did someone muck with the backend here

Re: Guest Post - What does it mean to feel like an adult

1

Heebie's takes are my favorite part of unfogged.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:09 AM
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Ffej is my new favorite commenter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:13 AM
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My favorite Led Zeppelin lyrics --

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man,
Now I've reached that age, I've tried to do all those things the best I can.
No matter how I try, I find my way into the same old jam.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:17 AM
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I'm part of the Toys R Us kid generation.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:19 AM
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The thing that make me feel most like an adult is having internalized something my mom used to say: when I'd complain about having to get up early or something, and I'd want commiseration, and ask her, "But don't you hate doing [X]? Every single day?" She'd answer, "I don't think about it, I just do it."

So growing up means not even feeling your own pain? Comfortably numb?

It's classic rock day here in peeptonia!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:20 AM
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I expected that Heebie-Geebie would feel confident in her adulthood (if for no other reason then this quote).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:22 AM
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I think the trick is willingness to wear nice clothes without being asked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:27 AM
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What does it mean to feel like an adult?:

--Looking at college students and thinking "OMG They are literally just kids."
--Having cow-orkers who are literally half your age.

(OK, those are more "What does it mean to feel middle-aged?", but that's when you really feel like an adult.)


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:34 AM
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I do feel like an adult in that I do those everyday unpleasant tasks without complaining.

I don't feel like an adult because I carry a backpack, and sometimes I'll just start running for no reason.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:47 AM
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Solution: Get a messenger bag or briefcase.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:51 AM
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10: Who said there was a problem?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:53 AM
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Raising kids is a big one for a sense of agency, at least it was for me.

You're a slave to the money and then you die as the song goes.

Probably there is a lot of variation in how people expected to feel as adults in their pasts. My parents didn't model thorough competence (Immigrants, substantial individual failings), neither did the parents of many of my close friends growing up.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:54 AM
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It's the curse of this generation to be endlessly self-conscious and reflective, in a way that used to be the province of adolescence. It serves a huge number of marketing interests (as well as social causes and so on) to keep us in that state, so here we are (a pretty large number of us, anyway) in permanent adolescence. I'm not going to stand by this exact formulation but it's something like that.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:56 AM
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My dad had the whole old-school competent-at-all stuff down.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:56 AM
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8.1 I would say doing bills/cleaning/repairs/(necessary arrangements) above failure threshold and not giving a shit whether someone else would have made different choices.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:57 AM
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13: Are future generations going to be too absorbed in video games to think deep thoughts the way we do?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 11:59 AM
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I feel both that I'm failing pretty hard at being a functional old-school adult (which is false, I know) and that I'm also a failure at being the hip youthful adult (probably true) and it kind of sucks. Also there's something more wrong with my ankle than the simple sprain I've been trying to baby for six weeks now and I have to wait another week to get an MRI and find out what.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:02 PM
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About a half dozen times today my ankle has just failed to bend under load. It makes me feel like an adult because pain.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:06 PM
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18: What a drag it is getting old!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:09 PM
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16: No no no. Not "reflective" in a good way. Deep thinkpieces. Self-consciousness is usually not so productive IME.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:10 PM
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17: If your tendon turned to bone, we can be ankle-failure buddies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:13 PM
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This "failure at adulting" stuff is very common among my age group, of course, but I don't really feel it personally. I guess I basically feel like NickS, that I'm an adult and this just is what that looks like.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:15 PM
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21: What the hell, Moby? That sounds awful! And it had better darn well not be the problem.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:25 PM
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When Stross talked through his 'imposter syndrome' theory, positing that he didn't feel like an adult because he wasn't dressed like he saw adults dressing, I was so, so glad that I am west coast. My parents were adults in jeans, so I don't have to worry that being in jeans means I'm not an adult.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:27 PM
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23: It's more "ossification" than actually turning into bone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:32 PM
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24: Your parents were Neil Diamond.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:32 PM
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Going to a conference, while being a youngish scholar, and being in the position to give advice and facilitate connections to younger scholars. Just a moment of, oh. That's me now.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:37 PM
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25: Isn't that what "ossification" literally means?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:41 PM
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29

Quiet you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:44 PM
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30

For me feeling like an adult was when I started feeling like I was falling behind my peers.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:44 PM
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28, 29: I am successfully old-school when it comes to understanding etymology, so teo didn't actually spoil it for me. Also I learned how to do needlepoint (basketweave stitch) today. So never let it be said there's nothing I can do.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:45 PM
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Regardless, it hurts less when you say "ossification".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:48 PM
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30 is depressing but weirdly succinct and accurate. Sounds about right!


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:49 PM
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That one is probably fairly specific to "men who got good grades in school," though.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:50 PM
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30 just means I started out full-grown. But yeah, the pivot from having promise to being boring at least is complete. (Ugh, I sound extra awful here, don't I? I swear this is mostly just grumpiness and a subjective self-analysis, nothing more.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:51 PM
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I was seen as mature early, which helped me feel adult--which is why I was blindsided by friends who'd praised my levelheadedness and envied the way I had my life together started congratulating me on adulthood only at specific romantic markers, which came a decade later.

It was weird; I'd been paying for an apartment (for a while with a roommate, then without), keeping ahead on bills, bought a car, etc. -- but it was seriously dating or moving in with my wife that moved me across the finish line in the eyes of my high school peers. By then I was in my early 30s and gobsmacked that they'd felt that she was needed to reach "real" adulthood.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 12:55 PM
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Honestly, without a wife and a mistress, you really aren't achieving full potential.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:02 PM
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The thing that made me feel most like an adult was having a secretary. The thing that makes me feel least like an adult is not having a secretary anymore.

