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The Term ‘Adulting’ And Why It Needs To Just Age Out And Go Away

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britney spears crossroads

Welcome to the first addition of The Tea, where I discuss the opinions that I’ve been simmering on, served hot.

Today’s brew: It’s time to officially age out of the term “adulting.”

This week, the LA Times published an article titled “Adulting is hard. UC Berkeley has a class for that.” Click!

The article went on to talk about a new class called “Adulting,” and I promptly lost my mind. The course syllabus says that it will focus on skills like how to “create and stick to a personal budget, build a resume, apply for jobs, and navigate romantic relationships.” Fair enough. It also mentions an entire Adulting School in Portland, Maine, that is said to teach skills like “making friends.” And that’s where you’ve really lost me.

Let’s just go ahead and ignore the fact that spending thousands of dollars to learn how to finance better is, safe to say, pretty ironic. The problem here is with the term “adulting” and why I have learned to hate it so much.

The New Adult Content

What are adult cereals? What is adulting? What is life? Shrugs. (Flickr/B_Walsh1)

According to the dictionary definition, Adulting is “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” So, like, living? It’s just…living. The phrase has been around for a while, but really exploded like a gloriously blazing dumpster fire in between 2014 and 2016. Internet users would use the term in ways like tweeting “laundry is out of the machine #adulting,” all the way to “got out of bed and actually on my way to work on time #adulting.” Now the same word is back, but this time packaged as a legitimate college course. That noise you hear is my head exploding. You know what should have been a college course? Taxes. But a class on how to make friends on the other hand? I mean, if you’ve presumably had 12+ years of schooling and you haven’t figured it out, maybe a classroom isn’t the place for that sort of thing. Just sayin’.

“Adulting: the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.” – Oxford English Dictionary

Just like most terms that are making this world worse, this one is commonly used by Millennials and Gen-Zers. As a self-loathing Millennial I have been hearing all about adulting for a few years now from friends and people I follow online. What else have I been hearing about? Well, things along the lines of “no one at my work takes me seriously” or “I hate how other generations just assume we’re all just lazy.” But let’s just take a minute to, let’s just say, try out this whole responsibility thing and admit to ourselves that we are the problem. We elbow our way into the workplace and try to get treated like adults, and then turn around and say that we are only “adulting” when we are doing normal things. It is like we are all Britney Spears in Crossroads pretending that we are not a girl and not yet a woman. It’s like, “Please take me seriously, but not that seriously because I have no idea what I’m doing, isn’t that funny?!” It implies that we are not actually adults, just occasionally trying on the role like a pair of genuinely ridiculous-looking pants, squeezing into them like that one pair of Hollister jeans that never actually fit but that I demanded my mother buy me anyway.

Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman

britney spears crossroads

Take a seat, you are not Britney (Fuzzy Bunny Films)

In my journey down Cranky Lane, apparently on my way to the geriatric center, I made the grave mistake of looking up who was tweeting about adulting and quickly realized that it was mostly all women and then felt roundly ashamed. It is as if the girls in elementary school who were “playing dumb” as a way to look attractive then grew up and are now women “playing adults.” Can you believe that they actually did their laundry and filled up their ice trays? I won’t blame these women, I blame society, but that’s a rant for another column. Today, I’m going to go ahead and take a wild guess that many, if not all of these women have accomplished more than this and are probably succeeding at being real live adults. But that isn’t cute, is it? Instead, their accomplishments are put into more adorable packages, made for a world where being a little helpless is just sooo endearing. Women can’t talk about their own accomplishments, so instead they try to make them more palatable by making a joke out of them. *Looks left, looks right, sees no one laughing.*

“Saying ‘adulting’ doesn’t only undermine our talents and make us sound entitled — it also affects our superiors’ perception of us.” – Cosmopolitan Magazine

Sure, something should be said for the fact that people go all the way until college and still do not know how to budget their lives, feed themselves, and basically talk to other people. But to then call those actions “adulting,” just lets these, dare I say it, adults, act like they are still children and should not be given the responsibility of having a budget to balance anyway.

Annnddd A Last Minute Plug For My Birthday (Sorry, I Had To)

As my birthday coincides with the release of this blog (and I usually hate sharing my birthday but for this I make an exception), I find myself slowly turning into the old, crotchety grandparent that I so wish to be someday, the kind that says things like “I don’t understand kids these days.” Some might call it adulthood. Just don’t call it adulting. It’s time to add adulting to the list of retired words and call it a day, or at least call it for what it is — growing up, investing in your first anti-aging face cream and getting over it like everyone else does daily.

The Tea is a biweekly column for Icepop Magazine by Kendall Breitman. Kendall is a recovering political reporter who has covered current events for MSNBC, Bloomberg and Politico. Her birthday is this week – wish her a happy one on Twitter.

 

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