Adulthood

Chil­dren are al­ways watch­ing their par­ents. I re­mem­ber watch­ing my dad as he watched the nightly news on TV. I would sit there and think, “Why would you watch the news when you could watch car­toons? When I’m an adult, I’m go­ing to stay up late and watch car­toons.”

Looney Tunes logo
Looney Tunes title card

That was many moons ago. The older I get, the more I look back at my past self and re­al­ize how im­ma­ture I was (I Cor. 13:11). But I’ve never thought that I was im­ma­ture; it’s al­ways past Brian that was im­ma­ture. Of course, a few years later, I re­al­ize that what I thought was ma­ture was still young and im­ma­ture (this time I re­ally am ma­ture though!).

The same goes with “old”. There’s a di­rect cor­re­la­tion be­tween my age and my de­f­i­n­i­tion of “old”. I re­mem­ber in grade school think­ing high school­ers were old. Now I lump high school­ers in to the “kids” des­ig­na­tion. The same cy­cle with col­lege stu­dents and col­lege grad­u­ates. Now my de­f­i­n­i­tion of old is “has grand­chil­dren”, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be chang­ing that de­f­i­n­i­tion even­tu­ally.

I as­sume that this cy­cle con­tin­ues your whole life. You never feel old, but you al­ways feel ma­ture. You never feel like you know ex­actly what to do next. And yet, some­where along the way you be­come an adult, though there’s not a day where you wake up and think, “Now I’m an adult.”

When I was plan­ning my last va­ca­tion, I stopped and thought, “This is some­thing my par­ents did. When they were my age. My par­ents were just like me.” And it hit me: adults just make it up as they go along. No­body knows ex­actly what to do next; every­one gives it their best shot, but no­body knows. And you might never feel like an adult: be­cause you thought adults were so dif­fer­ent from you, you ex­pected to feel dif­fer­ently when it hap­pened to you. But you won’t. Every­one is just mak­ing it up as they go along.

But I am an adult. I make de­ci­sions. I plan va­ca­tions. I’m re­spon­si­ble for peo­ple other than my­self. I can choose whether to watch the news or car­toons. And now that I’ve reached that point, now that I am an adult, now that I can choose…I stay up late and watch car­toons. Be­cause why would you watch the news when you could watch car­toons? 😉 ∎

Apparently this is known as the end-of-his­tory il­lu­sion.

home3 dice images quill spoon-knife