Nah 30 is right though--having to face the fact that my choices and, like, my nature have closed and will close doors, not just open them.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:23 PM
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30 holds here as well, but I'd call that feeling old, not feeling like an adult. That presumes a general competence and has-it-togetherness I don't have.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:25 PM
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Anyway I'm pretty sure if you asked my parents, who are in their late 60s, if they felt like adults, they'd say "meh." If you asked Aegi's parents, who are in their late 70s, they would say yes. Or they'd say what on earth kind of question is that, then continue to morbidly browse retirement community brochures or write Christmas cards or whatever.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:32 PM
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I kind of like how the collapse of broadly shared social norms has made it so definitions of adulthood become antiquated before they can ossify.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:35 PM
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42

I definitely do see peers doing Adult things like gunning for partnership or buying fixer-uppers to spend their weekends on or having more kids, and I envy their imagined certainty and motivating sense of purpose.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:41 PM
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41: Unlike tendons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:41 PM
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I used to get calls soliciting for financial planning/retirement services at my old job and I'd tell them I didn't need it because the global economy would collapse and we'd all be under literal water in 40 years. One gamely tried to tell me "well you'll need to be able to pay for wood for your raft," and I said "no, you will need to be able to FIGHT for wood for your raft."

I'm adult based on how mature this story makes me sound.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:45 PM
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45

So, have you started to practice filtering your own urine for drinking water?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:48 PM
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46

I feel unhappily adult whenever I realize that I have lived longer than yet another person who, or whose work, is of moment. More cheerfully, there is a passage in some Robertson Davies novel in which an elderly monastic chuckles fondly at the thought of soon being able to discuss with Jesus the experiences of growing old.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:52 PM
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Boy, 30 holds for me, too. When I was finishing graduate school and decided not to be ambitious and apply for research post-docs like all my peers, I got a ton of pushback and people questioning that decision, "don't you want to leave your options open? Once you quit the research track, you can't go back." I felt very strongly that it was time to start closing some doors and that I no longer wanted my central focus to be leaving all my options open.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:55 PM
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Rites of passage contribute to feeling like an adult, but universal ones are scarce, outside maybe completing schooling at various levels and passing qualifications after, like the bar.

Things that mattered to me, like making the grade in military training, completing a long trip driving a big truck or dropping an engine I'd rebuilt back into a car and finding it ran well, seem time- and class-specific now that I recount them. The sense of adult pride I got from them carries forward into a very different life that seems to have few such passages that everyone would agree about.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:58 PM
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Boy, 30 holds for me, too. When I was finishing graduate school and decided not to be ambitious and apply for research post-docs like all my peers, I got a ton of pushback and people questioning that decision, "don't you want to leave your options open? Once you quit the research track, you can't go back."

30 is basically the result of having gone into PhD and then research post-doc while my peers were deciding they had had enough education, meaning they were also able to decide to get a job that could possibly last more than 3 years, meaning they were able to buy a house, meaning they were able to start a family, etc.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:58 PM
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46: I like Robertson Davies, but from the limited amount of his stuff that I've read, he seems unable make his characters convincing sound like anything other than a well settled middle aged bachelor. This was fine when he wrote middle aged bachelors, but stuck out when he tried to write 22 year old female graduate students.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 1:59 PM
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51

So now I'm going back again
I got to get her somehow
All the people we used to know
They're an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenter's wives
Don't know how it all got started
I don't what they're doing with their lives
But me I'm still on the road
Heading for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point of view
[left as an exercise for the reader]


Posted by: OPINIONATED NOBEL LAUREATE | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:03 PM
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I blame Boomers.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:07 PM
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50: That sounds pretty bad. It's a good thing no other novelist on Earth suffers from a similar shortcoming w/r/t the Weltanschauung of self-loathing Anglo-American urban symbolic analysts.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:08 PM
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52: Speaking of which, is anybody else's Dylan-age parental unit earnestly engaged in calculating how much credit for the prize should accrue to (i) himself the listener and (ii) the members of The Band?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:10 PM
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I often joke that I was 65 when I was 7 or 8, but it's pretty much not a joke. I have certainly observed different stages of my own life and maturity (a big one being buying a house when I was 25) but in a lot of ways I've felt like an adult for 30+ years.

Hitting my 20s was frustrating because it felt like I had been waiting so long to have anything in common with my peers and so many of them were still behaving in many ways like children.* It was so, so great to get to my 30s, and the 40s so far are equally wonderful. Three cheers for grown-ups!

*Specific to a white, UMC setting, what I mean here is that they didn't pay their own bills, didn't do their own taxes, routinely passed off tasks like car inspection, home repair, doctor's appointments, etc to their parents to manage, asked their parents for money, etc.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:26 PM
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48. Good point. Both working in a group to a set goal or doing something tangible were actually pretty rare when I was young, and most people here are younger, I bet rarer still. Rebuilding an engine is a big deal.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:26 PM
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Aegi's dad has some amazing ideas about what his boys needed to learn to become Men. Most of them are super-useful but some of them are definitely weirdly specific like "parallel park a truck with a trailer."

Anyway it seems like it would be nice to feel like you were doing ok as long as you could feed your kid, build a bookshelf, and punch out a burglar, I wish I were a son born to a sexist silent generation Methodist.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:26 PM
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22, 42: This is almost too obvious to say, but what ties all of these adult rites of passage together is spending humongous lump sums of money. And surprise! Since 2000 and especially 2008 more and more people are entering young adulthood without the means to accumulate them.

As a card carrying member of peak millennial America I can't stand the media enforced insecurity around maturity or the phrase "adulting". My personal definition of "adulthood" is that it's the movement from a childhood and adolescent one sided dependence on parents, teachers, etc. to a reciprocal state where others (partners, employers and colleagues, friends) depend on the adult as well. I'm on the border between my mid and late twenties, and almost all of my peers have entered the adult state, including those who are sporadically employed, live with their parents, or struggle with romance.


Posted by: Psychoceramicist | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:31 PM
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59

Further to 57 I have definitely seen him go house on random 26 year old waiters with nautical star tattoos, like "HAVE YOU SWABBED A DECK SIR."


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:34 PM
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My personal definition of "adulthood" is that it's the movement from a childhood and adolescent one sided dependence on parents, teachers, etc. to a reciprocal state where others (partners, employers and colleagues, friends) depend on the adult as well.

