Children and Adults

You’re no longer a child when you start wondering if you are.

At first, I thought that the secret of adulthood was knowing how much violence, especially sexual violence, exists in the world. I thought that this truth was known to all adults but scrupulously hidden from children. I’ve changed my mind not only because children learn about violence early on — from fairy tales, from history, and sometimes from their own experience — but also because I think there is more to being an adult than knowing the world is a violent place. Because they have greater self-awareness, adults inherit a duty to pursue their better self. It’s probably silly to suppose there is some essence of adulthood, but I think that having a clear picture of the world and pursuing one’s self-development are part of being mature.

While I was in my last relationship, I thought that you could accurately think of peoples’ lives as a series of relationships. I thought that knowing if someone was in a relationship, and knowing how it’s going, could tell you a lot about that person. I still think this is true, and I still think that healthy relationships are important for everyone. However, I foresee a day – say, several years into a continuously happy marriage – when what matters is not so much one’s relationship
(that is a bedrock, a foundation, by that time), but helping others: helping family, caring for parents, and standing by one’s friends.

I’m sure these thoughts will evolve in the future.

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