If you clicked on this story excited for the prospect of an entire write-up on the 2003 animated spin-off – Rugrats: All Grown Up, I have two things to say:
- I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not what this is about
- Why on earth would you be excited about that? The show wasn’t very good.
Feel free to leave now.
Good, now those weirdos are gone. Let’s get down to business.
There’s a term I’ve seen floating around a lot on the internet, particularly with people of my generation. It’s a made up word which I’m not entirely sure the origins of, but it gets used a lot these days.
Let’s deconstruct that word for a second. We know an adult is a person who, by the law of the land, is over 18 and can now live on their own. They get exciting perks like paying taxes and being tried by criminal courts with more severe sentencing. And the -ing part, grammatically speaking, is taking that noun and turning it into an active verb. I just did it 3 times there without you even noticing. (and a fourth time!)
Here are more examples:
Athletes run. The athlete is running.
Chefs cook. The chef is cooking.
I’m an adult. I am…adulting?
What does that even mean? For an answer, let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite “news” source – Buzzfeed
That’s quite enough of that. So what have we learned?
- “Nailing it” means doing things that you would’ve done 10-15 years ago
- #adultfails are not knowing things that you feel like you “should” know
- I still don’t understand how British university works
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scrub my browser history to forget I ever set foot in that wasteland of oversaturated Disney gifs and dating tips for introverted extroverts. I’ll be right back.
Buzzfeed hatred aside, what this all boils down to is that young adults have this constant need and desire to prove themselves to anyone and everyone. Social media only enhances that need. It makes things trackable.
Followers on Instagram.
Favorites on tweets.
Likes on Facebook.
We’ve been sucked into this swirling vortex of approval. None of us feel ready to be in the real world. I say “we” and “us” because I’d be lying if I said I knew exactly what I’m doing with my life. But I’m learning as I go, and that’s the point. Instead, the energy that should be put to actually growing up is funneled into these mediums by which we try and show off how we’ve grown up.
I’ll never really understand the fascination we have with walking the line between who we were and what we’ve grown into. Identity theft is a huge problem in our society, but I imagine young adults must be immune because we ourselves are still discovering who we are. On one hand, we’re graduating college, applying for jobs, and finally packing up those things to move out of our parents’ houses. But at the same time, we still obsess over the return of things like Boy Meets World and Full House because it reminds us of a time when we didn’t have responsibility. A time where the most important thing in our lives was the premiere of a brand new episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog on Cartoon Cartoon Fridays.
Now we have to adult.
Adulting should mean doing things you have to do as part of growing up. Our parents did it. Our grandparents did it. And so on. But for my generation, because we’re constantly placing ourselves out there for the world to see, it’s turned into “Hey look what I did I’m an adult now!!”
I hate to break it to you, but declaring yourself to be an adult doesn’t mean you’ve grown up. It just means you did something that generations of people have done before you, only they did it WITHOUT seeking some sort of recognition for it. Maybe they called mom and dad to brag about stuff. But they didn’t take a picture of their tax returns to show how proud they were that they did them.
Maybe we’re not so immune to identity theft after all…
My point is this: You as a human being are responsible for yourself now. You make your own decisions and you fuel your own destiny. You can dwell on the past and cross your fingers for reboots of Rugrats and Hey Arnold to bring you back to those times of comfort. Or you can create a path for yourself to the future and give yourself a chance to become something great. Something your parents and your kids can be proud of.
That became oddly poetic there at the end. When I started typing, like my life and the lives of so many others my age, I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going with it. But it is what it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll eat a bowl of French Toast Crunch because they BROUGHT IT BACK BABY WOOO!