That seems like a better working definition than most, I agree.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:35 PM
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This is almost too obvious to say, but what ties all of these adult rites of passage together is spending humongous lump sums of money.

I don't think this holds up. Buying a car and going to college are not the media's version of adulthood, but they're both expensive. Having kids and a drudgery job, and being married are not expensive, but fit the media story of adulting (a word I also loathe.)

Buying a house and having a fancy wedding fit your theory. I suppose those are the points of entry?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:43 PM
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Having kids isn't expensive?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:46 PM
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I was never really waiting for my peers to be adults, but I certainly feel like I was born to be in my forties. Catching up to that has felt great, except for being in terrible shape.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:46 PM
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62: You can have them without any money. It's easier than buying a house!

Point taken, they are expensive. But they make you feel impoverished.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:52 PM
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65

What is 60 quoting?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:53 PM
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They're only expensive if the law tracks you down and makes you pay child support.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:54 PM
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60 is quoting 58.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 2:59 PM
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67: Thanks. Somehow I missed that. I like that formulation.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 3:01 PM
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I was a pretty mature sensible young person. I'm a fairly mature sensible adult.

I've been financially self-supporting and had a job, more or less since I was 16. I've been completely self-supporting, and had no parental help at all, since I was about 18. So I think any transition to adult responsibility was a long time ago. I haven't felt emotionally like I've been a failure at 'adulting'* for decades.**

People tell me that becoming a parent really changes you, but, honestly, I'm not sure it has. I'm more tired than I ever was, and I have no free time, but I don't feel particularly different in other ways.

* also hate the word.

** I'm still perfectly capable of being an arse, but that's not the same thing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 3:07 PM
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I think for men (generalizing horribly here) the way you become an adult is to attain power over others, either literally as (say) a manager or 50's era father, or symbolically as a guru or role model or whatever that doesn't require forcing people to do things. When I say I think this, I mean, "this is what I internalized as a young man."

In reality, I think you become an adult by taking responsibility and seeing things through. "Do your job," as the NE Patriots say (and don't always do, being human and all). Children point at other people and say "It's HIS fault!" "SHE made me do it!"

Maybe this sounds horribly boomerish? Bougie?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 3:45 PM
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30 is excellent.

One thing I notice when I look at old family photographs: in my parents' and especially grandparents' day, people appear to have settled into confirmed adulthood at a much earlier age than people do today. I mean, they looked older at a younger age, if that makes sense. My grandparents at age 30-35 looked like a middle-aged couple, had the look of people of 50+ years today. And it's not just the sepia tones, nor the quaintly old-fashioned clothing. There is a look, it is in their faces (I hesitate to call it a look of resignation, but in any case, they did not look young at an age that nowadays we might call "youngish").

There may be a class angle here: my grandparents were working-class, and I'm probably comparing them to highly educated and highly mobile UMCs of today. But I also think it's generational.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:07 PM
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I think it's because men can wear hats without looking like a hipster.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:15 PM
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+n't


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:15 PM
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My son is doing Spanish homework and making jokes about the translation of "pineapples" and how it sounds like "penis". Kids are really immature.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:19 PM
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Back around when I was approaching 30, the wife of a friend described adulthood as the point when she stopped not doing things that she wanted to do just because her parents would be pleased by them and take credit for her doing them. Rung the bell for me.


Posted by: No Longer Middled Aged Man | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:20 PM
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71:
True generally, although I've recently seen a picture of my parents around forty that surprised me with their vitality and physicality.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:34 PM
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OT: I wonder what our lawyers with highly relevant experience have to say about this Gitmo maneuver.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 4:41 PM
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72: Yeah, my grandfather never went out in public without wearing a hat. And believe you me, he was no hipster.

The hat that I can recall was a felt fedora: so, pretty hipsterish by today's standards.

(Also, he would not wear a hat indoors, in the presence of women. This was considered rude and loutish, in my grandfather's day).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:06 PM
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77 - That's an insanely confusing article, and I don't have any relevant experience with Gitmo. But a US Court can issue a warrant (called a "warrant of body attachment") to the US Marshall's service to bring in someone who has committed civil contempt. From a one-minute google it looks like military judges have the power to issue writs of attachment for civilians in civil contempt, as well. So on a very quick look, nothing specific to anything at Gitmo and not something that's a particularly big deal.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:10 PM
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Sorry, "writ of body attachment." It's a good phrase. We got close to getting one once which would have been awesome.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:12 PM
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"warrant of body attachment"

Sounds like a mandatory nose ring or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:12 PM
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"writ of body attachment."

Think I read about those at bmezine once


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:13 PM
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Dammit moby


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:13 PM
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84

Sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:16 PM
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30, 58

I'm in my early 30s and feel both of the above definitions apply to me somewhat.

Just today I found out that an ex-colleague got one of what I consider to be my dream jobs, that I had also applied for; it's a specially awful sting because we did the same master's and had been working at the same job, and she's a couple of years younger than me. So if feeling a small piece of you die when your friends succeed is the definition of being an adult, then I became one today.

If the definition in 58 holds, then adulthood is something I fear but am somehow sliding into. I'm in a 4-year relationship, 2 of them in cohabitation, and for the best part of the past year the subject of children comes up about quarterly, with me struggling to utter different versions of "I'm not ready and don't know when I will be".

So yeah, having a stable relationship and/or children who depend on you, and, I would add, feeling and giving into the pressure to do the sensible thing for now rather than the thing that you think gives you the best shot at being able to achieve what you want for later. Having a car, a house, and a good job, but no wife and no children, is just being a rich kid.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:26 PM
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Your joke would have been better than mine, if you weren't so slow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:26 PM
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Why is everyone delurking? This is fantastic!!

To 85.3, though, waiting until you know you're ready is probably a good idea. Don't listen to will when he tries to tell you otherwise.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:27 PM
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All you need to have a house is a steady full-time job paying like $15/hour and a tolerance for peeling lead paint.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:35 PM
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87

Thanks, I know it is, but it's also increasingly hard to keep saying "I'm not ready and I don't know when I will be" without following it up with "perhaps you should find someone else who is".

