Column: Do you even know how to adult?


Commentary by Curtis Honeycutt

I need to go to the dentist. I got my six-month appointment reminder a few months ago and promptly canceled.

“Would you like to reschedule?” asked the receptionist.

“No,” I replied. “I’ll get back to you.”

It’s not that I wanted to quit the dentist or anything, but balancing a new job, young kids and house maintenance is tough work. Adulting is hard.

During the past 10 years, the word “adult” has been verbified. And, before you blame the hypothetical 26-year-old self-described “emerging adult” who lives in his parents’ basement, you have to consider the parents’ role in all of this. Parents of millennials have practically turned coddling into a competitive sport. I’m not surprised that 24 percent of 25 to 34-year-olds in the U.S. now live at home (Pew Research Center).

Adulting (which shouldn’t be used as a serious word) means to engage in adult-like behavior or activities. These things include (but are certainly not limited to) ironing your clothes, going to the dentist, eating vegetables and paying for your own insurance (instead of staying on mom and dad’s plan).

After my freshman year of college while I was away at a summer internship, my parents actually sold my bed in a not-so-subtle way of telling me it was time to move out. I’m thankful they did.

Depending on its usage, adulting can be used jokingly by a well-adjusted person in their 20s or 30s to refer to mundane daily tasks associated with normal life. Alternately, the term gets used unironically by (technically) adults who are waiting for someone to come and hand them their dream job.

Don’t blame the economy. If you can’t find a job, make one. Sorry to bring the Dr. Phil tough love here, but it’s time to get out of the sweatpants and Crocs and create the opportunity you’re waiting for.

You can adult. I believe in you. If you’re a parent whose man-child needs to read this, pin it to his clothes you set out for him this morning. Do this only after you have read it yourself. It’s time to empower people who are living in a constant state of “adultolescence” instead of enabling them from moving forward. Maybe then we can stop using adult as a verb and start actually being adults.