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Post Reply Becoming Adult
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
This topic is an exploration of a question I asked myself over twenty years ago. First though, I would like to state that I have never actually felt like I was an adult. I have always felt like a child pretending to be an adult. Everyday I put on a suit to go to the office, I feel like I am cosplaying Perry White. Whenever difficulties come up, I am always asking myself, "What would Perry White do?" .

The event that happened over twenty years ago was the death of my wifes' grandmother. Everyone gathered at her home for the services and afterwards, her children gathered together for the reading of the will, followed by a discussion of distributing her personal possessions among her 5 sons and daughter, all in their 80's. I wasn't in the room, but I didn't have to be. The sons were screaming at the top of their lungs in what can only be described as temper tantrums. I swear I am not making this up, but I heard one of them say "Mom always liked you best", and I swear I am not sanitizing this because of the mixed age groups on this website, but they were calling each other "DoDo heads". The only sane voice in the room was the sister. The question I asked myself twenty years ago was "Great Ceasars' Ghost, how old do you have to be to become an adult?" This is the question I would like to explore.

For the purpose of this discussion, I would like to define a child as someone that considers themselves before others and an adult as someone that considers others before themselves and that this is a continuum. As our lives unfold, we become less and less child and more and more adult. This definition seems somewhat insufficient, but I do think it captures the essence of what it means to be a child and what it means to be an adult.

So, the five sons are a useful datapoint. Looking at them, it is possible to make a list of things that are apparently not important to becoming an adult. The sister was sane, so she is not a useful datapoint. However, based on my life's experience, I can't remember ever seeing a girl throw a temper tantrum over the age of 14. I've seen many have a meltdown, but never a tantrum which is a me, me, me event and therefore the very essence of childish. I suspect that for women, there is a genetic compulsion to become adult as they grow older. If the mother doesn't take care of her children, which requires her to put their needs before hers, the very essence of adulthood, we would be doomed as a species. And if growing older isn't sufficient, becoming a mother seems to finish the job. Based on the five sons, men have no genetic compulsion to become adults. Maybe when we were hunter-gatherers, being a selfish, childish, asshole gave you a survival advantage, and if you survived, your wife and children stayed fed. Just becoming older doesn't seem to move the needle for men.

So, based on the five sons, things that don't move the needle:

* They were all married, so that didn't move the needle
* They all served as Navy officers in WWII. So while the military might be able to change boys into men, it doesn't change children into adults.
* They were all very highly educated, engineers, scientists, college professors all. Didn't move the needle
* All had multiple children. Didn't move the needle.

So what does move the needle? Couldn't figure it out until two new datapoints presented themselves which gave me some ideas. These datapoints were two of my male cousins, born about 5 years apart. They never got off the starting block. They started their teens fully child and never progressed. The most easily identifiable attribute of someone who is fully child is that they are assholes. So, no friends and definitely no girlfriends all through school. They did graduate, but barely. Neither could hold a job for an entire day. They lived with their poor parents and blamed them and the world at large for their lack of success of any kind. The family had written them off as lost souls. Then, at the age of 35, the older cousin somehow got a girlfriend and finally joined the human race. He became normal. Then, five years later, the younger cousin, again at the age of 35, somehow got a girlfriend and joined the human race. I am not sure of the significance of 35. Maybe, after being a virgin for 35 years, guys decide that being an asshole isn't working for them so maybe they try something different. Maybe a 35 year old single girl that wants to have a family decides that the time for half-measures is over and is willing to take on a challenge. Dunno. So, in my mind, it was definitely the girlfriends that moved the needle.