Curious what will's argument to the contrary is, tho.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:43 PM
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will's argument to the contrary is that divorce lawyers gotta eat too.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:45 PM
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Which, is true, but there are so very many other ways to form a doomed relationship.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:48 PM
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I don't feel like an adult because I carry a backpack, and sometimes I'll just start running for no reason.

I do this too! I carry an ergonomic backpack for neck and shoulder reasons, and I run a lot because I am impatient and value punctuality over dignity.

Hitting my 20s was frustrating because it felt like I had been waiting so long to have anything in common with my peers and so many of them were still behaving in many ways like children.* It was so, so great to get to my 30s, and the 40s so far are equally wonderful. Three cheers for grown-ups!

I sympathize so much with this. I've tried to sort through what aggravates me about other people my age living off their parents beyond petty resentment or a ridiculous fetishization of independence, but maybe there isn't more too it. I think sometimes it's impatience, or an annoyance that people are pretending they're more independent than they are, but I have a hard time coming down to reasons that don't boil down to: "Buttercup is an uptight N. European Protestant at the core."

On adulthood, I remember as a kid imagining that one day a switch would flip (probably at age 18), and I would just magically be an adult who jumped out of bed at 5 am to run 10 miles before going to work and who had 0 bad habits. I kind of kept waiting for it to happen, and only in my early 20s did I realize that's not really how adulthood works.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:51 PM
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Reflecting on it competence was possibly the most valued trait for my grandparents (and kind of my parents but they wouldn't say so), and I was taught to judge incompetence very harshly in myself and others. I have a feeling this probably ties into being Protestant somehow though.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 5:57 PM
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But thinking about it, probably what makes me most feel like an adult is having a problem and realizing no one else is going to solve it.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:05 PM
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Honestly, it really seems like having kids is the magic switch. That's where I noticed it in others, and why I think I've never felt it myself. I've been economically and socially independent since graduating college, but I still feel immature. Stress at school turned so smoothly into stress at work that there was never a transitional moment that smacked of adulthood there. I've never really failed to accomplish "adulting" things, but I've also never gotten to Heebie's point where I stopped thinking about how much I don't want to do some of them anyway. Maybe the only thing that qualifies is the mid-life crisis of realizing that I am now finally less accomplished than I thought I'd be and that it probably won't change.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:09 PM
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85

I think you probably owe it to your partner to think about what concrete (logistical or emotional) steps would be necessary for you to feel ready. Would it be X amount in savings, or wanting to feel more secure in the relationship, or is it sort of an existential panic at the idea of being a parent? If it's the latter, I would try to figure out if you could overcome it, and if not, I would be upfront in telling my partner to find someone more amenable to children.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:12 PM
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94: Sorry. I over promised.


Posted by: Opinionated Vanilla Ice | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:14 PM
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For me feeling like an adult was when I started feeling like I was falling behind my peers.

For me feeling like an adult was when I started feeling like I was falling behind people fifteen years younger than me.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:19 PM
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95: For me, too, in some ways -- and this might explain JPJ's 71. Not that one can't adult without having kids, but for most responsible people, having a kid means one very quickly has to adult.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:28 PM
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As should-be Nobel Prize winner Geezer Butler wrote and Ozzy sang, "Where can you run to/what more can you do/no more tomorrow/life is killing you/dreams turn to nightmares/heaven turns to hell/burned out confusion/nothing more to tell." That's pretty much adulthood.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:29 PM
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I have to say, the thing that really made me feel, finally, like an adult was the death of my parents, three months apart. My mum died three days before Christmas; my dad died three months later, three days before Paddy's Day. As my youngest, and irreverent, sister likes to put it, "Well, thanks for ruining two major holidays for us!"

As one of my cousins put it, "When your parents go, you've lost your backup in this world."

Also, when your parents die, you realize that, generationally speaking, you're next! you are next in line to die. Which really brings on the adult feels, in my experience.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:30 PM
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101: my very Catholic dad described the feeling as the realization that the only remaining sacrament is last rites.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:40 PM
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102: He could still take Holy Orders! You never know!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:41 PM
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Right, that's why adultbood is metal.


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:42 PM
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Damn it Thorn


Posted by: R Tigre | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:43 PM
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Like Witt and others, I felt like an adult (in my particular case, I was parentified quite young) through much of my childhood and adolescence. I frequently feel like I've been trending backwards ever since.

Related, the feeling of no longer counting as precocious, having peaked early, don't help. Getting married is what has made me feel as though society finally recognized me as an adult, but not having kids or buying a house make that particular track feel stalled.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:47 PM
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That you're still defending Judas Priest is unsurprising, Tigrito.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:48 PM
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96

I think what it is is pretty much the feeling that that's when I become an adult. That is, once you have children, each and every decision you make ultimately has to come down to what's best for that other person that depends entirely on you, rather than on what furthers your own plans and aspirations the most. And although I'm already relatively old and feel like I'm falling behind my peers, I'm not ready to give up on my own plans and aspirations just yet.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:54 PM
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58: I know that feel. It goes with the knowledge, that I'd basically been able to ignore for a lot of my life, that self promotion is a real thing that really can get you far ahead that I'd never really learned to do.


Posted by: Psychoceramicist | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:55 PM
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Gah, I meant 85.


Posted by: Psychoceramicist | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:56 PM
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108: Wait, what? I guess I am bad at this.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:58 PM
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I don't think I've ever felt like an adult or not an adult since my mid-twenties maybe. I'm just older, have no real plans for myself, will keep getting older, eventually will die. That's just how it is.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 6:58 PM
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You know what I'll bet will give me the space to feel like a more competent adult? Not having to spend 90 minutes or more a night in the girls' room getting them to sleep! Once Selah stops napping at school we should be most of the way there but wow, I could do so much! And presumably won't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:00 PM
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102: When my mum died, my dad, once so hale and hearty, once so tall, dark, and handsome, wheeled himself into the room in his wheelchair (so f***king poignant, I feel a catch in my throat, and a tear in me eye) and called out a prayer for the poor souls in Purgatory. "Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon her." And, "O Catty, I'm next!" he said. It's a Catholic thing, I guess.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:01 PM
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101: I wonder about this. My parents haven't died, but I did the "caring for aging parents" thing, so I have alot more in common in that respect with people in their 50's and early 60's that with people in their thirties.

