Am I an Adult? (Part 1. Definition…)


I have six criteria for being an adult. Each prospective adult must be able to:

1. swim,
2. defend him or herself both emotionally and physically,
3. think critically and build logical arguments,
4. understand statistics,
5. drive manual (stick-shift) cars. (Also, knowing how to ride bicycles and horses can be useful survival skills.)

These all imply the most important criterion:

6. accepting responsibility to think independently,
taking responsibility for one’s actions and for preventing exploitation.

Personally, I have spent a good deal of time studying each of
the above items, and also reflecting on my own principles. I
believe this reflection to be part of both #3 and #6, as each
adult must know the basis of his or her life principles, if he or
she is to live a fulfilling and stable life. Not only meaning, as
Dr. Viktor Frankl described, but pondered one’s
principles and deciding what gives life meaning, is crucial.

Thus, I believe that the final test for being recognized as an
adult should be to teach someone else a necessary life skill.

For example, swimming, or writing. This Adulthood Challenge is described in an earlier post.

Love, Peace, and … Community Cooperation !!!
Shira Destinie
Gregorian Date: Friday, Jun 27, 2014
Meow Date : Tuesday, June 26, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

About ShiraHoloceneEraDest

Shira Destinie Jones Landrac is a published poet and academic author, former Washington DC Tour Guide, founder of SHIR Tours Community Cooperation Tours, and freelance writer and educator. She has organized community events such as film discussions, multi-ethnic song events, and cooperative presentations. She now lives in France, and continues to work for community cooperation and health for all. She is on LinkedIn and on LinkedIn: and Academia.Edu:
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4 Responses to Am I an Adult? (Part 1. Definition…)

  1. Pingback: Est-ce que je suis une adulte ? Partie 1 : La Définition | The Tell Your Story Community Cooperation Blog

  2. Pingback: The MEOW Vision: A bit like Herland, but more equal | The MEOW Community Cooperation Blog

  3. Hi, Rachel,

    Thanks so much for responding. I agree that in other cultures and societies, adulthood may have to be defined in ways that suite that society, but it is also important, in this globalised and highly mobile world, for every adult to be equally able to manage the sorts of transport demanded of him or her. That means that women must be given equal access to cars in parts of Africa where the men are allowed and expected to drive.

    It is not that women who cannot swim or drive are not women, as they are clearly defined as women using other criteria, in their own societies. The problem is that to be capable of meeting the challenges that a mobile society demands of adults, and I mean all around the globe, it is neither safe nor fair to lower the expectations, and thus the actual capabilities, of women in, say, Africa. Or under the Taliban -girls are deliberately prevented from becoming full adults by the denial of education, skills that would save their lives (such as Kuwaiti women driving during the Gulf War, or the many women who drowned disproportionately to men in the Indonesian Tsunami in 2006).

    This is not a definition of current adulthood, persay. These points, 1-6, are not meant to define who is NOW an adult, but rather, who should be able to claim the title of adulthood in an equal (yes, IDEAListic) world. This is meant to define an adult in a world where we all have the same opportunities and expectations. Persons with physical handicaps have been able to drive with specially adapted vehicles. Why is this not universally available?

    As with food, water, shelter, and solar energy, all of the knowledge and skills available in the Developed World must be shared with the Developing world on an even-handed basis. Then, and only then, can we all consider ourselves adults.
    Much love,
    In Service to Community Cooperation,
    ShiraDestinie Jones Landrac,

    William-James-MEOW-Date: Monday, August 6. 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era)

  4. Rachel W says:

    I am 100% with you on #2, 3, 4, and 6. These, I believe, would be universally accepted.

    We have to be careful, though, to make sure that our definition of adulthood does not exclude those with physical impairments or those living in cultures where people do not drive cars. There are people who have never learned how to drive a car, not because they are children, but because they live in areas with ample public transportation and very little space to own a car, or they are in cultures where people simply do not own cars. Some people with physical disabilities are also incapable of driving independently, even in a wheelchair accessible vehicle. Same goes for swimming. Do girls and women living under the Taliban learn how to swim? I don’t know. Does not mean that they are not adults–they sure do become adults very quickly in order to survive in that environment.

    I will never forget my Psychology of Literature and Adolescence professor, the late great Aaron Lipton. Professor Lipton told us that very few of us actually become adults, and most of us are in a perpetual state of adolescence, as we are continually searching and exploring, questioning the existing order of things, and remaking ourselves. Does not mean that we do not acquire qualities #2, 3, 4, and 6.

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