Am I an Adult Now?

Growing up is a process, not an event.

Ultimately, we should be focused more on becoming Christlike than on earning some self-assumed right or on shying away from added responsibility.

Photo by Ben White

As I progress through my last semester of college, applying for jobs with benefits and considering apartments with dishwashers in far away cities, I often find myself wondering: Am I ready to be an adult?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to take this most-anticipated next step, but the prospect of taking off the proverbial training wheels that college provides frightens me. Basically, becoming a real adult seems hard, and I wonder if I’m ready for it.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton addressed the prospect of becoming an adult in an April 1987 general conference address entitled “I Am an Adult Now.” He says, “I am not quite sure who has the right or responsibility to declare someone an adult, but I am quite certain that often the least qualified to make the declaration would be the individual himself. If a person is mature, he or she will not need to announce it. Personal conduct is the only true measurement of maturity.”

Elder Ashton describes cringing when a teenage girl who was arguing with her parents repeatedly cried, “I am an adult now.” For many of us (including my younger self), it may be tempting to declare, “I am an adult now” when we have reached a certain age, moved away from home, received an academic degree, become married, or earned a certain amount of money. However, I, and perhaps many others, am now asking myself the opposite: Can I possibly be an adult now?

Elder Ashton also warns against depreciating ourselves: “Self-judgment in any direction is a hazardous pastime. It is a fact of life that the direction in which we are moving is more important than where we are. . . . Let God and our daily actions determine the authenticity of the statement ‘I am an adult now.’” Ultimately, we should be focused more on becoming Christlike than on trying to achieve total independence or on shying away from the pressure of added responsibility. Let us simply be the best we can be.

Get the rest of Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s counsel by reading “I Am an Adult Now.”

Source: LDS General Conference

—Kevin Zalewski, Mormon Insights

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Find more insights

Check out “Self-Reliance and Gospel Learning,” by David B. Marsh, to learn about the importance of spiritual self-reliance.

Read Shelby Gardner’s “Smoothing Our Transitions, Maximizing Growth” for four tips on how to adjust to major life changes.

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