10 July 2014
My whole life, I've watched adults, living their adult lives. Even after I was grown, I watched as adults... not just adults, /other/ adults... did things with their lives I had never imagined I'd do: start businesses, educate themselves, date casually, drink responsibly (and otherwise, without being judged for it), initiate and end intimate relationships, tell uncomfortable truths because they believed in themselves despite their bad decisions, make investments, have disagreements but not fights, express anger without yelling, disapprove of another's actions without disapproving of the person himself, make hard choices with money and live happily anyway. And other healthy adult things.
I had occasionally seen these behaviours on TV, but not often, and with too little information to learn them. Given my literature choices, a select few of these were demonstrated, and of course only under ideal and/or unrealistic circumstances. More often than not, however, with my media influences and adult role models, these commonplace adult actions were completely foreign to me, even as I grew into physical adulthood myself. And as that happened, and my youth (even adult youth) slowly became less and less of an excuse for my irresponsible behaviours and bad habits, I became more and more confused.
And if you haven't experienced this yourself, let me assure you: being a physically grown yet emotionally immature adult in a healthy (or at least functioning) adult world is terrifying. Going into a coffee shop and watching two people discuss business, I wonder at the idea that neither of them depends on an employer for their livlihood, and how that can not paralyze them with fear. Trying to finish school, I watch as young 20-somethings make their way confidently from class to class to (minimum wage) job to (sometimes their own) homes without trying to pad their daily existence with the approval of other people that so often depends on frivolously spending time and money. Being nerdy made engaging in hobbies like gaming easier, but I wondered how so many young men, some married professionals, could engage in twelve-hour long sessions of anything without somehow alleviating their wives' or girlfriends' (when they had them) disapproval.