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Some time ago a friend from high school invited me to her daughter's debut. And I had to proxy for her daughter's ninong and maybe give a few words on what it means to become an adult. My first two reactions were (1) wow I'm so old one of my batchmates has an eighteen-year-old daughter; and (2) what the heck would I know about becoming an adult? (I guess (3) was "oh, it's a debut, so it's formal and I have to dress up? I hate dressing up.")

I mean, don't get me wrong. I certainly consider myself an adult. But I have no idea when that transitioned happened. It's not like when you turn eighteen you get some kind of brain implant that magically tells you how to live life and be independent and get a job and be responsible and do your taxes and all that stuff.

If anything, I would say "becoming an adult" is a continuing task that keeps going on even when you're nearing the big four-oh and beyond. I guess the zeitgeist is already aware of this though, given how we've coined the word "adulting", which basically means doing stuff that makes you feel like an adult. Like going to the bank. Or signing contracts. Or even dressing up to go to a formal event.

While we were having dinner at the event, I jokingly said I should just give a message like "fake it til you make it." I basically feel that's what most of adulthood is: bumbling along until you figure out what the heck you're doing. When you're a kid you look up to the grown-ups who can go out and do anything they want and confidently do all these jobs and they know everything. But when you grow up you realize that's not really how it works -- most of the time all the adults are struggling through life too, trying to figure out whatever thing they have to do that day, or even just trying to make it to the next paycheck. And you're definitely going to miss being a kid. Maybe that's the sign that you're already an adult, when you already miss being a kid?

I ended up reading a few words from the actual ninong, so I didn't get to give my own adulthood message. One of my other batchmates gave the debutante a copy of The Art of War as a gift, with the message that adulthood is basically warfare so she should be prepared. While I agree with that sentiment somewhat, I think for me the most important thing about becoming an adult would be learning to find your own voice and identity. That means figuring out what's important to you and what values you hold. Being an adult isn't easy, but knowing yourself in this way gives you a framework to guide you in your adulting decisions.

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Last modified at: Jan. 17, 2021, 4:57 a.m. Source file


Raymond used to wonder if one day adults just wake up one morning, drink coffee and open the newspaper. I don't know when it happened, but when I realised it, I said "Gah! I'm an adult!"

Lorenz Ponce said...

Yes this: think for me the most important thing about becoming an adult would be learning to find your own voice and identity. That means figuring out what’s important to you and what values you hold. After the bumbling around you finally learn to trust yourself.

There are certain "adult" milestones that people set store by: getting drunk, driving and owning their first car, voting. Actually, being an adult means being responsible for oneself and for someone else. Making decisions and making sacrifices, and understanding others more. Some of us each reach adulthood sooner than others, even before the age of 18: my brothers and sisters took care of their younger sibs, including me, and they transitioned naturally to living their own lives. (I myself took awhile to be more mature and I owe it to my sibs ;-) ) Btw Roy, thanks for taking this role :-) it's not an easy one, but I'm glad it inspired you. Cheers!

Roy Tang said...

I don't drink coffee, but I've been reading the newspaper in the morning since I was in HS so... IDK lol

Arthur Abon said...

We become adults at the point we realize that adults didn't necessarily know it all, nor are capable of anything.

Raymond Lirag said...

Sometime a few years ago I started reading BBC and other news websites, which I guess is the equivalent. :D

Well recently the news reads like the entertainment section... and I dunno if I can count all the fakes I read 😆