After my past post on entitlement, where I discussed my childhood, and where I am at on my life path, I mentioned seeing my parents as cohesive, “easy” adults.

I always sort of expected that this sort of inner and outer respect would magically manifest itself as surely as my voice would drop.

tumblr_llzi52p66g1qd8gl4Yet here I am in my thirties, and it’s still a struggle.

I think a core issue rests in not having a clearly defined sense of self, and trying to exist within social norms. Now, further problems can be found within these norms, as not only do they shift, but rarely do they provide enough flexibility and space for alternative unique and individual roles.

What I’m referring to is the social cliques or stereotypes.. Whether it’s the hipster or the nerd, the business man or the athlete.. There’s a certain collection of brands that each is expected to embrace, and by doing so, fit in with similar groups.

Gone seems to be the nuclear man.. as in the center of the 50’s nuclear family. While I’m happy to see a departure from this chauvinistic, emotionally barren, strong jawed husband and father, I do somewhat wistfully appreciate the structure that he was born into. The sort of “entitlement and hierarchy” he was given the proverbial keys to once he became 18 years of age  ( not to mention the amazing jazz he has access to – but I digress)

While I have no problems seeing the immediate sort of responsibilities and burdens this immediately transferred (the bad with the good), this did do an excellent job of teaching through hardship. There’s so little structure in today’s western society that it forces us to create our own boundaries, guidelines within which we operate.

That’s not intrinsically bad so long as we have been instilled with the tools in order to do so. Those who have grown up lost have so many avenues of support to lean on that it can become difficult to know not only how to stand on ones own two feet, but whether we even possess a set of legs to begin with!

I get that there’s plenty of argument on the other side, that flexibility and support give us “room to breathe” to “find out what our true passion is in life” I actually hope this this post generates a bit of discussion, because it’s an issue I plan on spending a few entries discussing..

I have decided to record a few guest discussions from men I respect, to get their perspectives on how they perceived adulthood versus what they experienced as they actually reached an age and were thrust into it. I might also include some women as well, but at the moment I am focusing on men because I find it more directly applicable to my own identity.

Here’s the accompanying vlog that inspired the interviews.


6 thoughts on “Adulthood

  1. I’m a little confused by your post. I know this is about adulthood, but I can’t help but sense an underlying theme of lamenting the death of traditional, structured family and gender roles, and the loss of male privilege. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

    • I think there was some underlying comfort in those traditional roles because of the separation between the genders. Again, I was quick to add, and will reiterate again, that there was plenty of things wrong with that dynamic as well. The undercurrent is very much there, because I experience a blurring in the lines between genders. This causes confusion down to a biological level when it comes to traditional vs modern day development

      • As confusing as it may be, I definitely believe breaking down that structure and finding your own path to be more rewarding, and in doing so thankfully creates more opportunities for the other half of the population. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Nobody should be handed the keys to the kingdom when they reach a certain age.

      • Again, this isn’t supposed to necessarily be about gender, nor is it about me/men in general being handed any immediate access. Those were the portions of the argument that I didn’t necessarily agree with. What I was commenting on is that the dissolution of strong role models that are gender neutral are few and far between, while those that continue to uphold the dated stereotypes are still very much front and center. As both boys and girls grow up, they do so in a world that is very different to the one that the majority of their role models seem to live in. Then they must go through an additional adjustment period as they come to grips with these changes.
        If more popularity existed for these gender neutrals, then it would definitely foster a much healthier set of expectations.

  2. It’s not even about gender neutral role models. The balance of active role models has always been heavily on the male side. Politics, math, science, technology, art. Even most professional chefs are men. Unlike me, most people do identify with one box more than the other, so breaking down these rules and having a more diverse representation is good. This adjustment period is just a consequence of the dissolution. It’s ok to follow a traditional path, but it is limiting to both boys and girls.

    I did a small study in school on advertising to children, and it’s disheartening to see just how consumerism creates markets by encouraging this strict gender division.

  3. Pingback: The Demise of Guys | humblepie: technology and meditation

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