Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Adulthood

So one of the themes of this blog is that the authors are somewhere between college and official adulthood. This has led to a few of our loyal readers (okay, we probably don't have loyal readers yet) to ask for a definition of adulthood. Maybe not a definition, but some sort of criteria that would help determine when you officially reach adulthood. Keep in mind that whatever criteria we set here for adulthood, it can't fit me (otherwise this blog would be founded on lies).

I've ruled out using a specific age to determine adulthood. There are a couple reasons for this:
1. There are plenty of 24 year olds out there who act like they're 45 (and the other way around).
2. Whatever age I set, some of our blog readers would be older than this age, and we're really trying to grow our readership here

R.J. thinks that vacuum cleaner ownership is an indication of adulthood. I'm ruling this one out, because we're on our second vacuum cleaner already - which would make me an adult.

Sidenote: If you're asking yourself why does he have two vacuum cleaners then you're not alone. I ask myself the same question everyday. Apparently our perfectly fine/working first vacuum cleaner doesn't do a good job of getting dog hair off of couches. My solution to this was to keep the dog of the couch. Silly me.

Some of the other rejected criteria for adulthood followed the same general idea - if you own this, then you're an adult. I decided that ownership of some possession (or lack thereof) isn't the best criteria, as that's more a product of economics (or marital status) than adulthood. So that rules out potential criteria like having a mortgage, food processor, or getting rid of your college car.

I also don't think that parenthood = adulthood. I watch enough Dr. Phil and Discovery Health to know that plenty of non-adults have kids.

So I've come up with two ideas that I think might work. The first involves going to the doctor. Not just going to the doctor when you're sick or hurt, but going to the doctor because it's time to go to the doctor. So regular appointments or check-ups with a family physician. This family physician cannot be the same doctor that you went to when you were a kid. You have to have your own general doctor and go there when nothing (that you know of) is wrong with you. I'm sure that's a really good idea, but I think that makes you an adult.

The second potential sign of adulthood involves work holiday parties. There are all kinds of holiday parties. Since I graduated college, I've had three real jobs and had three different kinds of holiday parties. The first one I would classify as adults only and quiet - the kind of thing that you might do on a typical weekend. It was at a dinner theatre where you'd sit with one other couple and watch a play and eat dinner in silence. It was over by 10:00 PM and there was no hint of an after party. The second type (job #2) was the family friendly holiday party. It was scheduled from 10 AM - Noon and involved Santa and children and scrambled eggs. The third type of party is adults-only, open bar with plenty of options after the official party ends. Nothing too crazy, but at least enough activity to make you believe some of the statistics about people getting fired based on behavior at the holiday party.

Getting back to my theory on adulthood, the criteria here is what is your ideal holiday party is either #1 (adults only, in silence, in bed before 11:00) or #2 (children and Santa) then you're an adult. If your ideal holiday party is #3 (and it's not your one big night for the year) then you're probably not officially an adult - or you don't get out enough.

So those are just a couple of ideas. I had another one that revolved around what you look for when you buy a pair of jeans, but this post is probably already long enough. We'd love for you to post comments on your own criteria because a) I'm pretty sure we can come up with better ideas and b) I'd like to break the current blog record for comments to an individual post. Roy's guilty pleasure post has 14 comments (check local listings) and I'm pretty sure we can break the record.


Anonymous said...

No longer relying on your mom to do your laundry. For some that comes much earlier than for others.

Amanda said...

I have a couple ideas:

1. Different types of insurances.

I just got rental insurance, even though this is the 2nd year of living in my 2nd apartment after college. Rental insurance = stage 1 adult.

Life insurance = stage 2 adult. It implies you have someone else depending on you.

2. Any sort of higher level savings/investing instigated on your own behalf. For my 25th birthday, I opened a Roth-IRA for myself.

dusty said...

One idea: When Spring rolls around and you are actually excited. Not that it is getting warmer, but because you can't wait to mow your grass.

Nate Romance said...

While all of these are excellent ideas, I'm on the adult side of the three suggestions listed above.

Rob said...

Dinner parties, couples only dinner parties.

Anonymous said...

You're officially an adult when you create a blog entry trying to prove why you're not officially an adult.

Nate Romance said...

Oh Snap.

Anonymous said...

I want to go back to the vacuum cleaner criteria. As R.J. and I discussed via email, leaving the house and intentionally buying a new vacuum cleaner at a reputable retailer is different from getting a hand me down from your parents or in R.J.'s case, his sister.

Jengle said...

1. as an extension of amanda's post: if you even know when/why you would get different types of insurance

2. if you consider the impact of some action on your credit rating

3. If you buy a household item (ie vacuum, dishes, toaster) and are not only excited but tell other people about your buying it

4. if you put a belt, socks, underwear on a gift list for some holiday

5. if the "kids these days" you feel out of touch with have graduated from college. Note: this one might not actually be a sign of adulthood, maybe just a sign you should work on becoming an adult

6. when you decorate the walls of where you live with things that don't need thumbtacks...this one is guy specific and doesn't count if your girlfriend/wife/mother puts them up

7. if you are concerned that you don't have health insurance or will be losing it

Anonymous said...

I think you are an adult when you start trying to get pregnant, instead of trying not to.

Anonymous said...

Listening to books on tape during car rides (?)

When you see a 16 year old driving a car and you SWEAR he/she looks 12 (?)

When you're old enough to be drafted into the army. When you cry when the news reports the death of a young solider in Iraq and you say, 'He/She was just a kid. That poor family.'

Adulthood is Adulthood. It is what it is. You couldn't pay me enough to go back and re-live my high school or college days.


Anonymous said...

I have not been to the "regular" doctor since I was 17 and got my Senior year sports physical for Poms. Dr. Simpson lumped my pre-college vaccinations in there too, and she was in fact a pediatrician. Judge me.

Probably every pair of jeans I currently own cost somewhere around 20% of my paycheck, i.e. two days of work. Keep in mind, I'm good at finding sales though so I most likely did not pay that. So that's kind of mature?

I am also nowhere near adulthood seeing as I threw up at work the morning after my holiday party. Keep in mind, I was not alone in this action. I'm in Advertising...I was actually praised for showing up to work. Also I had seen enough after school specials in Health Class starring Calista Flockhart and vomit to know how to puke quietly. (Nate's wife might disagree with me there, but I have come a long way since I was 16. And she cannot talk. eh hem, McKelvy Wedding......)

MaryB said...

When a date with your husband begins or ends at Home Depot and you are excited about it :(

MaryB said...

Oh, and when your daughter is taller than you in a photo ----->