If I were to have a kid, I think it would feel almost youthful in comparison. (I'd also be 10 years older than the other mothers.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:05 PM
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I can nail down "adult" to the week we spent with our very young son in the hospital running tests. That everything turned out okay didn't revert the experience to trivial.

"Old" is realizing one is close to being the last one left. I'm exploring that territory now and not liking it much.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:08 PM
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feeling like an adult was when I started feeling like I was falling behind my peers
I've been feeling this a lot over the past year or so. Don't exactly feel adult, but not not-adult either.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:24 PM
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48 is true. My badly fucked up higher educational career didn't help any.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:29 PM
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111: Bad at being an adult?


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:38 PM
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I've tried to sort through what aggravates me about other people my age living off their parents beyond petty resentment or a ridiculous fetishization of independence, but maybe there isn't more to it. I think sometimes it's impatience, or an annoyance that people are pretending they're more independent than they are

Or maybe it's the fact that you're not getting much of anything real for working much harder to support yourself and making sacrifices. That can be pretty fucking frustrating. You don't ever get a virtue medal and smugness is a poor substitute. You get mileage off it sometimes, but luck really is the (much) bigger contributor to the luck + virtue synergy. I have definitely had bad days of frustration over this.

Is there any fashionable over-both-shoulders alternative to a backpack? It takes about a week before asymmetrical support causes me pretty serious pain, and I've got to carry the work laptop on the commute.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:40 PM
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I didn't give up my plans and aspirations because I had a kid. I did it because my plans and aspirations started to seem way more trouble than they were worth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:40 PM
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108

Are...you my boyfriend? He had almost exactly the same anxiety about children. As a man I think he felt on some level that he would have to be "the breadwinner," I wonder if that's part of it? Have you discussed practically how you and your partner would split earning and child rearing? I was raised with the idea that I should be prepared to raise a child as a single mother, and it never even occurred to me to factor in a partner's contributions in a child readiness plan, whereas my partner felt the same way. That I expected to significantly share the costs went along way in assuaging his fears.

More generally, I'm a bit hippie too, so I at least tell myself that children don't have to change lives as much as we think, and there's something valuable in children seeing parents who still pursue their dreams as models.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:41 PM
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I like to imagine the origins of the term breadwinner, like way back when all the men went out every day and had some contest, and the prize was a loaf of bread. And when one won he came home and was so proud of himself, all "I won! I won bread." Bread. winner.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:45 PM
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When I was a kid, we used to go to the convent in Kingston (the House of Providence), where my great-aunt Aunt Nell, aka Sister Mary Noreen McTragedy, was running the show. My dad once split his trousers while bowling in the convent, and I'll never forget his plea, while waiting for my mother to repair the damage with her sewing kit: "Jaysus Christ, Catty, and for the love of God, don't leave me here!..."


Posted by: Just PJane | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:46 PM
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Or maybe it's the fact that you're not getting much of anything real for working much harder to support yourself and making sacrifices. That can be pretty fucking frustrating. You don't ever get a virtue medal and smugness is a poor substitute. You get mileage off it sometimes, but luck really is the (much) bigger contributor to the luck + virtue synergy. I have definitely had bad days of frustration over this.

Yeah wow, this articulates precisely what it feels like.

I've people with seen roller bags, but that seems like a step in the wrong direction coolness-wise. I just hope the prominently umlaut-ed logo on my back back signals "stylish yet practical."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:49 PM
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The nuns had a bowling alley?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:49 PM
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I've been dreaming up various merit badges for myself like eventually I'll total up all the times I got texts calling me a fucking bitch before someone starts adhering to the agreement not to send them anymore and then I'll cash them in for... I was thinking a nice pen or something, but I'll bet someone on etsy would make me a virtue medal.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:53 PM
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How do you know how much other peoples' parents are supporting them? The last time I could have guessed at that was college, but I may also just not have friends whose parents are supporting them, I genuinely have no idea. My parents pay for my kid's afterschool program but I would be mortified to admit non pseudonymously.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 7:59 PM
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Cash them in for a loaf of bread, you win! Bread. You win bread.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:00 PM
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122

so I at least tell myself that children don't have to change lives as much as we think

Maybe in reality it doesn't have to, but in my head it does. I guess it has something to do with hearing my mom talking about what she really wanted to do with her life, asking her why she didn't do it, and getting a vague response but connecting the dots in my head that is was probably because she had me in her 20's and my dad never could/did help out much.

A more practical consideration is that in my field it is a lot easier to succeed if you are willing to move to a different country every few years, and that seems like something that's very hard to be if you have children.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:00 PM
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129 to 127 I guess but really it stands alone.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:00 PM
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129: Ooh, plus then I'd have bread. You're a genius!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:02 PM
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Whoever's closest to Thorn, go give her a loaf of bread.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:07 PM
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Boy, if there is one piece of wisdom I wish I had been given before having a kid, it is this: the fact that people can achieve certain levels of work-life balance does not by any means entail that you will achieve that balance. BE PESSIMISTIC. I mean, Dara Horn has four kids and a comp lit PhD from Harvard and several published novels. Why the hell can't I do that? IT CAN BE DONE!


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:08 PM
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Ok but that top tho.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:09 PM
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(135 to link in 134 but also just to the tops of anyone you compare yourselves to unfavorably.)


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:10 PM
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Having a car, a house, and a good job, but no wife and no children, is just being a rich kid.
I'm sort-of at that point now, and think I would be fine with that, except I don't feel that I have a stable career, in terms of underlying economics or in terms of what I can do without totally losing my shit. Even if I make peace with the second part, my life to date has taught me that jobs are just little holes in the cloud cover of an unending storm.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:11 PM
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How much bread can you get for a National Jewish Book Award?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:11 PM
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121: Because of the kid, at about the same time but not because of the kid, or way before/after the kid?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:12 PM
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139 was me.


