Bits of Bonnie
When I started thinking about "becoming an adult," it seemed to me the first thing to consider was what makes a person an adult. Once there were initiations to pass, as when a boy joined the men on a hunt and killed his first "food." Once, a girl was considered an adult when she began to menstruate and could have children. I had my first period when I was twelve; did that make me an adult? I don't think so!
I married at eighteen; did that make me an adult? Apparently not. When we bought a house in early 1960, I was nineteen and my husband was twenty-five. He could sign the papers, but I could not ... because I was a minor. At that time the legal age was twenty-one, but that has fluctuated in my lifetime. Anyway, I had to go before a judge to get my "minority" removed. Then I could sign legal papers and be co-owner of our first house.
Did owning a house make me an adult? Apparently not. I couldn't vote in the 1960 election between Nixon and Kennedy ... or at least I assumed I couldn't vote ... because I was only twenty. A few years ago it occurred to me that maybe I could have voted after all, since officially my minority had been removed earlier that same year and I was "legally" an adult. But I didn't think of that until about 45 years too late.
When I was twenty, my twins were born; did that make me an adult? When people asked me how I managed, I would tell them, "I didn't know what to do with ONE, and I got TWO."
My father died in a traffic accident when I was twenty-four, and my widowed mother was in shock; so my 21-year-old brother and I had to arrange the funeral. Did that make me an adult?
Somehow, things keep happening and we keep going, doing whatever is necessary to cope. Maybe I became an adult at the point I was able to put the pieces together sufficiently to be able to say with confidence that I now knew my own mind and could give a satisfactory answer to the meaning of my life. If so (I wrote in late 2006), I became an adult only four or five years ago in my early sixties! And THAT, dear heart, is why my email is "emerging.paradigm" ... because I am emerging into my new way of being.
Am I an adult now? Maybe it depends on the day. Some days I feel like I'm in my second childhood.
How would you answer the question? When, exactly, did you become an adult?