So, that got me thinking, are girlfriends the only thing or at least the principle thing that moves the needle? Is not the time of your life when you are wondering how to obtain and hang onto a girlfriend when you start putting the feelings of someone else ahead of your own. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, and it also helps explains my five in-laws. Their father was a chemist that made some important discoveries and made a fortune selling patents. He could afford to send his kids to the best schools and did. The sons all went to technical academies for high school and technical colleges. At that time, that would mean all male. They then joined the Navy at the start of WWII and served on warships. Not many girls there either. So, whatever it is that girlfriends do to drag their boyfriends kicking and screaming into adulthood, I don't think my in-laws had the minimum number of girlfriend hours necessary to cross over to mostly adult. I think that they failed to progress when they got married because they treated their wives like servants, like they had done them a favor to marry them. Maybe being Navy officers did that to them. They treated everyone like subordinates. I think if you consider your marriage a sure thing, and that you don't have to be concerned with your wife's' feelings, you stagnate. And having children did nothing to mature them as they dumped that responsibility entirely on their wives.

So here is the question for the board. "Are boys condemned to remain Peter Pan until they meet their Wendy?"
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I like pizza with pineapple
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I'm not Peter Pan, I can't fly. Silly you
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Being selfish isn't a bad thing, it motivates us to do things.

Women are just as immature as dudes. Remember Trigglypuff and all the other social justice warriors?

I think you're putting too much importance on trivial things. Society doesn't care, as long as you have what those five sons have, wealth
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
I think we most all come from a long lineage of selfish confrontational dumbasses and that both men and women are still very much that to this day. I've definitely seen and have experienced personally both mothers and fathers who were and probably still are children. I think a lot of this type of behavior has roots in a warped, disempowering and archaic cosmology/philosophy that revolves around a arrogant hierarchic structure of man in relation to the environment we find ourselves in and the hierarchic structure of society itself.

I think if a guy needs a women and/or children to realize that it's a horrible idea to be a selfish asshole that that's a problem cause they lack the power and insight to actually see their conduct and beliefs for what they are and even question it, and that they need to rely on someone else to even begun that process and make changes from a self-destructive lifestyle.


On another note I actually wonder if children are actually as selfish and dumb as the term "being a child" denotes or if it's learned from the adults in their environments.
qwueri 
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17

flashsmith wrote:

This topic is an exploration of a question I asked myself over twenty years ago. First though, I would like to state that I have never actually felt like I was an adult. I have always felt like a child pretending to be an adult. Everyday I put on a suit to go to the office, I feel like I am cosplaying Perry White. Whenever difficulties come up, I am always asking myself, "What would Perry White do?" .

The event that happened over twenty years ago was the death of my wifes' grandmother. Everyone gathered at her home for the services and afterwards, her children gathered together for the reading of the will, followed by a discussion of distributing her personal possessions among her 5 sons and daughter, all in their 80's. I wasn't in the room, but I didn't have to be. The sons were screaming at the top of their lungs in what can only be described as temper tantrums. I swear I am not making this up, but I heard one of them say "Mom always liked you best", and I swear I am not sanitizing this because of the mixed age groups on this website, but they were calling each other "DoDo heads". The only sane voice in the room was the sister. The question I asked myself twenty years ago was "Great Ceasars' Ghost, how old do you have to be to become an adult?" This is the question I would like to explore.

For the purpose of this discussion, I would like to define a child as someone that considers themselves before others and an adult as someone that considers others before themselves and that this is a continuum. As our lives unfold, we become less and less child and more and more adult. This definition seems somewhat insufficient, but I do think it captures the essence of what it means to be a child and what it means to be an adult.



Your definition of "child" and "adult" seem odd. A young child is perfectly capable of making decisions that benefit others over themselves, and an adult is also capable of getting through life thinking of little more than themselves. Altruism and consideration may be part of what defines an adult; but it's also their ability to take responsibility for their own well being (and that of others), to pursue their own ambitions, and bear the responsibility for their own mistakes.

