Taking the Plunge:
Our childish journey towards a lifetime of error
By Ethan Van Sice
A child’s transition into adulthood is globally recognized as a sacred, time-honored rite of passage; however, when and how that moment is celebrated can differ greatly from culture to culture.
Imagine jumping from a 100-foot tower with nothing but a few vines attached to your ankles, only to have your 45 mph free-fall suddenly come to a “head” in a pile of soft dirt.
That’s what the men of the Vanuatu tribe on Pentecost Island have been doing for the past few hundred years. Participating in the jump not only announces your maturity, it’s also a popular tourist attraction, and yet another reason I’m so proud to be an American…
I don’t care how manly that looks to you. From such a height, there’s no such thing as “soft dirt”…
I guess things could be worse. The Satere-Mawe tribe of the Amazon will literally place young boy’s hands into these large, woven gloves which just so happen to be filled with hundreds of vicious Bullet Ants. The boys are then asked to dance around for 10-minutes without screaming, passing out, or even acknowledging the fact that they’ve just done something immediately regrettable.
It’s been said that a single bite from a Bullet Ant is 20 times more painful than a wasp sting.
There must be, there should be, an easier way to become an adult…
But there isn’t.
No matter where you are.
Here in the western part of the world, we’re familiar with ceremonies that tend to be a little less painful. But apart from Jewish Bar Mitzvahs and Mexican Quinceañeras, our crossover into adulthood can also be a lot more…obscure.
Somehow, the line separating kids from adults has blurred over the past few decades, to where it’s almost impossible to define exactly what a grown-up is.
The law states that a person magically becomes an adult the very moment he/she turns 18 years old. But that’s a tough marker to justify, especially since most 18-year-olds we know are the dumbest, most immature creatures on the face of the planet.
So if adulthood cannot accurately be determined by age or the passage of time, then how can it be determined?
Millennials assume it’s as easy as inventing a new word.
“Adulting” is essentially, just a ridiculous-sounding verb, derived from a noun, intended to be used like a big, fat “hashtag” behind any sort of adult-like activity in order to apply credence to an otherwise intangible idea or mentality.
By the way, if nothing in the above paragraph made sense to you, congratulations: you are an adult.
“I took the trash out this morning BEFORE the garbage truck came by my house. Afterwards, I went inside, brushed my teeth,
and put on a matching pair of CLEAN socks.
I swallowed an entire strawberry PopTart with no assistance apart from the half -drained glass of water left on the counter from the night before,
and after turning off all the lights and locking the doors behind me,
I drove my car to work, and arrived right on time.”
There you have it, folks. A textbook example of “adulting”.
Those aforementioned tasks, those automatic, everyday routines you more than likely associated with words like “expected”, “mandatory”, “daily”, or any other exhausting-sounding adjective during your upbringing, are no longer considered as such, and yet the world still goes ‘round.
The times have changed, and along with them, so have our expectations, timelines, and destinations. But have our abilities?
I don’t think so.
To remain faithful to any developmental philosophy, whether it’s scientific, religious, or historically researchable, is to become cognizant of the fact that a “declined aptitude” is virtually impossible. However, the delineations and desired means of achieving self-sufficiency are all but guaranteed to change along with our surroundings. And more often than not, it’s for a reason.
The last thing we need is for every teenager to get married the moment they graduate from high school. Most twenty-something’s I know have no business purchasing a home or having babies, as either of those activities could be drastically detrimental to our economy and society in general.
Proof can be found right outside your living-room window. A lot of damage has already been done, all because some people were either forced, instructed, or decided spontaneously to jump into a situation they weren’t ready for.
The painful truth is: life is hard. Adulting is hard. Any sudden change to an established routine is going to be difficult to process, and the speed in which any goal is achieved will fluctuate significantly depending on a multitude of other, sometimes invisible factors.
Even the process of writing this editorial has proven to be difficult, as I knew from the beginning that I would never reach a desirable conclusion. No matter how much evidence I presented to you, I knew I’d never be able to tell you what an adult was, or how one should act. You can read over these words and see them as nothing more than randomly constructed observations with seemingly no purpose or intent, a fruitless attempt to draw attention to an impervious fact of life.
But hopefully, at least a smidge of my actual intention is still present: to inject an idea into the atmosphere. That’s all. Even that simple of a task of putting words onto a page took a great deal of effort. It was, and still is, wrought with mistakes. My backspace key is worn-out due to misinterpretations, dead-end viewpoints, mechanical errors, and frequent lapses in self-esteem. Such was the recipe for this article.
And such is the recipe for life.