When do we cross that line between being a child/teen and officially become an adult? Legally speaking, it's the moment the clock strikes midnight on our 18th birthday, but that's only legally. Most of us aren't ready for the rigors of adulthood for several years after that.
The idea of becoming an adult is somewhat novel. It's a huge step towards living our own lives, but do we actually realize the responsibilities that come along with that life transition? The short answer, is no. Just because you hit 18 years old doesn't mean that you are ready for the rigors and responsibilities of looking after yourself, at least in most cases.
I fully admit that when I turned 18, I was still a dumb-ass kid that thought he knew everything about what life was going to throw his way. It stayed that way for several years. I only had to make sure I could eat, get clean, and have a place to lay my head at night. It was an easy existence. To be honest, I spent more time worrying about what I was going to do on the weekend, than I did figuring out what I was going to do with my future.
For five years I just did what I wanted, moving from place to place, and job to job, making sure I had money for drinks and smokes. At that age I felt like "screw it, I can always do that tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year." I was prepared for very little, in regards to my future.
It wasn't until five days after my 23rd birthday that reality came full force and slapped across the face. My first daughter was born on March 30, 2010 and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing in every sense. I wasn't prepared to be a father, and it showed. It was in that moment that I realized I had to pick up my socks, but it still took a couple years before I actually lived up to that realization.
Starting to "adult" that late in life is difficult. I was 25, without a high school diploma, little work experience outside of restaurant kitchens, and absolutely no idea on what direction I needed to take to get things back on track.
It's one of those things where you feel wildly overwhelmed, trying to make plans that can all happen at the same time, but in reality, I had to look at each aspect of my life that needed to change, and attack them one at a time or else I would be spinning in useless circles.
First thing was first, it was back to adult high school so that I could get that little piece of paper. My dad wasn't lying when he told me that I wouldn't be able to do anything without it, and it pains me to admit that.
It has been an uphill battle since the day I decided it was time to figure out who I was going to be in life. It took six months for me to graduate from high school, followed by four years in college in order to earn two diplomas. Over that time I also had to work to support my growing family, and make sure that they had everything that they needed.
The reality is, that not many kids of the current generation are ready for adulthood, heck, I was raised the hard way and I still wasn't really ready for it. Now that I am a parent to four beautiful little girls, I have had to look at how I am raising them. I want them to be happy and healthy, but I also want them to be prepared. That is the number one job of any parent, to make sure that their child or children are ready to take on the world when it is their turn to venture out in the world.
You never really know what you are doing. It's more like making it up as you go along.