Adulthood

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    Feb 01, 2013 8:45 PM GMT
    Have any of you gone through experiences that you felt initiated you into adulthood. Im not talking about sex.
    I think most men miss out on a kind of initiation into manhood, that has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with independance and adventure. So, for a lot of guys, especially generations before my own, it was a military experience. Or it might have been other ways of serving your country, such as park service, or peace corps, etc. It might have been a particularly remote or difficult study abroad experience. I think it really could have come at any age, even though I am talking about the beginning of adulthood--at least in our own society, where we have no particular adulthood rituals (and the few meager rituals we do have, have historically been denied to gays, eg first girlfriend, marriage, etc.)

    I want to know about the kinds of things you went through, and Im fishing for ideas for my own life.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Feb 01, 2013 8:58 PM GMT
    There are many moments, often little things, like when people start calling you sir, but for the most part it's a shift in mindset, where you no longer search for your future adulthood, but rather try as an adult to stay true to who you always were or wanted to be.
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    Feb 01, 2013 9:01 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidThere are many moments, often little things, like when people start calling you sir, but for the most part it's a shift in mindset, where you no longer search for your future adulthood, but rather try as an adult to stay true to who you always were or wanted to be.


    It sounds so wrong whenever someone addresses me as "sir!" Can't begin to tell you how many times I thought someone was getting another person's attention. It's like, I still have all my hair and it's all still black! Maybe when I'm 40 I'll accept being called "sir." icon_lol.gificon_wink.gif

    Or until I get a monocle.
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    Feb 01, 2013 9:07 PM GMT
    Yeah, id agree with you HottJoe, youre right. I think most people reading this are going to have the same reaction.

    But a lot of peole wait for the shift and it never happens, for a multitude of reasons--a lot of guys, i wont say never grow up (because that has a different connotation, im not talking about the distinction between child-like and adult-like behavior) but many don't seem to make the transition into adulthood.

    Many people who do, on the other hand, have a serious experience that involves intense discipline or independance. I use the word adventure as a kind of stand in. It could take place in the same town where you grew up, or it could take place on the other side of the world.

  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Feb 01, 2013 9:12 PM GMT
    It's particularly difficult for guys your age right now. Your first real job, an apartment; these used to be signs. But there are others that don't involve financial independence.

    The ability to start and to nurture an intimate relationship is one. And I'm not "talking about sex" either, though it does play a role. Also, the ability to know when it's not right, and to let go and try again. I think those are pivotal moments. How you handle it will continue to define future relationships. It's not something to be taken lightly
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    Feb 02, 2013 4:00 AM GMT
    MY generation was the last in France to have the mandatory one year military period, at 18 or a bit later for students.

    For a very long time, it served as a ritual step from boyhood to adulthood, including visiting brothel just after your selection.

    Many cultures had, or still have, those rituals about entering adulthood, but today in western societies, there is nothing clear cut.

    And for gay men, it's even less clear, as we don't have that 'marrying and founding a family' social recognition about being an adult. But even that is no longer something you do just out of teenage years.
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    Feb 02, 2013 4:28 AM GMT
    Going to a bar and getting your first legal drink....
    Going to vote for the first time.
    Registering for the draft
    Renting a car in your own name
    going to college
    joining a fraternity
    the first time you go to the Dr by yourself, no parents
    getting your drivers permit
    your own apartment
    your own car
    being called MISTER or SIR
    the birth of your children
    filing your first income tax return
    etc...icon_eek.gificon_lol.gif
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    Feb 02, 2013 4:38 AM GMT
    Adulthood came when I was 15. My parents moved to NYC to pursue their careers while I stayed in South Carolina with my older sister. I learned how to be independent at that point and it made the transition from high school to college much easier. I knew many people at the university I attended who had a hard time coping with being away from home and gaining independence. I can't imagine how hard it must've been for them.
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    Feb 02, 2013 4:46 AM GMT
    minox saidMY generation was the last in France to have the mandatory one year military period, at 18 or a bit later for students.

    For a very long time, it served as a ritual step from boyhood to adulthood, including visiting brothel just after your selection.

