What was my generation’s “growing up” or “maturing” is this next generation’s “Adulting.” According to the Urban dictionary, the top-rated definition of “Adulting” (as a verb) is to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups. It is grossly apparent to me that the key word or phrase here is responsibility and knowing what it is, why it is necessary and the act and actions of being “responsible.”
Boomers had a known pathway …
My boomer generation generally had only one working parent while the other stayed home and raised the kids. The stay-at-home Moms spent almost all of their time — many, many hours each week — teaching us to accept and thrive on being responsible for not only ourselves, but also our community and each other. Creative communications thrived in each family as these lessons were home-taught based on circumstance and opportunity — as well as familiarity and frequency.
We didn’t know it at the time, but that was a short-lived, post-war luxury phenomenon that we were very fortunate to have.
Because it’s no longer that way.
GenX and GenY had options …
GenX and GenY saw the dissolution of the two parent family; the elimination of the reciprocal loyalty between employee and company; and the onslaught of the “me” society where almost all energies are channeled to survival and advancement within a collapsing, increasingly decadent and pressured society. But they grew up with core securities of house and home, comforts and small luxuries that became necessities as technology exploded and re-defined that category.
For these generations, the transition to adulthood and responsibility was still somewhat organic.
Millennials have no charted course because the destination is unclear …
Today, in post-recession America, most families have either one or two working parents that are sometimes holding down multiple jobs each and are still struggling to make ends meet — trying to make sure the kids get what they need, that there is shelter over their heads, reasonably nutritious food on the table, proper healthcare provided, electronic necessities are reasonably up-to-date, and that daily necessities are taken care of, and maybe, just maybe, there are a few extra dollars for some of the things they want.
And kids today of all ages see this struggle — how hard it is, how stressful it makes their parents, and how fragile family dynamics and economics can be. And it scares the crap out of them, knowing that as time passes, they must also take on seemingly enormous levels of responsibility and stress, for themselves as well as for their families-to-be.
Obviously the world has changed through all of these generations and the passage of time. But kids today — aged newborn to well within their 30s — will have a tougher time than we did: their world is no longer built on solid ground with a sturdy foundation. Social and economic shifts are a daily occurrence; technology cycles have accelerated to a constantly shrinking binary half-life span; social mobility is practically unlimited for the advantaged, but so much more restricted now for the disadvantaged; information is incessant, as is chronic stimulation and access to anything and everything at any time — physical or intellectual.
No wonder direction is so hard to determine and “responsibility” is so daunting and ominous. Really — who wants to grow up in these circumstances? It’s certainly more difficult than anything my generation had to face much less deal with or conquer.
So “Adulting” became a word out of necessity, and was coined in 2015 for the new definition of growing up in extremely challenging times. We needed a new word to describe the huge globally-influenced complexities, to communicate the new context, to express the enormity of all we have to do to prepare our next generations to be great people, great parents and great citizens of independence — accountable for their actions and decisions with compassion and empathy to all.
In short, we need some real, honest-to-God “Adulting” behavior before we can even hope to “Make America Great Again.” Something that we haven’t seen or exhibited from our own governmental or societal leaders in America in damned-near 30 years … still.
Urban Dictionary: Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.
“Adulting” is an ironic way to describe engaging in adult behaviors, like paying taxes or doing chores — the sort of mundane tasks that responsibility demands. – Ben Sasse, May 8, 2017
Skip the ‘adulting’ and just grow up, the Ben Sasse way — MarketWatch
The Adulting Blog — Kelly Williams Brown
The 7 Pillars of Adulting — Apartmenttherapy.com
Millennials: We’ve Gotta Stop ‘Adulting’ — Stream.org
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title for more information.
Adulting: How to become a grown–up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
by Kelly Williams Brown
The Champ: A Young Man’s Guide to Becoming a Great Adult
by Pete “The Sunnyside Kid” McGinley
Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood
by Kayla Parker
I’m slowly Becoming An Adult Please Make It Stop – T-shirt
by Pop Culture Madness Designs
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