Back in the Dark Ages (when I was growing up) the word “adult” was a noun. It described a person who had transitioned from a dependent status, in which someone else was ultimately responsible for them, to that of an independent entity, responsible for themselves. An adult was something you became–no going back.
Lately I have been hearing the word adult being used as a verb, as in “I don’t want to adult today.” While I completely understand the need to relax one’s efforts periodically to maintain balance in life, the idea of choosing not “to adult” confuses me. If you drop the responsibility for yourself, who do you think will it take over for you? Likely it will be someone you resent for “telling you what to do,” such as a roommate, a supervisor or a spouse who equally resents having to tell you to do it, and then game on.
To keep from having to play that game, here is a quick list of questions to assess how adult you are:
Can I self-regulate my feelings and responses to others so I am fit company?
Can I maintain a reasonable attitude so I am not overcome?
Can I acknowledge how I feel instead of blaming others for making me feel ____.
Do I make wise relationship choices, avoiding toxic people and the drama that defines them, especially in my closest relationships–including parents and spouse?
Am I considerate and kind – not one who spreads hate and discontent?
Do I maintain a stable schedule for working, sleeping, nourishment, fitness and recreation conducive to health?
Do I manage my income and expenses so I may enjoy my life now while also planning appropriately for the future?
Do I keep my place and my stuff in reasonable order and repair so those who live with me do not have to resort to making passive aggressive posts on social media because I don’t respond to their nagging?
Do I seek medical intervention when necessary and then actually follow the doctor’s orders?
Do I maintain proper hygiene? Or are vultures eying my me and my dirty laundry because the smell makes them think I am dead?
Do I take responsibility for my choices, including those I make by default, those I thought were a good idea at the time and those that are just plain stupid?
Do I feel empowered and capable to lead myself?
Do I have realistic and measurable goals for the future? Am I willing to push through difficulties so that I may achieve them? (Being a Sad Panda living in a relative’s basement playing video games is not goal, it is a waste.)
When I make a commitment, is it my bond?
Have I maintained my integrity and upheld my personal moral code so that I am proud of my reflection in the mirror?
Do I really want to become an adult (no going back) or am I going to remain a self-centered, whiny child in a larger body?
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