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:12 PM
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I actually have a piece of baklava downstairs which is kind of like a miniloaf, but I'd have to go downstairs to get it and that's slowing me down a lot. A lot a lot.

I also have thoughts on kids and the having and not-having of them. They're wonderful! I adore mine! But you definitely can't assume they'll be healthy and easy and everything will run relatively smoothly and so if those are things you need in life, maybe it's not the best bet. And that's not a failure or anything to be ashamed of, cultural images of adulthood or no.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:12 PM
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How do you know how much other peoples' parents are supporting them?

Hack their email.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:14 PM
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for men (generalizing horribly here) the way you become an adult is to attain power over others..."this is what I internalized as a young man."
I think this is true for me.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:14 PM
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other people's parents support me in email.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:16 PM
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139: I just realized that writing a dissertation was fundamentally unreasonable and wouldn't actually get me any money even if I forced myself to finish it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:17 PM
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One of our TT professors says the only reason he finished grad school is because he had 2 kids. He said that without kids he just perpetually procrastinated, and kids made him buckle down and finish.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:17 PM
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The professor in 146 is LYING.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:18 PM
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147: I don't know, I think the gendered pronouns factor in there, sometimes at least.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:20 PM
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Boy, I am punchy tonight, anyone else want an opinion?


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:21 PM
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141

I discovered a recipe for a single cupcake, and it's been life changing.

How do you know how much other peoples' parents are supporting them?

Mostly it's when I ask for advice. Like, I ask what cell phone carrier or plan they have and how they like it, and they'll be like, oh, it's my parents' family plan, they pay the bill. Or if someone's parents bought them an apartment, it'll often come out somewhat casually. I know how much all my friends make, since we make similar amounts, so if someone is living well outside their means I figure it's either family money or they're buried in CC debt (both are pretty common).


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:23 PM
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Re aging parents: my dad is probably going to die soon, less than 10 years. Which is bad but will end quickly. But then my mom will probably live another 20 years, becoming completely demented. I watched this happening with her parents and it was fucking appalling. She refuses to admit or plan for aging at all*, I'm not equipped to deal with this in any way, my sister might be so equipped financially but not at all in other ways. Insofar as I have any plan at all it's to hide on another continent, which doesn't help with the adulthood thing.
*As in, no planning at all retirement home, still working in her 70s. Which last, good for her, but OTOH I don't think she's safe to drive anymore.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:23 PM
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I am at least as useless a procrastinator after kid as I was before and definitely am skeptical about anyone who claims increased efficiency. I guess maybe I have become slightly more willing to throw whatever barely processed drivel I have at supervisors like "FINE, there's your precious 'work'" as opposed to actually, uh, finishing things, but that's not procrastinating less, it's just... stopping sooner.

I would 100% be unable to complete a dissertation under any circumstances though.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:28 PM
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The cops took my mom's license because she didn't know where she was when they found her. And knowing where you are isn't even on the test.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:28 PM
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My daughter should arrive any minute now. She and her fellow are moving in with us. For an indefinite period. She hasn't lived with us since 2004. Oh, a couple months in 2007. As previously noted, their daughter will arrive in December.

It's pretty adult, but then sitting around waiting for someone to arrive feels strangely childlike.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:28 PM
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152: I said, I can write this before the baby comes or I can't write it. I had like nine months or whatever it was. So I just found a job, because the economy wasn't shit back then.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:29 PM
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My daughter and I lived with my parents for a year and a half not too long ago, and this in an NYC apartment. It was actually pretty lovely.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:31 PM
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IKR?!


Posted by: OPINIONATED SAMUEL BECKETT | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:31 PM
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When I was 19, I worked at a resort. I was genuinely shocked when a cow-orker, from Minnesota, referred to us, and the other workers, as kids. My Bay Area peers would never have done so, even then. We were desperate to claim adulthood at the earliest opportunity.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:31 PM
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I had to watch my mom do her dissertation and my dad do his main post-dissertation book and it was like, palpably sucky at home during those times. I quite sincerely am awed but baffled by people who can be motivated by anything other than fear of mean judges.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:38 PM
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What about fear of mean old dance teachers?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:44 PM
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Mean old dance teachers dress a lot like judges ACTUALLY. So it's kind of the same fear.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:45 PM
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Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:46 PM
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Being an adult means even though I doubled my single cupcake recipe, I only ate one of the cupcakes tonight.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:47 PM
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151: Sorry, Mossy. Are you insufficiently committed to gaining power over people? Sure, power is all illegitimate, and minions are annoying, but loads of people do it and it's a moderately interesting challenge to make it worth anyone's while to do what you say. Publishing is probably a bad fit for a choleric disposition, so don't do that. But there has to be some area where your native feistiness can work for you. Let us know if you want your own batshit/absurd career advice subthread anytime.

Also, vis-a-vis dissertations: I procrastinate but I can't walk away from unfinished business. (I guess I did walk away from one significant unfinished project -- postbac scientific training -- but the baby forced my hand there, and there was no end in sight. Still, all that motivation and drive is suppressed somewhere inside me and will no doubt erupt at an inconvenient moment.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:47 PM
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Mostly it's when I ask for advice. Like, I ask what cell phone carrier or plan they have and how they like it, and they'll be like, oh, it's my parents' family plan, they pay the bill.

My parents pay my cell phone bill. It's a whopping $20 per month more than they would pay without me on the bill. My wife's parents also pay her cell phone bill. This seems like a good economy of scale situation.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:50 PM
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I was actually super helpfully told that my normal speaking voice sounds like I am about to cry (ok it kind of does, think Winona Ryder sounding) so now part of my strategy for motivating people is also to make them think they've made me almost cry. This will probably help all of you with all your dissertations.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:50 PM
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I recently switched my daily bag from a messenger bag to a backpack - the same backpack I used in college, in fact. This is way less cool and sets off some of the same internal maturity alarms that cause me to overdress for work*. I figure a key part of being an adult, or perhaps a middle-aged adult, is giving up on coolness in favor of less back pain.

