Apparently there are now 5 key milestones identified by Sociologists which identify becoming an adult. Although there is a new trend of not reaching all (or in some cases any) of them by the age of 30 or even 40, I can say I’ve reached all of them. (round of applause?) Moved out of my childhood home? Financially Independent? Married? All at once by the age of 21. Finished my education? Sure. A parent.. Yes indeedy so I keep pinching myself to remind me.
So according to ‘Society’ I am an adult. Apparently I should be overjoyed. That’s it! My life is now mapped out ahead of me, I’ve made what’s said to be all my important decisions, and all before my mid twenties.. Well done me.
But have I? I mean, I got married. I made that decision, dont get me wrong, best decision ever. And with that came moving out, becoming financially independent, ie: our own wedding, our own rent, our own furniture, our own plates and towels, none of the monetary help that I slightly enviously observe many of my friends having. (Although we did find people being extraordinarily generous in terms of gifts)
I’m all for the joining of two people, financially as well as emotionally, and I’m definitely in the “whats mine is yours what’s yours is mine” camp, but I cant help but notice that I would never have done step C (finish my education) or step E (have a baby) without the incredible support of my husband. Or i may have done, but at the expense of step A and B (financial independence and moving out.)
Which leads me to think of my own parents. My mum for the most part raised my brothers alone, and in many ways me also. I can’t always say I’ve appreciated this, but by not far off the same age as I am now, she was alone, with two kids and a mortgage, having reached all those stages and then lost the one that holds my whole world together-the marriage. That above anything else, would (God forbid) send me running back home, unable to work, unable to be the mother I want to be, unable to get out of bed most likely.
My paternal grandmother was divorced with a child by the age of 19. One of 13 herself, I wonder how she managed to bring him up all alone, no hint of the influence of a father in my own dad’s life until he turned 62. (a story for another time perhaps.)
So yes, I’m past the stage of ’emerging adulthood,’ and I think I can take some credit for that. But it’s only through the grace of Hashem Himself, and the courage and strength of the truly adult women in my family who went through inimitable sacrifice to help me get to where I am today.