«I’m done adulting. Let’s be mermaids …»

Adulting … how many times have you seen the word on your social feed? Sentiments about adulting are everywhere, from hilarious memes to annoying tweets: “Adulting is hard.” “Aldulting makes me freak out.” “Adulting sucks.”

What is it about these A-words – like adulting and aging – that triggers such negative reactions? 

It’s interesting … no it’s incredible … that this noun turned verb has picked up such speed in recent years. ‘Adulting’ was Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2016. In 2019 we see it everywhere. Young people invent new words that eventually reach written form – and many of them migrate to everyday speech later on.

So what am I missing? This beautiful thing called life brings us from birth, via childhood and onwards. Step by step we grow into more mature human beings. We manage everyday life, we take on new responsibilities, get educated, we buy a place to live, some of us start our own business, we work and pay taxes, some become parents … and so on. That’s what being an adult means. So why should we stop? Why would anyone be ‘done adulting’? What’s the alternative?

If you are above 18 you are an adult. And as we all know, being an adult means doing things that are both boring and hard. On the other hand – being an adult gives you freedom. Indeed, being an adult is a fabulous thing. Thousands of articles have been written about how millennials (also called the Peter Pan generation) are unable – or unwilling – to function as adults because they’ve spent extended time in education, living at home, or traveling the world. 

It’s not hard to understand why millenials have this attitude toward growing up. Many of them have been ‘shielded’ from taking on full responsibilities of adulthood. They don’t need to worry about going to the grocery store because their parents’ fridge is already stocked. They don’t have to think about paying the cell phone bill, because their parents have it covered. In other words, growing up is in fact optional for so many young people today.

It seems like we are changing the timetable for adulthood. Millennials are delaying traditional milestones of growing up. This does more than just alter their lifestyle. It impacts the way they see the world – and themselves in the world.

Adulting is trendy because so many millennials can relate to the feeling of temporary adulthood, but not the real thing. «Adulting is hard» has become a mantra for millennials all over the world.

Then there is the other A-word – aging – which so often is connected with panic: «How can I keep my vitality, my smooth skin, my youth?» Research shows that we start panicing in our 40s. Really? I’m on the wrong side of 50. Why am I still not feeling anyting else than vitality, comfort and joy? Isn’t it really all about attitute – mental consciousness about life and being? Working with natural processes instead of denouncing them?

I’m filled with gratitude for what life has given so far – even surviving hardships. Such periods have taught me about courage and trust, about strenght and love. I feel appreciation and excitement over the little things in everyday life. Experiences that have enrichened my heart. Why not search for the good in aging, in ourselves and others, instead of denouncing it? And speak out loud when we see it? Along the road of a lifetime a beautiful face will age and a perfect body will change. ‘We grow through what we go through’ – beautifully said, isn’t that a stimulating thought? 

Andy Rooney, an American radio and television writer, once said «It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone». Spot on. 

The truth is – you may not get applause and public affirmation for being a normal, ‘non-ironic’ adult female or male, but it’s still pretty great. As mature independent people, we can and do contribute on so many levels … create growth, run the world. 

Walking peacefully on earth is a miracle, don’t you think?  Living, aging, struggling, enjoying. So why shouldn’t aging get the status it deserves? Let’s go out there, inhale, grab life, share our values, stimulate the younger ones, be role models, inspire, give them our time, support  … listen with both ears, teach them about the strength in self-irony, share love and joy, stimulate them to be strong, kind, funny, caring, reflected and independent adults. To be genuine. That’s what the world needs from each and every one of us.

I´m an adult … and luckily I´m aging. And for sure, I will never be a mermaid.♥️


Foto: Eirik Skrivervik Bruvoll


2 Replies to “«I’m done adulting. Let’s be mermaids …»”

  1. Så utrolig bra tekst Hanne. Det er så riktig det skriver og så sammenfallende med mine observasjoner og tanker. Jeg har mang en gang reflektert over hvor annerledes det er å vokse opp i dag (tenker på mine egne barn) kontra når jeg selv vokste opp. Og så har du dette med alder da – i dag “skal” man ha et evigungt utseende uansett alder. Fokuset blir ofte lagt på dette og mindre på de virkelige verdiene i livet. Takk Hanne – du evner å formidle det essensielle og se det i en større sammenheng <3

    1. Du er en reflektert dame Inger. Å se sammenhenger, ja – egentlig løfte blikket krever. Temaet vi her drodler rundt er superinteressant. Tilbakemeldingene har vært mange, representert av ulike aldersgrupper og kjønn. På ønskelisten har det kommet en ‘follow-up’ på dette temaet – med fokus på verdighet i aldring. Det å stå solid plantet i en naturlig prosess. Hmm … se det. Jeg gleder meg. Tusen takk for ditt store rause hjerte Inger. <3

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