Aussie Life

Language

21 May 2022

9:00 AM

21 May 2022

9:00 AM

We all know ‘adult’ the noun, and we know what an ‘adult’ is (‘because,’ as a friend said to me, ‘we are one!’). But the idea of ‘adulting’ the verb – and what the action of ‘adulting’ is – I haven’t come across until now. (Yes, I know – you’re way ahead of me here.) The Oxford English Dictionary says that ‘adulting’ is ‘To become, be, or behave as an adult; (now) esp. to carry out the mundane or everyday tasks that are a necessary part of adult life’.

In other words, taking responsibility for yourself, and behaving like a responsible, independent being. It’s recorded from as early as 1909. And for most of us who’ve been around for a while the business of ‘adulting’ is not a problem – it was something we looked forward to when we were young, and were happy to take on more and more with the years.

But I am told there is a younger generation (who are they? Gen X? Gen Z? Gen some other letter of the alphabet?) who are reluctant to do much in the way of ‘adulting’ and generally avoid it. Here is a line from Twitter quoted by the Oxford: ‘I bought a new bed, a new mattress, and a new desk. Can I stop adulting and play video games for the rest of the weekend?’ This (I suppose) is (at least partly) what lies behind the ‘full nest’ syndrome when adult children snuggle in with Mum and Dad declining to set up house on their own. And it does suggest a competition: the challenge is to compile a list of those politicians who need to learn how to ‘adult’. No, on second thoughts, the list would be too long… too many trees would die.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Contact Kel at ozwords.com.au

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