What does it mean to be an adult?

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Lesson of the Week by guest blogger, Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA

Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA and Farmer's Markets in Carmichael, California.

Marie Hall, Executive Director of BeMoneySmartUSA and Farmer’s Markets in Carmichael, California.

Marie Hall and her husband Don started BeMoneySmartUSA to help children and parents recover from the harsh lessons of the too big to fail financial crisis of 2008. Since then, Hall has been training tweens and teens about the life skills and thought leadership required to overcome the adult issues our children are experiencing in a cyber-powered world that is unforgiving. These are the lessons that children need to know: that they have the power to overcome adversity by choosing their own thoughts and actions that lead to prosperity.



For me, becoming an adult is a work in process.  Learning and Knowing how to be happy and finding joy in life is one of the biggest factors for becoming an adult. I think this quote says it all.

Happiness isn’t about what happens to us – it’s about how we perceive what happens to us. It’s the knack of finding a positive for every negative, and viewing a setback as a challenge. If we can just stop wishing for what we don’t have, and start enjoying what we do have, our lives can be richer; more fulfilled – and happier.  The time to be happy is now!

Here are some great opinions of people of all ages who have answered this question.

  • “Maturity is a process, not a state. You’re never going to “get there” as long as you’re still learning and growing. I hope you never stop learning and growing. An extended childhood is an extraordinary thing. Take a look at some of the pictures of WWI soldiers going off to war. Everyone’s reaction today is “they were so young!” As long as you don’t abuse the privilege society will let you play and learn and generally behave like a child right out until your mid-20s and even beyond. Forget the angst, grab an opportunity that none of your ancestors had and don’t let go. The chemicals sloshing around your brain have more influence than you think. I’ve never met a teenage boy who could really feel empathy (myself included), but most of them managed it both before and after puberty. You can’t force your brain chemistry to be that of a 40-year-old, so why try?”
  • “There are two things that make you be “an adult”: 1. You are comfortable with who you are as a person, and recognize your flaws and work to improve them. 2. You think about others before you think about yourself (others could be family, friends, even co-workers and strangers).  Many people (myself included) aren’t fully “adults” by these definitions, at least not all the time. The fact that you ask this question says that you are trying to work towards reaching these goals, so I would say that it is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you can “get quickly”. Figure out what the thing you are least happy with about yourself and work to make it better. It takes time, but that’s what life is about.”
  •  “I’m working on something stabilizing, “grown-up-ish.” Patience, honesty, and good communication.  I’m trying to know myself, to be honest with myself and with the people close to me. Honest in terms of solid communication, not in terms of hurtful “brutal honesty.” Trying to find solutions in interactions that benefit all participants.  Trying to be generous, kind, and as thoughtful to others as people are to me when I most appreciate them.”
  • “To me the biggest difference between an adult and child’s perspective is that as an adult, you realize that you are not in charge of what you feel, but you are in charge of how you act. All feelings are legit. Not all acts are.  At the point where reason wins more often than emotion, you are on the threshold of adulthood. You can hurry it a little, but it mostly comes from age and observation, with a big dollop of self control if you can manage to scrape it up when needed. I’ll bet you can see a trend in your behavior over time if you examine it. There are probably a lot of examples you can identify of when you were acting ‘adult’ as you define it. Think of it as playing piano… almost everyone benefits from practice. Give it some time and work on it. The biggest challenge of aging is not to let adulthood get in the way of fun, love, growth, risk, happiness, joy, giving, and feeling. Giving the healthy child within a chance to express itself from time to time is essential to keeping the adult healthy and happy.”

What does being an adult mean to you?

For more information about Marie Hall go to: BeMoneySmartUSA.


Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.