What is adulthood?

What is adulthood?

What were we all thinking, being in a haste to grow up?


We all can’t study zoology, but we are all human beings and we sure do know a thing or two about anthropology even without ever peering through a microscope.What makes you an adult in our world of today, didn’t even exist in the past. Adulthood is very complex, as the construct of adulthood varies from one culture to another. If you are from a lower class or middle class family, accruing resources is a strong indication of an offspring crossing over to adulthood, but this same yardstick wouldn’t apply to the offsprings of Lord Sugar or Harry Akande but selfless and philanthropic behaviours are much stronger pointers of adulthood for the affluent.

In the animal kingdom, the offspring of an animal would have attained adulthood once it can fend for itself and live independently. However, it is not as straight forward as it sounds. Some animals become solitary once they reach adulthood, as in the case of Tigers, while some animals still live in packs, the lions and foxes demonstrate this effectively.

Do you remember those days of building sand castles with your innocent crush in in nursery school? Those days you could play all day without a care in the world and the only break you took was for some snack or juice, due to dehydration – Well…….. if you can read this article, with an unwavering certainty we can assume that those days are over for you just like how they are over for me as well.

In ancient times, no one paid any bills, apart from the mandatory tax paid to whoever was in-charge, which means you are earning some sort of income which usually was from agriculture or from a craft. If you couldn’t fetch your own firewood for cooking, then the local lumberjack was your British gas. Being that this was a time before Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, your electric company would have been the oil retailer who you buy oil from for your oil lamp – Why do i always picture a blue mythical Genie in my mind whenever I type or read the word ”Oil Lamp”…….. Ok, now I get it, ****king Aladdin!

In the West, engaging in paradigms like paying your bills or owning a place of your own makes you an Adult. In the tribe of the Pygmies of Congo or the Amazonian people of Brazil, making a giant game kill is a yardstick of what is expected of an adult. In religious settings, following the commandments and engaging in works of faith is what is expected when one attains adulthood. In the other half of this article, some other anecdotal pointers which often indicates a transition into the adult phase of life will be discussed.

Your changing body

No matter the diet, exercise or cosmetic regime. One thing is for certain, we all will eventually show some signs of ageing . This is the most ideal indication that one is progressing to adulthood – Except you share a similar genetic make-up as the fictional Benjamin Button , then the opposite would be the case.You do remember puberty, well that was the first step of your transformation. As we age further, our bodies has so much surprises in store for us which you have to figure out piece by piece like the path of a complex maze. Most of these changes are natural, some of them we will come to love and accept, but some we will loathe anytime we remember them, but the gift of life makes up for whatever physical breakdown.

God and your spirituality

Remember those days you just followed your parents to a place of worship because you had to? – I’m sure you do, and if you were raised by an atheist parent, Sundays were just for sleeping longer and digging into that slow grilled roast and potatoes. As you progress to adulthood, you are most likely to have moved out of your parents abode, forging on with life as a lone wolf. The days when you could dance in the rain and build sand castle are done and over with, as your mind starts to ponder about more important issues. The older you get, it is very natural for philosophical questions to start resonating in your mind like, why am I here and what kind of life do I want to live? Who am I and who made me? How do I worship the one who made me? Why is there starvation and hunger in the world? It is at this time we question everything about our entire being.

What responsibility is all about

Those days of going to the fridge and eating whatever you wanted is mostly over – now, every full fridge you come across is a memory throwback. If you are single and live alone, you are most likely to find only what you put in the fridge, this also applies to every other thing in life. From our jobs, to our health, to our relationships and life in general.

As a child, you would run up to mum or dad very excited saying ”Mum I’m going to be a doctor”. The next week, after watching Pierce Bronsnan execute his role as James Bond in Die another day or Wesley Snipes as blade, you start thinking about joining the Army or Navy.

Those days are over as you are confronted with making series of concrete decisions that will have a direct impact on the rest of your life. The older you get, the more you start to expect from yourself, but you will also start to understand that you can’t beat yourself up for every slip up because you will never be able to do everything. A popular Spanish quote goes: ”There is a big difference between knowing and actually doing”. So give yourself a pat on the back every time you accomplish something, no matter how little or gigantic it is.

Your core friends

Can you recollect all your childhood friends and teenage friends, that you thought you all will go to the same college – You could have even messed around with the fantasy of even working in the same company or establishment……. Who knows? The older you get, you realise that you still love those friends and you did share some similar interest with this awesome people. The more you know and understand who you are, it is only natural for the quantity of your friends to dwindle, but those friendships that make it through that transitory stage of your life will get stronger.

Social life

As you advance in age, your social life activity might increase or it might take a nose dive – For sure, those days of sneaking into clubs with a fake ID or your older friend’s ID is dead and gone. You can order as much tequila or Martini shots as you want. You may now consider being asked for an ID as a compliment. Males tend to grow a beard or try to become more masculine if they have a younger looking face, but females on the other hand conceptualise this as a positive re-enforcement of their beauty regime doing what it expected to do.

You will love your parents more

As we grow older, we get a black and white picture of who we really are. If you had a wonderful and memory childhood, you will love your parents more for all their love and sacrifices. But if your childhood memory wasn’t too spectacular, some people will resent their parents with a burning desire of making sure your own offspring don’t end up in the situation in which you grew up in.

In our world today, the concept of adulthood is draining and painful. Competition for resources is fiercer than it has ever been, in whatever field you are involved in. Which is one of the reasons some young adults will never bother and some still strive. It is not a contemporary idea to the human mind that, we will always take the easy route with anything as long as we can get away with it – Like laying in bed and binging on Netflix or any other form of entertainment all day long, only getting out of bed when the pizza delivery man is at the door.

There are so many other pointers depending on what kind of person you are and where you are. We can also perceive how the concept of adulthood, varies from one culture to another as there is no monolithic blueprint for adulthood.

The older one gets, we come to realise that you just have only an unknown finite time on earth. King David the psalmist once said ”Man’s existence is like a breath of air and his existence a passing shadow”. Our time is finite and we have to make a decision to be among those giving it their best because no one will do it for you, your friends and family can only help.

Ben Alecsander
it's always a pleasure to listen to interesting people, with real life experiences different from mine. I live in the city of London, which is a melting pot where you get to meet people from different walks of life.

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