When Does a Person Become an Adult? And Should I Be Worried if I’m Not Sure I Have Yet?

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About Allan Mott

Allan Mott was once accused of being a narcissistic goth lesbian by a disgruntled Amazon reviewer. That pretty much sums up his writing career (which includes 12 and 1/2 books and frequent contributions to such sites as XOJane, XOJaneUK, Canuxploitation, Bookgasm and Flick Attack,). His most personal writing can be found at VanityFear.com, where he uses the subject of B-Movies to mostly talk about boobs and stuff. Tweet him on the Twitter at @HouseofGlib.


  1. This is great! I just recently decided (like, within the past 4 years) that it was grown-up time. You know, now that I have 2 kids and 2 ex-husbands and a college degree. Still don’t own a house or make much money though.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    I wish I had a good answer to the question.

    I’m 42. At some point I went from having pimples on my face to having pimples and a gray beard on my face. There must have been some turning point there somewhere…..

  3. I think the confusion occurs because “adult” is used as a noun, rather than an adjective. As you said, there’s no transformation that occurs between childhood and adulthood – because you don’t turn into an adult. It’s just a way people behave sometimes (or don’t).

  4. Doc Holligay says:

    I still don’t feel like an adult. I’m 26, own my own car, rent is always paid on time, bills too, full time job, have one degree, honor student in my accounting program….and I still feel like a child. I feel like I have no idea what it means to be an adult, but that person probably does not have 6 sets of car keys because she keeps losing them, or spends so much money on makeup, or wastes Sundays watching movies instead of cleaning. I keep waiting for this mature, wonderful person to come out, but at the end of the day, all I see in the mirror is me.

  5. loveandhatela says:

    i was 8 when i asked my mom “is Pascual a kid?” it was her uncle and he was wearing shorts while Barbecuing . i wasn’t too smart (but cute) because i had forgotten about the beer can in his hand :( so were you wearing shorts? lol

  6. Penney Knightly says:


    I agree with what you said. Adulthood is an eventuality, not a rigid concept. I think we equate adulthood and maturity as the same thing, and they are synonyms in the culture.

    I have recently redefined adulthood as this: It’s like being a kid, only better! You get to do what you want within reason, of course, and you get to be the parent to yourself that yours may not have been to you when you were a kid. Adulthood means power and world manipulation. How awesome is that?!

    Your life is your own. Have fun, play with games, finger paints, dance all around, have water balloon fights, do things because you feel like doing them. It’s important, it’s invigorating and it’s necessary – otherwise your soul drys up into a prune, and then you really will be old.

    I had a niece say a similar thing to me recently, “Are you a kid or are you an adult?” I said, I’m both – mostly I’m a kid, sometimes I have to do grown up stuff. She seemed satisfied with this answer and was anxious to get back to playing Minecraft with me – which was enough of a validation for me.

    So, what’s life for but to enjoy and love? It certainly isn’t about paying the bills and going to work — those are artificial constructs. It’s about loving and be loved, meeting your obligations as best as you can, and tell society and “responsibility” in the proper, irrational, Nazi-esque fashion to shove it — you’ve got fun and happiness to attend to!

  7. Hey Allen,
    I have tried to write this comment like five times. haha. Anyways, I just wanted to say that I think that the very fact that you are questioning what is going on in your life shows that you are a man. Regardless of how many approved activities you participate in. It seems that your not trying to be something except who you are and what you want to be. I believe that the best definition of a man is to understand the person that stares back at him in the mirror. Instead others incorrectly (in my view), pin a figurative picture of a man on your bedroom wall and say “that is what you need to be”. But a picture, even a picture of you is only a snapshot into the past, not a man starring back at you in the mirror.


  1. […] years into this life and my protestations of adulthood now feel less like protests and more like declarations I can back up with facts. In the past year I […]

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