*(collared shirts and pressed slacks, in an environment where T-shirts and jeans are standard)


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 8:53 PM
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165

I mean, nothing wrong with that! If my mother offered to pay my cell phone bill, I wouldn't turn it down.* I didn't have a cell phone in college, and then when I was 22, my mother waited until I left the country to get a family plan for herself and my sister, and then when I got back she was like, you should get the same carrier so I don't have to use minutes to talk to you.

So it's not like I am bitter and have parent issues at all.

*Actually, I probably because I love my current carrier way more than my mom's carrier. In fact, I'm convincing my mom to switch.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:01 PM
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I lived with my parents for most of 1999 until the fall, when I turned 20 and left almost-forever (except brief stay of a few weeks in late 2003, while I figured out new housing after dumping my ex). It was a goddamned Renaissance and one of the happiest, most creatively productive years of my life. Come to think of it it had a salutary effect on my dad too -- he wrote a lot while I was living at home.

I'm unmoved by the fashionable backpacks. I suppose "Mumbai backpack" is pretty unassailable. Allsaints backpack might hold my laptop. That's all one meeellion dollars, though.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:05 PM
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Oh, here we go, I'm set.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:09 PM
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I actually lived with my mom twice, once for 7 months at age 23, and then for 3 months at age 24. The first time had its ups and downs but was fine overall, and the second time was nice for her because it meant I was around when her boyfriend died of a heart attack.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:10 PM
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170

Sometimes I have a hard time believing fashion is not just people making bets on how gullible rich people are.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:12 PM
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No reason not to believe that, it's accurate.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:14 PM
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Holy shit, are those some expensive backpacks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:15 PM
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My dad pays for my E-ZPass account (Northeast US auto-pay on turnpikes). Since almost all of the use I've gotten out of it has been to see my parents, I figure that's somewhat fair but sometimes I'm reluctant to take toll roads elsewhere. It has a significant discount over cash, so I really should get my own account but inertia is awful.

Haven't lived with my parents since summer internships during college, but I visit often (thirty-five or so weekends over the past two years).


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:17 PM
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I have this because I am a suggestible hipster half-human but it's not bad.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:17 PM
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I lived with my parent(s) for brief periods after both college and grad school. It was fine, but not something I would have wanted to do longer-term.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:19 PM
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I like their packs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:19 PM
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Undoing the buckles to get things out is a pain but on the other hand it means people have to wait in line behind me, so that's a power move.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:22 PM
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I merely wanted to know how fancied-up backpacks had gotten! Not disappointed. Also Burberry fascinates me unduly because of the history. (I have a respectable black commuter backpack that unaccountably has leaked black smudges onto my personal laptop for two years straight. How can there be that much smudginess inside one patch of fabric? Where is it coming from? Is my laptop sinning? It's the weirdest thing.)


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:22 PM
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I use a Soviet army map bag (Ukrainian) as my bag most of the time, but some of the stitching came loose while I was in Las Vegas and now I need to mend it. Maybe I am managing hipster extended adolescence just fine after all.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:24 PM
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No, now we are listing backpacks and you can't stop us.


Posted by: Clytie | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:24 PM
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It's probably one of those combination stamp pads/backpacks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:24 PM
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146: My father, in the dedication to his dissertation, thanked his wife and mother, who made it possible, and his eight children, who made it necessary.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:25 PM
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I use a Soviet army map bag (Ukrainian) as my bag most of the time, but some of the stitching came loose while I was in Las Vegas and now I need to mend it.

Should have gone for the Belarusian version.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:25 PM
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I bought one of these two and a half years ago to satisfy my hipster bag needs, worn as a messenger bag. I chose that model specifically to avoid buckle pain. The strap wore out (specifically, the clasp was awfully designed) and the fabric has started to fray on the less visible side, but it's mostly been nice.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:25 PM
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187

This pack has a classic look, plus a configuration such that it is both huge and incapable of containing a laptop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:26 PM
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188

I have this backpack. On my version there's an umlaut on the zug.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:27 PM
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189

My backpack has been wearing out for a while and I really should replace it. I'm thinking of getting a messenger bag or something to seem more adult. Maybe I should look back at ogged's post from a while back.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:33 PM
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190

Next step in being an adult along this particular consumer axis: wear any outerwear -- blazer, cardigan, large sweater -- at the office other than a worn motorcycle jacket. I don't know why I bother buying tops when all anyone ever sees on me, ever, is that jacket. It's starting to creep alarmingly into security-blanket territory.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:44 PM
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Low-hanging fruit half off. In fact, alas, I also wear a shirt and pants every day. I've been known to exaggerate from time to time.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:46 PM
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For small weights and short walks, I've found I have less pain with a messenger bag. But for long day hikes I'll take a backpack. I've wondered if the messenger bag being more comfortable is some weird compensation for how I used to always wear a backpack over just one shoulder as a kid, and the shoulder I use for the messenger bag is the opposite shoulder from that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:49 PM
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192: I could see that. I've worn messenger bags since high school off the same shoulder and have occasional pectoral muscle pain that I suspect is related.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-18-16 9:54 PM
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130: This is waaaay too late to reply, but:
While I feel like I could have done a lot more advancement as a single person (because I spend less time on work than some of my peers, says the person who's just getting home at 7 PM, quit judging me), I also moved a partner & kid around the world - twice - in pursuit of my aspirations and I've wrangled a pretty good professional situation out of it.


Posted by: antipodestrian | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 1:06 AM
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Also I got a real work bag this year so I'd quit carrying a backpack, just a cheapo thing from the mall, but it's bright green inside so I love it.


Posted by: antipodestrian | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 1:09 AM
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Ugh, I could have written 151 the same in every detail except instead of "sister," substitute "resentful half-brother who will probably soon be dead himself."

