Adulthood Continues to be Redefined

August 6, 2012 | Sarah

There was a piece in The New York Times this weekend that once again heralds the life of the pre-adult man. Titled “A Confederacy of Bachelors,” the article follows four men who are nearing their 40th birthday, yet still live together in the ultimate man-cave nicknamed “Fortress Astoria.”

The article accurately captures the pre-adult described in Kay Hymowitz’s book Manning Up (that was a NeW Online Book Club book not long ago), a reluctant attitude to growing up, having responsibilities and making decisions that are beneficial for the person and those who rely on him/her. For example, the article describes a state-of-the-art kitchen the men have, with modern cookware, fancy knives and unique spices. Yet typically the men eat take out pizza on paper plates. The lead picture of the article shows each man in his bedroom. Three out of four prominently display comic book-related paraphernalia.

Photo from the New York Times

The article doesn’t really cover anything that hasn’t been discussed multiple times before in the past few years. None of these men can or want to buy into the notions of adulthood. Others who have commented on the article do not see anything wrong with their decisions.

I tend to disagree. On the one hand, I can see the appeal of these men’s lifestyle. I currently live in New York City, and can admit that the lifestyle of minimum decision and impact seems fun. Every day I see people putting all their time and effort in their pet projects, be it an installation or a film or a website or an Instagram photo-sharing website. However, when I read this paragraph:

“Our definition of adulthood and what we want to get out of life are different from many people’s,” said Mr. Theerakulstit, who narrates audiobooks among other odd jobs to pay the rent. He then quickly struck a ninja pose in his completed costume for the “G.I. Joe” character Snake Eyes. “How do I look?”

I cringe. At some point, we have to grow up. We have to take responsibility for our actions and world. We can still be creative and seek to redefine ourselves, but in a more age-appropriate manner. Being an adult does not mean that we have to become boring. But it does mean that we understand our actions should reflect our position in life.

Have you read this article (or one of the many articles like it that are out there)? What are your thoughts?

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