I’m Always Looking For The Adultier Adult

Someone has to be responsible for all this, don’t they?

Sydel Brown
Sep 11 · 5 min read
Photo of a woman’s eyes peeking from behind material.
Photo of a woman’s eyes peeking from behind material.
Is she the adult I’ve been looking for? Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

I saw a meme a couple of years ago about always looking for the adultier adult.

I related so hard. I reposted it lightning fast. And it resonated with my people. Even friends who are older than I am are also looking for the adultier adult.

Wait. Aren’t they the adults here?

Apparently it doesn’t matter how old you actually are. It’s how old and wise you feel that make the difference.

Do I Think of Myself as Basically a Teenager?

I don’t think of myself as a teenager.

I’ve weathered too many big, sometimes awful, sometimes grand things. There’s no way I’d still be standing if I’d had to deal with it all before I turned 20.

But yet I still find myself always turning around, looking for someone with more authority. Because I’m not the authority here. I can’t be. I don’t know anything. I’m flying blind and hoping someone else takes the wheel.

Someone, anyone, else must know better than I do. Right?

My Young Friend Keeps Turning To Me For Advice

I have a work-turned-real friend who keeps turning to me for advice. I call him Baby Gay in my head because he’s at least 15 years younger than I am. He’s super sweet and naïve to the point where my maternal instincts kick in if anyone is mistreating him. Which seems to happen often.

I thought the advice seeking would be a one-off thing, but it’s become fairly regular. Not in an intrusive way. I appreciate that he trusts my judgement and I’m happy to help, if I can. Or at least listen as he talks through it if I can’t.

But then I realized: he thinks I am the adultier adult.

Baby Gay thinks of me as the person with the answers, even if I feel completely lost and unsure. Yet he doesn’t see me that way.

So why do I?

An Adulting Revelation

Why is it fine to place the fate of the world on teenagers’ shoulders in the movies, but when it comes to real-world adulting, even us older folks can’t handle it?

I’m sure there are several psychological things going on here that are beyond my comprehension.

But I also think that it’s a way of shirking responsibility.

“I’m not an adult so I definitely don’t have to do that.

Instead of accepting that we don’t have all the answers, we try to pretend like someone else does.

When, in fact, nobody has all the answers. Everyone bellyflops sometimes.

The internet is full of people — mostly adults, some trolls — contradicting one another. And no one has everything exactly right.

Nobody knows it all. Nobody even knows a large fraction of it. We’re all just fooling ourselves that someone else does.

Meanwhile, Gen Z is looking at all of us older folks like we’re giant toads. Why don’t we care about the environment? Why aren’t we fixing the broken education, health care, political, and economic systems that they will inherit?

It feels like we’re leaving the next generation with the big box under the tree that looks fancy on the outside, but once you open it up, it’s full of rotten fruit.

Except those kids already know it’s rotten even before they open it up.

Are they the adults we aspire to be?

Come on. It’s not fair to leave it all up to the kids to fix what’s broken. We need to do better.

I need to do better.

An Adulting Revelation Redux

Instead of putting the responsibility of “fixing things” on the shoulders of children, which is an international pastime that needs to stop, I’ve decided to focus on getting my own life in order.

I know I can’t fix the world’s problems if my own house isn’t in order, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

I’ve been taking steps to fix each of these things over the years, but I look around and it’s still a gigantic mess. I’m a gigantic mess.

So I’m going to step it up, ignore the things that don’t matter and focus on the things that do.

I need to take my own adulting seriously because I don’t want to end up like a meme I saw this morning: “Life humbles you as you age. You realize how much time you wasted on nonsense.”

I’m going to stop wasting time on nonsense and get to work.

Are There Online Classes On Adulting?

I’m hoping there are classes on adulting because this could get a bit overwhelming. It’ only taken me a few decades to get to this point. What’s another few weeks?

But wait, that’s been the problem all along. Waiting for a solution to an age-old problem: who’s the adult in my life? I am.

I need to keep reminding myself of that. I’m going to write it on stickies and put them everywhere. And if anyone asks, I am the adultier adult.

Adulthood, here I come!


Thanks for reading! This story is based on the Independent Study prompt for this week’s Human Prompt.

Here’s a funny one that could have also been written for this prompt if it hadn’t already been published:

And another piece kicking myself for the delays, also based on that week’s Human Prompt:

Want to read more of my insights? Join my mailing list! I’ll keep you up-to-date on all my writing.

Sydel Brown

Written by

Writing about writing, sex, love, dating, relationships, and life with a twist of humor. Sometimes I bite. Can be NSFW. Buy me a coffee? Ko-fi.com/sydelbrown

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