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Alethea & Athena
22nd-Oct-2016 02:13 pm
We wanted to do laundry today, so we loaded everything up and went to the laundry room...and every single washing machine was already in use. So now we're trying to kill time until we go back to the laundry room to see if we can use it.

But anyway, while we were at California Adventure with Gaston and Alice on Thursday, the topic of the verb "to adult" came up. I think when we first saw adult used as a verb, maybe I was mildly amused, but the humor quickly wore off and it got to be pretty annoying. I expressed this annoyance, adding that I'm usually okay with verbing nouns, but this adult thing was just no. I think it's the ultimate symbol of the infantilization of our society, since it seems that even adults are expected to give up on adulting from time to time.

Gaston thought about it for a second and then suggested that maybe the problem wasn't the fact that it's been turned into a verb, but the connotations that come with the verb. People use the verb "adult" to describe all the chores and errands that responsible people do but never want to. He suggested that maybe it can be used to mean positive things instead. For example, the people he talks to in Fresno tend to ask him why he goes out of town all the time. His answer is, "Because...I have a car?" In other words, he goes out of town because he wants to and he can, and he can because he's an adult. And that means his way of adulting is to go to Disneyland whenever he wants.

That reminded me of how, when we were in college, and for years after that, there was this mindset of, "Oh, how wonderful it would be to go to Japan! ...But, alas, it will always be a dream, for no one can just go to Japan." It wasn't until fairly recently that we realized that actually, yes, people can just go to Japan if they want to. So according to this new usage of adulting, we were adulting when we arranged out own trips to Japan.

This is definitely a usage we can get behind. I agree that, for example, doing laundry is not a pleasant thing, and sometimes you just don't want to be responsible. But I also think it wouldn't be so bad, instead of all agreeing that we hate doing chores, to acknowledge that there's power in being able to do things for yourself. So even the boring, tedious parts of adulting are things that can be positive. For example, it's nice to be able to make my clothes clean whenever I want.

Today I'm thankful for new perspective, being caught up on Bungo Stray Dogs (the latest episode was really good!), having the grownup ability to travel to Japan, having leftover pizza to look forward to later, and the ability to clean my clothes.
22nd-Oct-2016 06:58 pm (UTC)
I definitely like the way your friend thinks. There are many advantages to being an adult, and when you're a child, or a teenager, usually you want all the privileges. But. You don't think about the responsibilities that come with being an adult. And, as an almost-63-year-old adult, I also see the other side of "adulting", and, I must admit, it does amuse me - maybe because I've been "adulting" for so long that some days I just don't wanna. ;) But I do anyway, and I can't say that I resent it or anything, only that I sometimes long for the "carefree days of childhood" when you imagine you had no responsibilities or worries. But you know what? When you're in them, the days of childhood don't seem so carefree, and sometimes, they're not, with responsibilities and worries about homework, and getting into college, and family worries and responsibilities that might be very serious and very hard for a child or young person to handle.

I don't even know where I'm going with this, but I like your post. And I think I like the concept of "adulting" whether you want to do it because of the privileges, or don't want to because of the responsibilities.

Edited at 2016-10-22 10:01 pm (UTC)
22nd-Oct-2016 09:29 pm (UTC)
That's a good perspective, too--there are definitely advantages and disadvantages to being an adult or a kid. The point is to appreciate the advantages, and that's why this new take on "adulting" is such a good idea.
23rd-Oct-2016 03:31 pm (UTC)
I totally agree! I really like it! ♥
23rd-Oct-2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
Like! (since LJ doesn't have a Like button)
22nd-Oct-2016 07:06 pm (UTC)
Ohh, I saw the post subject and then you started talking about laundry and I was already going "Ugh, is it such a big accomplishment that you did something responsible today???" (nice work on getting your laundry done, though, sincerely!) and this about sums up my feelings about how people talk about "adulting." Sure, I too feel (unreasonably) proud of myself when I have an especially productive day of getting non-job tasks done, but I would express it more as "I resembled a contributing member of society today!" or something more self-aware. If I'm only living up to a minimum level of adult responsibility, I want to make it clear that I know it's the minimum, not that I think it's anything worth celebrating.

...I guess there are people who struggle with depression and other issues and that may mean it IS a real accomplishment when they do something responsible and productive. But often I agree that it seems infantilizing if our standards are so low that simply doing what's expected of you deserves a gold star. (which actually reminds me that just earlier today I was bemoaning how my college art professors told us on our first day that meeting the stated requirements for an assignment would earn a C, and we had to go way above and beyond for a B or A. And so I lost all my scholarships after my freshman year. I can see some sense in this grading system (although I think the "pass/fail" system at my brother's current school seems like a better fit for the arts) and it's an amusing story now that I'm long graduated and my loans are all paid off, but it felt kinda crummy at the time.)

But in your positive sense of "things we can do because we're adults," I always think of my aunt's Japanese friend describing my buying habits (on my first Japan trip) as 大人買い. I do like my disposable income :) I still think that "to adult/adulting" sounds annoying, though.
22nd-Oct-2016 09:37 pm (UTC)
Ha ha ha, we actually didn't get our laundry done, because apparently everyone in the neighborhood wanted to do their laundry today. We eventually gave up and said eh, it can wait until Monday or Tuesday.

But yes, as I'm sure you've read, we definitely agree with your take on the current common usage of adult as a verb. I think you articulated it very well--that's part of the problem I had writing this post and discussing it, is that I hadn't been contemplating it recently, so I didn't have my thoughts formed so well. But yes, it's this idea that doing the bare minimum somehow earns you a lot of praise. ...Although part of my disdain for the usage might come from bitterness over so rarely getting acknowledgment ourselves. And it's also true that when you're feeling especially down, or have legitimate issues that make it hard to do these things, it's important to count the little things, too, but my goodness it seems to have become so widespread.

So that's why I really liked Gaston's take on it, because instead of treating things adults do as something that only nerds or squares do, we say look how awesome we are, we are adults who not only take responsibility, but run with it so far that we can do even more awesome things. Make it something to be happy about doing, instead of something to whine about.
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