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Stepping out of the ivory halls

May 11, 2018
Shepherdstown Chronicle

Graduating from college can be a scary step.

A step out of the "ivory halls," as my alma mater put it in its coronation hymn, into a world of uncertainty, expected to handle any challenge with ease.

When I graduated college, I decided to ignore the world of uncertainty for one moment longer. Putting off adult decisionmaking, I took a summer job I had always wanted to experience-being a camp counselor.

From May through August 2016, the only thing I had to worry about was surviving the heat, bugs and swarms of children on five hours of sleep. Don't get me wrong-I enjoyed this last hurrah to childhood, but experiencing summer camp is different when you aren't a child anymore. Maybe that job was the first clue that I needed to put childish things behind me and get serious about adult life.

Watching the Shepherd University graduates roaming the streets with their friends and family this weekend brought me back to where I was two years ago, and reminded me of how difficult the transitioning process can be from childhood to adulthood.

The modern term "adulting" has been used to express the transition between being a child or an adult, when an older teenager or 20-something-year-old has to adopt adult behaviors and habits, but feels incapable of handling them with confidence. It often connotes they don't consider themselves adults, either.

Recently, I heard a middle aged adult using this terminology, and that person's age made me pause and think. What are we doing, pretending like being an adult means you know how to handle every situation you might encounter?

The phrase "adulting" assumes real adults are people with the magical ability to effortlessly handle any difficult situation.

If that magical ability exists, my parents must not be real adults. Because I've seen how difficult it is for them to watch their parents age and die. I've heard them discuss their concerns about not fitting into the modern technological work environment. I've watched them learn how to deal with their children growing up and being faced with a world with fewer good jobs and higher expenses.

It's not easy being an adult at any age, but when my parents face situations they don't know how to deal with, they don't say they're "adulting." They stand up, accept the new responsibilities in their lives and deal with them to the best of their ability.

It's time for us to stop wasting our time and giving the excuse that we're "adulting."

It's time grin and bear life's uncertainties and know that, despite our lack of magical abilities, we can be adults.

 
 
 

 

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