world problem you’re voicing. Does that make it in-valid though? Hmmm… well let me say that I behaved as ‘an adult’ (ie a responsible person who makes decisions and takes the consequences) from the age of 18. This included leaving home and fending totally for myself from then onwards, including living and working overseas for a year, then marrying young to my long-distance UK love. The result of these choices meant that I was indeed totally responsible for every single aspect of my life. Children did not come into my picture for many years after that. This is what being an adult means – managing your own life to the best of your ability. I still feel the same as I did at 18, or 25 or 35 and I have never lost sight of who I am regardless of age. To be honest, I simply can’t imagine living at home with my parents at your age, or not being financially independent, cooking and cleaning for myself. All those things define adulting. Life is hard – but it’s there to be lived. You are not a child. Brutal – but my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “…well let me say that I behaved as ‘an adult’ (ie a responsible person who makes decisions and takes the consequences) from the age of 18. This included leaving home and fending totally for myself from then onwards…” – I think that sums it up nicely. I also like your definition of an adult – “managing your own life to the best of my ability”. I mean, I’m doing just that, but currently living at home for various reasons. I’d imagine I *would* start to feel more like an adult if/when I have my own place. I appreciate your thoughts, as always 🙂

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      1. Yes I agree. You can’t truly be an adult while you live under the roof of your parent/s unless (like a close friend of mine) you manage your lives completely independently and cohabit rather than depend on your parent for unpaid domestic and emotional labour. That includes paying rent as if you would to a stranger (or sharing the cost of the mortgage for example). That’s my opinion anyway – feel free to disagree (anyone?) 🙂

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  8. Oh my God ! I can relate to most of the points . I mean I always thought I would have it all figured out in my twenties but I am still as clueless about where my life should be heading as I was a decade ago, I am lazy and moody and I am hella awkward.

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  9. Its not the 1950s anymore when people got married at 19 or 20 and started having kids at 20. People are now holding off on marriage and having kids. More and more couples are opting to not have kids and divorce rate is about 60 percent. With the Obama care allowing kids to stay on their insurance until they are 26…well…that puts a damper on adulting..LOL..Times have changed and I am noticing more and more 20 somethings still living with their parents, using their insurance because the price of everything is just 20 times higher then when our parents were in their 20s . My dad was the only one working in my family and he made about 10-12 an hour and had a big house, a car, we had food on the table every night and yes we were poor but he was still able to provide for himself and 4 others (his wife and kids)..today….making 10-12 an hour you are lucky if you can afford your groceries….I think most people really start figuring it out by the time they are in their early 30s…

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