The Four Pillars of Adulthood

Image courtesy of JD Hancock, via Creative Commons on Flickr.

Most Americans do four things before they’re considered a mature, successful adult:

  1. Graduate from college.
  2. Get married.
  3. Buy a house.
  4. Have kids.

While the order is somewhat flexible, if you don’t achieve these milestones, you’re not considered a grownup.

Of these four, I’ve accomplished #1 (college). The other three are iffy.

I have a lot of ambivalence around marriage. It’s moving when two people commit their lives to one another. And it can be sooooo hard for that to work out well.

I’ve already written about self-identifying as a renter, not an owner.

And just from the name of this blog, you can tell #4 is not a priority.

So I’m a wicked underachiever. I don’t even have a car, for crying out loud. I might as well be living in my parents’ basement.

But other actions I’ve taken have transformed me.

  • I joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Asia for two years.
  • I wrote a screenplay. I’m writing another one.
  • I’ve loved with all my heart, and had my heart shattered–and rewired.

The truth is, I’m quite a conventional person. I work a 9-to-5 job, pay my rent on the first, buy things on Amazon. I play by society’s rules.

But going by the four pillars up top, I’m an outlier. A rebel. Call me Peter Pan, because clearly, adulthood and me? Not such good friends.

What about you? Are you an American grownup? How do you feel about that?

5 thoughts on “The Four Pillars of Adulthood

  1. I’m also a rebel of the “one pillar” variety. 😉 I’m happy with my choices, but I sometimes struggle with not feeling “grown up” according to societal norms.

    • Yeah, I hear that. For me it’s not so much the societal norms that get me, but familial norms–seeing my cousins get hitched and have babies, for example. I’m psyched for them but I can’t help but have a moment of, Should that be me too?

  2. I consider “rebel” as a compliment :-P. I don’t want kids, I may not get married and owning a house…well…I’m not sure if I could afford that without being in debt for life.

    • Totally! Although I have to say I may be wavering on the whole home-buying thing…I don’t object to any of the four pillars, just to blindly assuming we all need them to hold our lives up.

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Your welcome! I just got bingoed by someone complaining about parenthood…. -_- but I don’t object to *others* doing any or all of those pillars. Hehe a full-time job (Even though it is 9-5) and paying rent don’t make you a conformist, just responsible enough to take care of yourself. And Amazon is often cheaper than alternatives.

Comments are closed.