As a kid, I had no idea what I was doing with my life. As I’m getting into my 20s, I’ve still got absolutely no clue. Although, all of this got me thinking: When are we adults? Do we just wake up one day being an adult, or is there a test to pass? I’m praying it’s the first one, but hell, I’m hoping it’s not the second; otherwise I’m screwed.

Also, what is an adult? What does it mean? Is it a sort of degree? Will I get a BSc “Winning at Life” after Uni? (Although… this could be a major bonus on my CV) All these questions, yet no answers. I have to admit that on a scale from zero to Jon Snow, the number of times I realised I knew nothing was equivalent to a student trying to learn all of a semester in a week.

Writing this, I’m not only trying to help you, I’m trying to help myself. I don’t certify that this will make an adult out of you, but hey, I’ve got an article to finish! So I started looking for a definition and ended up on Urban Dictionary. However, since this is a family friendly magazine, I looked again and got this from Wikipedia: ‘Adult, a person who has attained the age of majority and is considered independent, self-sufficient, and responsible’ (1). Not to complain, but how vague is that? I get that they’re all money related, but still, all the money in the world wouldn’t make anyone less childish. If you disagree, then you haven’t been keeping up with the Kardashians lately. Shame on you.

Nevertheless, how do you become responsible? When are you considered independent? Do you really ever feel self-sufficient? Ask for answers and thou shall get more questions. Is this Google? Because I’m so desperate I’m about to click on the second search page. I got 99 problems and this ‘sort of’ philosophical quest is one. As I continued my research, an idea came to me. Why not ask the two adults that raised me? I called and got my dad so naturally, I asked him to get my mom on the line. Sorry, but mamma knows best. In all her wisdom, street smarts and street cred, she said that you become an adult when, for the first time, you realise that even if your life falls apart, you still have to get up and go to work. That’s when I told her that even though I was grateful for her meaningful words, my life had already fallen apart due to the chaos of finals AND I was still going to all my lectures – ish. Yet I’m not an adult, judging by the fact that I consider the vegetables on a pizza as part of my 5-a-day. Don’t you have a step-by-step guide for me, one of those little Ikea booklets, but for life? At this moment, I knew I had messed up. In less time that it takes me to down a drink – and I’m a fresher – she started asking if I knew how to cook, how to do my taxes, how to repair stuff, if I had a job, etc… The amount of things I was supposed to be able to do was inversely proportional to the amount in my student bank account. Lets say that I would be way less scared if I was in a horror movie with Freddie Krueger and Tabatha (from The Ring) on my trail.

In spite of everything, I always try to see the bright side, so I’ll try to get something out of this; lets start with the basics, shall we? Cooking: In a generation where from my phone I can get anything at my door in less than 30 minutes, the probabilities of a student being able to cook fancy dishes are as small as the probability of a girl from ‘The Valley’s’ being classy. Well, you know what they say, if Mohammed will not go to the mountain… you get the point. No excuses for anyone, nowadays there are so many ‘easy cooking’ blogs, and this new trend on Facebook of short videos showing you how to cook is the bomb. Though, if I have to sit in ONE more lecture looking at those videos on the computers around me, I’ll go savage because it makes me hungry AF. Anyway, apparently knowing how to repair things also helps the process towards becoming an “adult”. In a way, it’s true, again with the generation shaming, we tend to throw things away and buy new ones when they’re broken. However, this makes us more dependent on consumerism. Thankfully, you have to hand it to the hipsters, we recently saw the upcoming of a DIY era, with many articles and blogs about how to repair (or re-use) things with materials everyone has at home. For once those lumberjack bearded weirdos have served a purpose.

Next on the list: doing your taxes. Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel that even adults don’t really know what they’re doing with their taxes. Bottom line, everyone gets slimmer and I ain’t talking body wise. In the end, being an adult is about organising the mess that is your life to survive in a world that is out to get you. Okay, maybe I’m going a bit too post-apocalyptic here, but it’s about buying stuff you don’t want, but need, and getting excited for staying in on a Saturday night. It’s about getting your own place, being tidy and managing to juggle all your responsibilities. That’s why I can’t be the only one wondering: is anyone really an adult? I’ve got more chances of staying alive in ‘Game of Thrones’ through every season than managing to do all of the above. This is why the key to becoming an adult is the good old ‘fake it till you make it and then fake it some more’. Throughout the years passing by, you’ll realise that life isn’t so different from ‘The Sims’.

Now, if you ever feel like you can’t do it any more and you feel helpless, don’t worry, just find someone who’s better than you at adulting. An ‘adultier adult’, if you’d prefer. Some people call them parents or grand-parents, but if you’re lucky you’ll find someone who is so good at adulting that you’ll want them to be around you forever – so you’ll never have to be an adult. The solution is to trap them with one of those things they call ‘marriage’ and ‘love’. With these they won’t be able to escape; you will be able to binge watch ‘House of Cards’ on Netflix without being preoccupied by the futile responsibilities the world gave you.

Finally, being an adult is often seen as a poisonous apple. Yes, you can do whatever you want without asking mum or dad for permission, but with great power comes great responsibility, as Uncle Ben wisely told us before he went on to sell rice. Adults are seen as too serious, not fun, and creativity killers for the sake of conformity, but most of them wish one thing: to be a kid once again, even for a day. However, we need to stop wishing for this and start to change that yellow brick road that is leading to a world of pretention. If during the process of becoming an adult you can manage to stay alive and nurture the child inside you, then maybe, not only you will live a happier life, but as a whole everyone will feel better and the world will start being a more optimistic place. Now, that’s what I call a perfect Disney movie finale. What, no, I’m not crying, it’s my housemate cutting onions. You’re dismissed, and I’ll see you next time in ‘How to Adult 101’.

Reference:

(2016). Adult. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult [Accessed 20 May 2016].

Text by Stan Bertheol, illustration by Monserrat Fernandez