    Many cultures had, or still have, those rituals about entering adulthood, but today in western societies, there is nothing clear cut.

    And for gay men, it's even less clear, as we don't have that 'marrying and founding a family' social recognition about being an adult. But even that is no longer something you do just out of teenage years.


    I hear that it was relatively recent that france ended mandatory participation.
    And yeah, youre right, even the last bastions of ritual that serve straights is dissolving. These things come in cycles, im not despairing the lack of a clearer path. But i wouldnt be shocked if soon, the pendulum swung the pther way, and we find that these now outmoded rites of passage become more and more standard again. Just because they fill a voiid.
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    Feb 02, 2013 4:59 AM GMT
    Being hairy as a freshmen in high school and everyone thinking I'm a senior while being affraid to talk to me, or going to me as if I was the one who knew all the answers. Uh... getting a car my 2nd year in highschool... Uh dealing with a disfunctional home life, then moving out on my own with other people. Getting a job as young as possible with a work permit. So basically all that meshed together. But some how through it all I never stopped watching cartoons. icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 02, 2013 5:01 AM GMT
    I have many first for being an adult!
    - first time I had a high school party (parents let me)
    - first time I called the cops because another high school showed up (same day bonus!)
    - first interview
    - first time voting
    - going away for university
    - coming out to my family
    - bringing home my first bf
    - breaking up with my first bf
    - first internship 500km from anyone I know and learning to pay bills and savings
    - paid off my first new car after 3 years
    - first performance review

    Everytime I do something for the first time I feel I'm more of an adult. My condo will be completed in March. Organizing a mortgage, setting up lawyers, choosing finishes, and buying new furniture that doesn't look like a university student's dorm room. Once I do this I feel like I'm really an adult.
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    Feb 02, 2013 5:13 AM GMT
    My adulthood is a mixture of tragedy & happiness...

    I went abroad(China) to study, I'm 17 at that time...I've lived there alone...
    It taught me how to behave...how to live...how to enjoy.....learned about people's behavior & psychology in general...Why people do what they do!...learned a lot !

    some are sweet & some are bitter experiences icon_confused.gif!
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Feb 02, 2013 5:47 AM GMT
    Adulthood????? That's just a damn illusion people try to personify.
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    Feb 02, 2013 6:00 AM GMT
    I ran away at the age of 20 and has been independent ever since. It was a rough initiation to adulthood for me.
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    Feb 02, 2013 6:50 AM GMT
    HottJoe said... like when people start calling you sir, ...


    And, you have to ask them if that's spelled "sir" or "cur".
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    Feb 02, 2013 9:35 AM GMT
    Afterwards saidHave any of you gone through experiences that you felt initiated you into adulthood. Im not talking about sex.
    I think most men miss out on a kind of initiation into manhood, that has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with independance and adventure. So, for a lot of guys, especially generations before my own, it was a military experience. Or it might have been other ways of serving your country, such as park service, or peace corps, etc. It might have been a particularly remote or difficult study abroad experience. I think it really could have come at any age, even though I am talking about the beginning of adulthood--at least in our own society, where we have no particular adulthood rituals (and the few meager rituals we do have, have historically been denied to gays, eg first girlfriend, marriage, etc.)

    I want to know about the kinds of things you went through, and Im fishing for ideas for my own life.


    My first thought was breakups with former lovers... but to be even more specific it was my behaviors AFTER the breakups that brought me growth. Talk therapy, journaling, meditation. I've always tried to seek answers to WHY those relationships ended. What did I do wrong, and what did I choose wrong in the other person.

    Also, Greek Life and other initiation rituals from my college years. The Man Kind Project is one organization that any man is free to join.

    The death of my grandfather

    Most recently my decision to leave graduate school.

  • wild_sky360

    Posts: 1492

    Feb 02, 2013 11:12 AM GMT
    Getting my own apartment in the heart of Chicago was a defining moment at 19.

    I wasn't quite ready for it, but home life was chaotic and it was a good decision. I wasn't even old enough to enjoy all the local nightlife surrounding me, but I still walked the streets at night to take it all in.

    Also, getting over the initial loneliness of living alone among a million strangers was a significant turning point that none of my friends experienced until many years later.