Man, that's depressing. Let's talk about backpacks! Due to a shit lower back, I was recently trying to find the lightest, most minimal backpack to carry my light, minimal laptop and pretty much nothing else, and I was surprised at how hard something like that was to find. I did find one in the end but after it arrived I realised it was probably meant for children b/c I can just barely get it on over a coat and look a bit silly wearing it. But my back does feel better.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 2:31 AM
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Speaking of feeling like an adult, I may be resigning my position soon. Fremen coworker was made my supervisor, on her first day in the position she yelled at me on the phone (2x) for taking the initiative on something only I have the necessary skills for. More later but I've just finished clearing out my desk.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 2:34 AM
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Speaking of feeling like an adult, I may be resigning my position soon. Fremen coworker was made my supervisor, on her first day in the position she yelled at me on the phone (2x) for taking the initiative on something only I have the necessary skills for. More later but I've just finished clearing out my desk.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 2:34 AM
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199

Fortunately a good job has opened up in NYC which I'll be applying for in the next couple of days.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 3:05 AM
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200

Phew on 199, at least. Fingers crossed, Barry.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 3:40 AM
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That sounds like a real piss-off, though. More moving, more uncertainty. Can't you tell her (the boss) to shove it?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 4:05 AM
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That sucks, Barry. Check in by email if I can help in NYC.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:11 AM
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199: Good luck, but be careful. I hear that NYC is nice, but politically it's just actually part of a larger, very reactionary polity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:13 AM
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I intend to tell her politely to shove it as soon as I have something else lined up. We've had 3 people leave in the last few months and my leaving would be a disaster at this time when we haven't even moved into the new building. I spent the day packing my desk and I'm certain that was noticed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:19 AM
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"just actually"? Who writes like that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:19 AM
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As far as feeling like an adult goes, I suffered from crippling imposter syndrome until I was in my mid 40s. My mother said she also suffered from this until she was 40, so maybe it runs in the family. She turned into a formidable old lady though, so there's maybe hope.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:29 AM
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I certainly hope to become a formidable old lady!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:35 AM
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207. No one could doubt your ability to do so. Do you know this poem?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:41 AM
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It takes 10,000 hours to let how to feel like an adult, so if you don't start doing adult stuff until you're 18, it's going to take at least four or five years. Much longer if you're in graduate school and barely have time for 1 or 2 hours a day of adult stuff.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 5:41 AM
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Good luck Barry! Though you carry the name of foreigner, Arrakis will remember you as librarian!


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:00 AM
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Nerd.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:02 AM
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Who rights like that?


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:04 AM
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'writes'. FFS.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:04 AM
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209 is both hilarious and suspiciously plausible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:29 AM
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I felt like an adult for a few years, but it wasn't because I did things I didn't feel like doing without thinking about it.

Now I feel like it's a loaded question, fraught with ablist/classist assumptions that I find distasteful and yet have internalized.

Plus I'm failing miserably at adulting by pretty much any standard I can think of, so it makes me feel better to just say it's a dumb goal. I didn't want to be an adult anyway! I'm going to sit in my room and draw pictures of ligers for a while.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:50 AM
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I have more views on adulthood, but right now I'm catching a Squirtle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:54 AM
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208. That's one of my wife's favorite poems.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 6:54 AM
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Being an infant is more fun than being an adult, but infantry is less fun than adultery.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 7:02 AM
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per 206, one's relationship to impostor syndrome seems like a useful metric of adultlyness. I've had a slow epiphany over the last couple of years at work that A) I am often *not* actually the less knowledgable person in any given conversation, and B) These people I work with who always behave as if they know what they're talking about, often don't.

Reading through the thread, I was trying to put words to why I have suddenly come to feel more adult recently, and I think this is a big part of it: Accepting that sometimes I actually am the most competent person in the room (and managing the fear/responsibility that comes along with it), and not believing other people's confidence just by default.


Posted by: Swope FM | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 7:22 AM
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208, 217: No, no, no, no spitting ever! That's just WRONG.

I promise I'm not really as unfun as I seem like I'd be. But no spitting!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:15 AM
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Good luck, Barry!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:27 AM
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You're not an adult until you catch a Blastoise in the wild.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:31 AM
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220: A blow job joke would be really stupid and inappropriate here, wouldn't it?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:34 AM
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Thanks everyone. I just deleted a long explanatory comment but I think I need to keep up enough anger to write a new cover letter for that job.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:35 AM
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Good luck, Barry.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:36 AM
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Good luck, Barry!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:38 AM
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223 to 222.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:41 AM
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223: I almost put a footnote because of that and sure consenting adults blah blah but I think my point still stands. Spitting = eww.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 8:53 AM
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And Thorn obviously is formidable already, even if she's too polite to spit.


Posted by: Mossy Character | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 9:22 AM
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As for bags, in theory I'd like a backpack if I were carrying a lot for an extended distance, but that happens rarely. I rarely walk more than 5 blocks at a time. Longer distances, I bike, ride a bus, or drive, which usually means sitting down and taking the bag off and putting it somewhere out of the way, and that's easier with a messenger bag (or bike saddle bag) than with a backpack.

As for adulting, I find the most meaningful use of the term is "not slacking off just because I feel like it." Similar to the meaning in the OP, I guess. In high school or college or at certain early jobs, if I was just a little bit sick or hung over or behind on sleep or had had a bad day the night before, I could say "hell with it," skip classes or come in to work a little late, or even call in sick and spend the day biking around town or more realistically in front of my computer playing games. Most of the time the relevant people wouldn't notice and it would matter if they had, and if there was a problem, eh, who cares. Today, though? We can't afford daycare or our mortgage on Cassandane's salary alone. Atossa doesn't care why I won't read to her on demand. I like my job overall and missing deadlines actually would be noticed.

Realistically there's a lot of the benefit of hindsight to that - I wouldn't have slacked off at certain jobs that I otherwise think of as pre-"adulting," and these days I actually could give myself a break if necessary and people would probably understand. But that's what adulting feels like to me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 9:32 AM
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229- Right, she's nice, and nice people swallow.


Posted by: roger the cabin boy | Link to this comment | 10-19-16 9:47 PM
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Posted by: Sialkot | Link to this comment | 08-11-17 1:05 PM
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