HomeOP-EDWhen Do You Truly Become an Adult?

When Do You Truly Become an Adult?

When do you truly become an adult? Everyone is going to have a different opinion especially if it’s Generation Z versus the Millenials. Most people will argue that you aren’t truly an adult until you’re no longer dependent on your guardian and are handling things on your own. However, that’s only looking at it from a financial aspect, you should also ask the question from a legal and mental aspect as well. According to https://www.usatoday.com, “When asked what one responsibility most defined whether a person was an adult or not, most respondents said it was “having financial independence” (from parents). In fact, 8 out of 10 respondents who don’t yet feel like an adult said their financial reliance on parents was the reason why – despite being of legal adult age.”

My parents always told me that to be an adult financially means paying for your own car note, insurance, housing, food, bills, and discretionary items. It means all financial responsibilities are being taken care of by you. I have always agreed that the moment you move out of your parent’s house and start to learn how to live on your own, you are an adult. Whether you leave at 14 or 19 when you really start to handle the responsibilities of life on your own, you’re considered an adult. An adolescent wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves, keep themselves afloat, and support themselves in all of the ways they need to be supported. According to https://www.theatlantic.com, “In the United States, you can’t drink until you are 21, but legal adulthood, along with voting and the ability to join the military, comes at age 18. Or does it? You’re allowed to watch adult movies at 17. And kids can hold a job as young as 14, depending on state restrictions, and can often deliver newspapers, babysit, or work for their parents even younger than that.” Therefore at 18 you can vote, join the military, and as young as 14 you can have a job depending on your state.

However, you would not be allowed to drink until 21. So I am an adult and mature enough to be allowed to protect our country, help make political decisions, and potentially have a leadership job but not allowed to have alcohol legally until 21? My brain has developed enough or I am smart enough to take on those responsibilities yet drinking I am not prepared for? So does this make me a real adult at 18 or 21? After much deliberation, I think legally you shouldn’t be considered a legal adult until 21 seeing that’s when you can do “everything”.

Regardless of whether you are an adult financially or legally, you may be an adult mentally. In my opinion, you can be an adult mentally at a very young age. Perhaps you went through a lot as an adolescent that caused you to grow up quickly, make smart decisions, treat people right, get a full-time job, move out and get your own house. All of these things could mold someone into an adult regardless of their age. I think I became an adult mentally a long time ago. My growing up didn’t come from trauma, but I learned from my peer’s mistakes, and my family member’s mistakes, and I genuinely knew what was right and what was wrong. I grew to be extremely mature and have always had the “responsible adult” mindset ever since which I believe classifies me as an adult mentally.

It is up to an individual to do some personal reflection to find out if they are an adult. Consider all of the ways you could be considered one and figure out if those things matter in your eyes. When you take the time to think about your actions, successes, thoughts, decisions, and responsibilities, are you truly an adult? Does your daily, weekly, or yearly activity show that you’re an adult? Everyone is completely different, some people mature faster than others, move out faster than others, learn quicker than others, and take on responsibilities faster than others. These are the things you should take into consideration before boldly and proudly claiming you are a verifiable adult.

Kayla Vaughn
Kayla Vaughn is a Freshman from Memphis, Tennessee majoring in Mass Communications. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the Spring 2022 semester.

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