Thursday, 23 August 2007

What makes us grown up?

What makes us grown up? What defines a grown up and do we ever grow up? A recent discussion on the Nanny State sparked by the introduction on a ban on smoking in public places has got me trying to define responsibility, growing up and whether as a society we chase after youth so much that we are actually striving to be childish.
When I remember the adults in my life, usually from the perspective of being a child, they seemed so poised, so in control of their lives, to be frank plain organised and of course pearls of wisdom dropped off their lips like rain drops off the scaffolding outside my window.
Where have all the adults gone? Who can I look to, to show me how to be a grown-up? Is there a grown-up ideal? And if not can I fashion one? Do I have the skills to be a grown up?
But what is by far more scary is: will I be able to pass on what little skill/knowledge I have about being an adult so that my children will have the opportunity to be grown up in turn?
So what is a grown up?
For starters there is a certain selflessness about a true grown up. Less id and ego more super ego. There is an ethical integrity - they are the people we lesser mortals look up to for moral guidance.
Perhaps having two World Wars one after the other killed off too many grown ups and left the remainder with the belief that they must be doing something wrong. The resulting sea change was so strong – playing as it did to the id or child in all – that like a ball rolling down hill the momentum took over until the change was out of control - the problem is no one noticed.
There is so much I wish to explain regarding my theories about grown ups but I am tired and I will not be able to express myself adequately. Perhaps as I expound I may find enlightenment or just plain clarity….


Preseli Mags said...

I have no idea what makes a grown-up. I have asked others that I consider to be 'grown-up' and they don't think they are either!
I feel 'grown-up' during the big events in life such as birth and death, or signing a large cheque to buy a house or car, or driving my children and being responsible for their safety, or my children assuming I am a grown-up. Is it responsibility that makes a person grown-up?
Thought-provoking blog! Now my head is aching with thinking about this!

Pondside said...

This has been on my mind lately too, Tattie. I don't know what makes a grown-up, exactly, but I think it has to do with taking responsibility for one's own choices - yes, and making choices too. I notice a huge number of Peter Pans out there - hoards of 30 year olds still dependant on their parents for everything from support to approval to the provision of all Christmas and birthday celebrations. I grew up fast. My 40 year old brother is still a kid. I'll go away and think about this some more.

elizabethm said...

A grown up can put other people first without being a doormat. A grown up can defer gratification. A grown up does not panic. A grown up can hold their drink (although does occasionaly get it wrong and throws up and forgets the night before but no more than once a year). A grown up knows the names of plants and wines. A grown up can say no without writhing apology. A grown up stands up for herself. A grown up knows when to stay silent. A grown up loves other people more than herself (but is pretty happy with herself). I aspire to be one and think the kidult culture is a bit pathetic (although do like the Lion King and smarties and children's parties).
Big question for this late at night.

Frances said...

Hello from New York. You have posed an interesting question. There will be many answers, and each will lead to other questions. We could do this topic on the forum!

First, I would say that you are too young to even be asking the question. Then, hang on, maybe you are a very good age to ask. I remember beginning to look differently at the world, and how my very personal space in it fit, about the time I turned 30. (Over thirty years ago.)

Grown ups have a very different version of responsibility than do younger people. Grown ups may not always adhere to what they view as their code of responsibility, but they have begun to adopt their code.

Grown ups may sense that they could be setting an example for a younger generation. They may not be so happy to recognize this particular responsibility.

Grown ups nowadays are healthier than their age groups might have been in prior generations. This may fool them into thinking themselves to be some sort of hybrid grown up. To escape the heavy parts of being a grown up.

No matter what age we reach, do we all not still have some elder whom we look up to?

Hope so.


Suffolkmum said...

Good blog Tattie, good questions. I sort of depise this 'kidult' culture, yet had a very prolonged adolescence myself, and in some ways I'm glad I did - I packed lots of stuff in that my Mother, married and child bearing by 21, didn't get to experience. Yet much of it was really just self indulgence, 'having a nice time'. Nothing wrong with that in small doses I suppose .... for me, I feel like I really grew up when I had children and HAD to take responsibility - there wasn't anyone else to do it all for me. I do think, in whatever shape or frorm it strikes you, children or otherwise, it's to do with taking responsibility for your actions. I think!!

Frog in the Field said...

Dear Tattie, what a thought provoking post, you sound a little down.
I don't feel very grown up when my mother still manages to reduce me to tears.
My nephew announced that when he grows up he's going to have a piano in his living room, he's 21.
I had a mortgage at his age, it seems forever ago, yet I really still feel I need soneone else to look after me, I'm not grown up yet I guess.

bodran... said...

I don't think it has anything to do with age, some people are children all there lives......
Actually i think i'm youthening, i was such a grown up teenager i was far older then than i am now.. hehe

Milkmaid said...

I love the fact Bodran thinks she's youthening. I often get surprised by a situation and end up looking for a grown up to help and realise that I'm supposed to be it

Potty Mummy said...

Of course it could be that our parents a) just didn't have a choice, they had to act like grown-ups as there was no other choice, and b)they were as scared and desparate as we can sometimes be, but we just didn't realise it at the time.

Don't beat yourself up - even asking the question 'am I a grown-up?' shows you're at least thinking about it. Which means you probably are one...

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Still acting my shoe size not my age.

Being grown up for me is having a that internal core that says 'I am ok' and being able to view the world calmy and non judgmentally from that view point . . . but like I said I act my shoe size . . . :-)

Go on you know you want to...


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