The event you referred to is more siblings reverting to how their relationships were before they split away from each other to pursue their own lives, likely due at least in part to the stress of the loss of their mother and the inevitable conflicts that arise in the aftermath of losing a parent. It could very well be they have long unresolved resentments towards oneanother and they don't have much if any experience interacting with one-another as adults due to extended separation. I don't think that disqualifies them as being adults, but adults are not always at their best 100% of the time. Being an adult is not playing Perry White every waking moment.

Relationships can help to accelerate consideration of others and less reliance upon others for basic day-to-day, but they can also just transfer dependencies from parents to partners. A single person can certainly be mature, but it takes a significant degree of self-satisfaction/validation. Where a family unit may expand their priorities onto the entire family unit, a single person may expand priorities outside themselves onto other things (job, cause, hobby, pets, etc.).
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I think and therefore I am
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I agree more with qwueri's assessment/observation on the subject.
Bavalt 
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Posted 10/28/17 , edited 10/29/17
This to me mostly seems like a matter of stunted social development for this particular group. These brothers might very well be perfectly respectable people in plenty of other scenarios, but in that particular situation, they acted like children. Just as a possibility: maybe they were each too busy fighting in a war, getting an education, and having a family to really spend any time with one another, and as a result, lapsed back into the way they used to act the last time they were in a situation like that with one another. A person's identity is something that nobody else can ever adequately see. What we call a personality is the aspects of that identity that most frequently get filtered through the situations a person finds themselves in, and social circles are a huge part of that. People can be unrecognizable when you see them in a context you're not used to, especially when it's one they're not used to themselves. Even those asshole cousins could very well have been acting in an "adult" way in social circles that nobody else in the family knew existed, or were interested enough in to inquire into.

I think, for the most part, maturation happens differently for different people, on a surface level, anyway. I personally see it as a sort of gradual compromise between the individual and the environment they find themselves in. For a person of a competitive or narcissistic nature, that could very well mean learning to put others above oneself, but for someone of a meek or harmonious nature, it would be exactly the opposite. Becoming an adult is just conditioning: subconsciously learning what and what not to show people, and figuring out how to change your thinking, in such a way that you'll gel better with your environment and in turn more reliably find happiness within in. Evolution on a personal scale. When people are taken to a social environment that they haven't adapted to handle, they'll flounder, unless the skills that they used in other environments are suitable for the new one. These guys all sound like very successful men - probably used to being respected by default, and having "matured" in a way specific to that. Put them in a room with their siblings, who are also successful, and with whom they spent far more of their time with before they'd matured much, and it's not too strange that it'd turn out that way. I don't think it's fair to call them immature for that one event.
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Posted 11/4/17 , edited 11/4/17

robotechy wrote:


Being selfish isn't a bad thing, it motivates us to do things.

Women are just as immature as dudes. Remember Trigglypuff and all the other social justice warriors?

I think you're putting too much importance on trivial things. Society doesn't care, as long as you have what those five sons have, wealth


Thank you for taking the time to post a reply.

I agree that being selfish is not a bad thing, but you can't be selfish in all things. Like I said, I think it is a continuum. No one is 100% child or 100% adult. We are all a blend. An important life strategy would be to be unselfish when it counts, as much as you can.

I've read that women reach peak maturity around 32 and men peak 11 years later at 43. So, if you are 43 and conversing with a 20 year old, she is going to appear immature to you. It's all relative to a point. Actually, I have never heard of Trigglypuff and had to google her. Maybe the articles didn't do her justice, but they portrayed her as very angry. Her fashion sense was unusual, but I don't think either makes her immature.

I think you are advocating a strategy that leads to a life of profound unhappiness. I concede that having wealth will get you a girl, but if you rely solely on that, then wealth is the only thing binding the girl to you. It is only a matter of time until she finds a wealthier boyfriend and you are dumped. Rinse. Repeat. That can't be good for morale. And that is only if you are fortunate. If you are unfortunate, the girl will marry you, give you a couple of kids, divorce you, take half of said wealth, plus alimony plus child support. That can't be good for morale either. You need to bind the girl to you with something besides wealth. Being an adult, putting her needs and wants ahead of your own is part of that. So, I don't think it is trivial.

