OP: Am I an adult now? 20 vs 21

19 March 2019

Abby Jadali

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    In America, as we grow up, kids are under the impression that when they turn 18 they will be considered an adult. Only to their surprise that when they turn 18, instead of staying out all night partying, their parents are telling them that as long as they live under their roof, they follow their rules.

    For women, when they hit puberty and their menstruation becomes part of their life, they are told that they are now “women.” But in the grand scheme of things, no one looks at a 14-year-old girl and thinks “oh yes, she is an adult.”

    This was a big shock to me when I turned 18. I felt like I had been lied to and a lot of other people I knew felt the same way. Now I will say that my parents did loosen the leash when I turned 18, but in the eyes of others, I was not truly an adult.

    When I turned 20, I knew I was finally making the steps into adulthood. This was a great feeling for me except when co-workers and acquaintances asked me my age, 20 was still considered a baby. I was under the impression that once you are no longer a teen, you are an adult, but that didn’t matter because I couldn’t drink yet.

    So like any self-respecting person, I waited a whole year and finally turned 21.

    Now, in just a few weeks of being 21, I will say that I get treated much differently when asked my age. But why does alcohol get to be the determining factor to my adultness? Now that I can legally get drunk, the whole world is ready to listen to me.

    But I still can’t rent a car. The law still does not allow me to rent a car until I am 25 years old. So shouldn’t that really be when I become a true adult?

    I live on my own, pay my own rent, pay for school, care for a cat, go to school and go to work every week, yet I still am not considered an adult. With all of this should I still be getting a pat on the head by people I don’t know telling me how cute it is I “play” grown up?

    In a New York Times article, “When Should a Person Be Considered an Adult,” they asked that very question and allowed people 13 years of age or older to answer. A lot of answers were between 17 and 22 years of age while others had “it depends” as their ultimate answer.

    Ultimately, I think “it depends” is the way this question should be answered.

    The age of maturity matters, definitely, but if there is anything that I have learned with my 21 years of life, it is that every choice we make and every path we take is the ultimate deciding factor of our adulthood.