November 16, 2011 Prompt of the Day: What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood?
I don’t think I believe there is an exact moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood. In normal circumstances, I believe it is more of a process than a definitive moment. I’m sure that traumatic events such as childhood molestation and/or rape or other living conditions or situations could possibly jump start the psyche into a form of adulthood. That’s nothing that I can claim to understand from experience and that is not for me to blog about. I would have to say that the move for me has been more of a process, contrary to popular belief.
There are a lot of suggestions about maturation out there, but the majority of them lean toward there being a moment when you cross over into adulthood. There have long been ceremonies that celebrate just that in ancient tribes. Children partake in a right of passage of sorts and then are viewed as adults. This may be symbolic and merely serve to represent the transformation, but different traditions put different ages and times to these milestones too. There is always an age set to everything. Sweet 16 you can drive. 18 you can vote and die for your country. 21 you can drink legally.
I just don’t know if I believe there is a line, where you are in childhood on this side, and you are in adulthood on the other. Even if it is a gradual change, though, there has to be a “moment” when you have crossed completely over into adulthood. So, if there isn’t an exact moment, what is the moment of progression? That is, at what moment do we start to become adults and move away from being children? What STARTS the move? What is the force? It poses an interesting question.
Responsibility. Isn’t that what drags everyone down in life? Isn’t that why children are so care free? Key word: care. They’re free of it. They don’t have a care in the world. They have no responsibility. We are the ones responsible. My daughter is pure discovery, pure exploration. There is no “bad” in her world right now. She is slowly learning the difference between right and wrong, but right now in her life her spirit is so positive and unmarred. She is so innocent and unaware. I watch her all the time and smile. It’s one of the most precious things in the world. Her sweetness; complete sweetness. But, hey, I’d be a lot sweeter too if I had no worries.
The lack of responsibility as a child is astounding, hell, you aren’t even responsible for wiping your own ass for how long? This apparently is very freeing! Imagine having no worries at all. Your day would be a lot fuller for exploration and play. You would have no responsibility so you would basically have little to no worry. No real stress. The stressful world of adults is created by all of this responsibility.
So when is the moment when you leave childhood and move into adulthood? I think that it starts quite simply when you get your first taste of responsibility. You then enter into a period of transformation where you learn what it means to be an adult through small responsibilities you slowly add to your list. You leave childhood when you start to take on the responsibility that is expected of you as an adult and, in turn, you enter adulthood, when you are able to accept that responsibility.