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Posted 11/4/17 , edited 11/4/17
From what I gather, the crux of this conundrum appears to be grossly unrealistic standards of adulthood. It seems to be a case of "expectations versus reality."
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Posted 11/4/17 , edited 11/4/17

flashsmith wrote:


robotechy wrote:


Being selfish isn't a bad thing, it motivates us to do things.

Women are just as immature as dudes. Remember Trigglypuff and all the other social justice warriors?

I think you're putting too much importance on trivial things. Society doesn't care, as long as you have what those five sons have, wealth


Thank you for taking the time to post a reply.

I agree that being selfish is not a bad thing, but you can't be selfish in all things. Like I said, I think it is a continuum. No one is 100% child or 100% adult. We are all a blend. An important life strategy would be to be unselfish when it counts, as much as you can.

I've read that women reach peak maturity around 32 and men peak 11 years later at 43. So, if you are 43 and conversing with a 20 year old, she is going to appear immature to you. It's all relative to a point. Actually, I have never heard of Trigglypuff and had to google her. Maybe the articles didn't do her justice, but they portrayed her as very angry. Her fashion sense was unusual, but I don't think either makes her immature.

I think you are advocating a strategy that leads to a life of profound unhappiness. I concede that having wealth will get you a girl, but if you rely solely on that, then wealth is the only thing binding the girl to you. It is only a matter of time until she finds a wealthier boyfriend and you are dumped. Rinse. Repeat. That can't be good for morale. And that is only if you are fortunate. If you are unfortunate, the girl will marry you, give you a couple of kids, divorce you, take half of said wealth, plus alimony plus child support. That can't be good for morale either. You need to bind the girl to you with something besides wealth. Being an adult, putting her needs and wants ahead of your own is part of that. So, I don't think it is trivial.


Thank you for reading and taking the time to post a reply as well.

I think you are advocating a strategy that leads to a life of profound unhappiness. I'm not advocating to rely on wealth to get a partner. I'm saying society won't judge you a badly if you are wealthy. Hell they'll put you on a pedestal.

I agree that being selfish is not a bad thing, but you can't be selfish in all things. I agree, but I'm mostly just sticking up for capitalism.

Her fashion sense was unusual, but I don't think either makes her immature. I'm not talking about her fashion, it's her outburst. And from what I've seen on videos, she was clearly upset, mad, angry. Plus she's not the only one, that was just one example. Google Hugh Mungus, that is another case. However, based on my life's experience, I can't remember ever seeing a girl throw a temper tantrum over the age of 14. This was the point I was trying to make was that there are women that throw temper tantrums that are over the age of 14. Women and Men can both be immature regardless of age.
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Posted 11/4/17 , edited 11/4/17

flashsmith wrote:

For the purpose of this discussion, I would like to define a child as someone that considers themselves before others and an adult as someone that considers others before themselves and that this is a continuum. As our lives unfold, we become less and less child and more and more adult. This definition seems somewhat insufficient, but I do think it captures the essence of what it means to be a child and what it means to be an adult.



If that is how you define an adult, then there are no adults among earth lifeforms. Part of being a living being on this planet is being self-centered. It is what allows us to live, to exist. That doesn't meant one needs to be a petulant child and fight with their siblings over the inheritance of their deceased parent, at their parents funeral of all places. But, living beings can think and see things from their own perspective only. One might think they see things from other peoples perspectives, but they are just fooling themselves and making assumptions of what that other person's perspectives are. They think of themselves first and foremost, which isn't a bad thing. You can't do anything for anyone, if you don't think of yourself first.
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Posted 11/5/17 , edited 11/5/17
I believe that part of growing up that you still keep part of that child like self inside you. I never lost it and joined the military at a young age and realized that people are immature regardless of what age they are.
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