This article in the Atlantic posits that adulthood is a social construct.
Any time I’ve heard the term social construct, I’ve been skeptical.
This time, the expression seems to have touched me.
Perhaps, that’s just a reflection on me being a millennial in her late twenties yet to produce any offspring. Any excuse to feel better.
But perhaps, it is actually somewhat true. The article highlighted having children and financial independence as the keys to adulthood.
Of course, independence is a key part, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that the elderly or the infirm who need additional support aren’t adults.
For a wild Homo sapiens, independence would have had more to do with physical strength and mental agility. For a modern Homo sapiens, independence is more about convincing other homos that this homo can be useful to them.
Independence is a social thing by definition, where other human beings perceive that they depend on you no less than you depend on them – and the more they feel that they depend on you, the more they will be willing to pay, subject to demand and supply.
At the same time, the most independent of our ancestors depended on other people too: someone had to keep the fire lit, share the food etc. But I am not sure that back then there was such a thing as independence as we understand it today. There was no office you could go to that would tell you whether you are above or below a certain line.
Were the males in their prime really independent? It seems that they would have had a high chance of being killed if they were seen by members of another tribe. Today, the equivalent man can arrive in another tribe and work for Google, etc.
As for the children part, the biological part is perhaps less important to becoming an adult than the act of caring and taking responsibility for another human being – which is also entirely social.
Thank you everyone for a fantastic blogging year – I gladly we are now 1500 strong. I wish you all a happy holiday season 🌲❤️