Adulting: The Sanctity of Adulthood

“Millennials are all crybabies, all superficial selfie takers who stay at home all the time and feel they deserve a reward for getting a loaf of bread from the cornershop…”

“All millennials want to be treated like special snowflakes, well, they should just get on with life and stop asking for special treatment!”

Non-millennials hating on millennials, in my own words.

I disagree, obviously. The path to adulthood is much less clear cut than it was in the second half of the 20th century. Now we are in the 21st, where economies are squeezed and jobs are scarce for many people. Millennials, the young, the netflix generation, whatever, are at the bottom of the pile. A friend of mine who recently graduated from university said she couldn’t even get a cafe job because she had no experience. How then will any of us get something more than a cafe job if we have no experience?

Housing is squashed and rents are rising. Benefits are harder to get, global warming and economic difficulty looms over our futures.

I would ask of those in their ivory towers of age not to judge us then. Fair enough, everyone has lived through hard times and hard work should not be shied away from. However no one should judge another. Telling millennials to shut up, get off their phones and out of their safe spaces will only create more animosity.


What is a millennial? It’s difficult to tell. Some people say they are those born between 1980 and 1994; other times in conversation the phrase is used to refer to those born AFTER the year 2000. Others have said it is the generation who is coming into young adulthood in the 2010s. It’s all very confusing. However I hope my words will be of help to those between the ages of 18 and 31. I may be wildly inaccurate in my definition of millennial but, to be honest, there is no widely accepted definition.

Anyway, ‘adulting’…

It is a term that we millennials have started using to describe the new (to us) concept of being an adult. It is a tongue in cheek phrase used to explain the doing of ‘adult’ things that are usually not 636028451881153836-1170072345_6358425115121491022038595759_110-750x400particularly fun. It can range from doing your washing on the same day each week to having your career entirely sorted out for the next 10 years. The phrase “ugh I have to adult tomorrow” is a classic use of this word. It is a way of venting about coping with a new form of life away from the comforts of childhood.

Seems irritating, right? When did ‘adulting’ become a thing? It’s surely just young whippersnappers complaining about being away from the cushy, spoiled environment of their parents homes.

I disagree.

The term is a coping mechanism with our future. As I’ve already described, most millennials are not particularly hopeful about the future. A slightly fatalistic attitude seems to pervade most of us who have just entered the world of adulthood. Our situation is not the same as it was for those 20 years ago.

However, I want to posit something new.

Millennials, we need to embrace adulthood. We need to do away with the idea of adulthood as being something that we have spent our whole lives up till now trying to avoid. The weight attached to the ‘university experience’ is a large part of this. The idea that university will be the best times of your life and that everything after that is doom and gloom is monumentally depressing for many millennials. The same could be said for school, but I’m fairly certain most sane groups of humanity agree that school wasn’t heaven for most of us.

In a world that worships youth and pleasure, let’s not be deluded into thinking that the first stage of life is all there is.

Beyond ‘adulting’ our language is full of positivity surrounding the concept of adulthood. Why is ‘maturity’ considered a good thing? Why is ‘coming of age’ a good thing? ‘Growing up’ implies the positivity of development. Similarly, ‘When I grow up’ points to the freedom and potential of being in charge of your own life.

To be ‘asleep’ is generally a bad thing in our language as well. This seems odd, considering most of my colleagues think of sleep as a good thing, the desire for ‘nap time’ is a common theme among many millennials. The idea of being ‘asleep at the wheel’ has negative connotations of not being aware of what you are doing. The idea of armies of zombies tied to smartphones is so horrifying to us because it implies we are ignoring the world around us…and it’s not far from the truth.

Millennials, let’s not be the zombies that society thinks we are. I know it’s hard. It’s so easy to drown our worries in social media, computer games, and netflix. Let’s not be in our own bubble. Look at the world outside; we need to become part of it. If your elders scoff at you, don’t turn away and ignore them, engage with them. Let’s be the better people by engaging with our world. Take pride in taking control: becoming an adult is a good thing. You are coming into your own, becoming a self-sufficient person, in control of your own destiny. No other generation has been so tolerant of others, no other generation is as aware of the environment, and no other generation is as unified as ours.

We are just coming of age. The world will one day be ours. Let’s make sure we are ready for it, we will seize it by the throat.

But only as adults.




2 thoughts on “Adulting: The Sanctity of Adulthood

  1. On my Career Coaching Masters course there has been a lot of similar discussion about millennials, adulthood and the quarter life crisis. Whilst there are some specific differences for the current generation, I recall a lot of similar discussions when I was at the same stage in the mid – late 1980s – we were termed Generation X. At that time interest rates fluctuated between 10-15%, many had serious negative equality in their homes, unemployment hovered at the 3 million mark. There were long running industrial disputes – coal, printworkers, nurses. Yes, there also were the excesses of the 1980s and the “loadsamoney” culture – it was a society of winners and losers … not unlike today.

    People of all ages struggle with responsibility and owning their stuff. As I approach my half century, I am increasingly convinced that whatever age we are, the only way to be flourish and be content is to live holistic, wholehearted, authentic and conscious lives.


    1. Hi Mary! I definitely agree with you that the idea that this generation has had it tougher than others before it is pretty ludicrous. I do acknowledge there is a noticeable squeeze on the millennial generation but I think the reluctance to take on adulthood needs to be done away with. The idea of ‘adulting’ is certainly more of a joke and coping mechanism than a serious phenomenon, but I do think a mindset change is needed to feel positive about the future. Seeing how people survived in previous times, not too dissimilar to ours, can certainly be encouraging.


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