When I was in seminary, I took a class called "Discipleship Development in Young and Middle Adulthood." Basically, we discussed how and when people develop from the ages of 20-ish on up. It was one of my favorite classes, and I loved thinking about how development happens. Yes. I recognize how nerdy that statement sounds.
Although I took this class over 5 years ago, there was one very specific revelation that stuck with me. Throughout the class, we were asked to think about this question: when do people feel like they've become an adult? We discussed a lot of significant marker events like graduating from college, finding one's first job, and of course, getting married. We also discussed how many other cultures have certain rites of passage that serve to concretely communicate to one that he or she is now an adult. I realized that, for the most part, we don't really have that in the West. The revelation I previously referred to is this: are weddings the primary rite of passage we have for adulthood in our culture? It's at that time that we often talk about setting up a home, the beginning of real life, and all the responsibilities that come with marriage. When a woman gets married, she is typically given a plethora of home-oriented gifts (kitchen ware, dishes, home furnishings). It's at the point of entering into marriage that we see that folks are really ready for these items.
When this is the case, what happens when you are all of a sudden 35 and not married? Are you any less of an adult? I certainly don't think so. What's the rite of passage for folks who, for various reasons, didn't get a wedding shower?
Having this revelation has prompted me to think about those times that made me feel particularly adult-like. There have been a lot of them, but they've snuck in quietly in the night, not really pronouncing themselves. However, those moments have been important, nonetheless.
So, here's my list of things that have made me (or others, as not all of these are mine) feel like I've become an adult. Some of these happened a long time ago, some more recently.
-Hosting my first holiday meal (in particular, the making of the ever-intimidating turkey)
-The first time I asked for dishes for Christmas
-The first time I signed a lease on an apartment
-The first time I made a purchase over $200
-The first time I drove more than an hour on my own
-The year I realized I had enough items in my home to officially decorate for Christmas without needing to borrow anything
-Having a desire to buy a grill and gardening items
-Getting my first full-time job
-The first time I had to get my own medical insurance
What would you add to this list?