You have to survive the politics of cool kids and nerds and outcasts and groups and trends.
You have to learn about subjects you don’t really see the need for.
You have to make decisions which impact you in the future without knowing what your future even is.
You have to survive episodes of embarrassment and humiliation and anxiety.
Growing up is tough.
Being an adult is no less scary.
You still have to navigate the politics and social situations that make up your life.
You still have to do things you don’t want to.
You still have to make decisions whose consequences you cannot comprehend.
You still have to suffer through failure and pain and regret.
But the two are different.
As a child or a teen, we have someone to hold our hand. We have parents to talk to and comfort us. We have teachers to help us understand and guide us. We, more than any other stage in our life, rely on others to help us navigate through the difficulties and decisions we face.
We are dependent.
As an adult, the game is changed. We still have people to support us. But the onus is on us to learn what we must do, make the decision and do it.
The transition from child to adult is marked by this diffusion of responsibility for our lives from others to ourselves.
Being grown up means acknowledging responsibility for your own situation.
No one else is to blame. It’s not society’s fault you have a job you don’t like. It’s not your parents fault you haven’t developed valuable skills. You can’t blame him or her or them or that.
Everything is on you.
Yes, there are some things you can’t control: Where you were born. What family you were born into: rich, poor, abusive, loving. The colour of your skin. The way you look. Your natural talents and tendencies.
But there is plenty you can assume responsibility for: Your actions. Your ongoing education. Your character. Your thoughts. Your attitude and approach to everything that has and will happen to you.
An adult is someone over a certain age. A grown up is someone who accepts that they are responsible for what they do with what they have.
We all become adults. We don’t all grow up.