I have never felt so “adult” in my life especially since last year. It’s funny how we often say that “age is just a number” — which is true — but we find ourselves facing more problems as we age. And these problems or issues are only deemed to be problematic to us because we have experienced much in our lives to understand the gravity of the situation we are in. But then, this sentence only contradicts the former because even at a very young age, you experience a lot more than others, and when you grow older, you have more experiences and life moments to reflect on to ascertain the current issue you are facing, or, for the matter of fact, your future. And this is probably why some people comment, “You’re too matured for your age! I didn’t know you’re 21.” Yup. Okay.
That said, some people find themselves in situations they would only expect to see “adults” in. I can only think of two reasons — the people around you expect you to be in the know and perhaps have a say or be involved because of where you stand right now; or you feel affected by the situation and you find that there is a need to do something about it.
Up till now, I don’t know at what particular age “adulthood” begins because, let’s be honest, your mentality — the way you think and act, the way you show respect to others, the kind of things you feel deserves some form of worry — matters. One can be 21 and not caring of what is happening around and only doing what he/she wants to do because he/she wants to enjoy, and another of the same age might probably be thinking of himself/herself but often vis-a-vis the people important to them. But this dichotomy is of course too neat. Life isn’t a coin where there are only two ways to explain things. Instead, there is a messy web out there. My point is that if we have begun to worry a bit too much about the people around us, the situations that we would never wish to find ourselves in, things that may seem micro at first look but we have begun thinking on a meso and macro level, or on the “future-level”, I think we have come to stage where our decisions will begin to matter and affect many around us — we have arrived at adulthood.
And as I am writing, I realised that the meaning of being an “adult” or the term “adulthood” is probably socially constructed, and for the ease of giving a name to the period of life I’m trying to describe, this term is probably the closest.
I’ve also come to understand that we often find respite in talking to our friends or family about certain issues that bother us. We’re worried so much about something and the person consoling us tells us to calm down and that everything will be okay, and if possible, helps us think of practical ways to ease our worry. That is important. We cannot bottle up our worries in ourselves because we only have a certain capacity to endure, and once that capacity hits a maximum, we explode and affect everybody else including ourselves. But that isn’t just it.
Confiding in someone also helps to remind ourselves that we need to calm down, think less on the negative side and always hope for a positive outcome. It helps us to even prepare for the worse. Because the people whom we confide in are those we trust, they will always ensure that we are given the listening ear and keep on reminding us that we should remain optimistic. And it is only then that we are able to internally calm ourselves. We just need that spark to give us that mental energy to do so — this can only be done on our own. No matter how much our friends or family can tell us not to worry, if we cannot do so — this is probably a sign of a bigger worry.
I’m not writing this because I choose to write a random topic. We don’t write things without any prior experiences. We often write because we want to pen down what we have gone through, and through thoughts and words, we actually understand ourselves better.
And of course, there will be many times in the future where I’ll be a worried chicken — there is no doubt about it. But I’ve begun to understand myself more and this is very important to face the uncertainties the future has in store for me.