Wednesday, August 26, 2009

when i grow up

I just read a newspaper article which claims that the average age of video game users today is 35. I can't remember the last time I played nintendo or gameboy or playstation or whatever those boxes are that my brothers are obsessed with and that take up all that room under the tv in our family room. But then - I was always more of a Barbie Girl. ;)

So while I'm not exactly a gamer, and while my barbie collection has sadly and rather reluctantly been reduced (at the rather cruel insistence of my mother when I was at the tender age of 12), I still hesitate to label myself the A-word. You know - an Adult.

I had this coversation with a friend a little while ago who insisted that anyone over a certain legal age is no longer a minor - and thus joins the ranks of the grown-up.

But while in law this might hold true (and for drinking), I argue that this is arguable based on important facts of life (such as the aforementioned average age of gamers) which inhibit maturity and delay adulthood.

So what makes someone an adult?

Is a college student not yet an adult? But then what if that student is married with kids? And what if you have a job but you're still 19?

Does marriage and having kids make someone an adult? I used to think so - until friends younger than me became moms and dads.

I like to think that knowing certain things - like how to pay taxes - makes you grown up. But I've since realized that I might always have to depend on my father's accountant.

Does living on your own make you an adult? Maybe not so much in the frummy world where teens get shipped off to out-of-town yeshivas at 13...

And aren't more and more people in their late twenties and thirties still living with their parents? I read another article that talked about the newest trend in apartment living - post-college dorm-style à la washington heights or uws where whole buildings are almost entirely rented out by singles.

Is that why more people are single longer? Have none of us grown up yet? Are we too busy playing nintendo?


Anonymous said...

Being completely finically independent makes you an officially an "adult". I don't care if you are married with kids but if your daddy is still paying your cell phone bill then you are not an adult yet.

This is obviously the rule and not the exception because there are many grown men who take their Ima's advice on dating FAR too seriously. Likewise, i believe there are many underaged and expecting who are still relying on their in-laws for the rent check that have reached full emotional maturity.

My brother once had a biology teacher that said "You can grow old but you never have to grow up." So in some sense i think we should all FEEL like we are never too old to have fun :)

G6 said...

Being a grown up means being responsible not only for EVERY aspect of your own life (including, but not limited to finances) and in addition to that, taking upon yourself responsibility for the world around you and those in it (raising children is one way, but not the only way, to do this). It is not enough to worry about and handle all of your own needs. You need to be aware that there are others "sharing the space" around you and taking responsibility for them even if it means sacrificing some of what you would want.
I would love to add to this list the concept of acting within accepted social norms for "adult" behavior, but I know that will become a subject of debate, so I won't.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon 1. Just because one lives on their own doesn't really make them an adult. Just b/c one might live away in a college dorm, if their parents are covering the expenses, then I don't think they are yet a "grown up".

IMHO, becoming financially independant is maybe one of the ultimate levels of maturity, b/c it teaches you to make responsible decisions that affect nearly every aspect of your life.

Moshe said...

Dude! What does gaming have to do with being an adult?!
I game online with people from their teens and into their 80s! Yes, 80s! Farmville and Mafia Wars on facebook and Star Pirates and Spy Battle are all MMO games with a very broad age range.

I also play regular games on PC and on DSi. In fact we have 2, one for me and one for wife.

And even though I'm a gamer, I also work, do the shopping and cooking and am raising 2 kids!