Although I like the fluidity of the English language and how it allows us to easily turn any word into a verb. I love how doing so causes absolutely no issues in translation and turning any noun into an action can be immediately understood by whomever we are talking to.

However, there’s a word of this type which has been incredibly popular in recent years that I simply struggle with.


I know you’re familiar with it, and even if you’re not, you probably have a pretty good grasp of what it means when someone says, “I’m adulting today.”

I’ve long not been able to fully comprehend why I dislike this word so much, so I figured I would finally sit back and take a moment to really understand my own qualms with this particular denominalization. And I think my real issue with is it simply with how often it is used as a complaint.

The most common utilization of this word has got to be along the lines of, ‘I can’t adult today!’ And it’s used to complain about needing to do laundry or having to pay bills or some other lame task that responsible people have to do. And I think I dislike this usage mostly because it sounds far more like what I’d hear my kids say when they are given a chore than they are about anything which relates specifically to being an adult.

And look, I’m not saying I don’t have similar issues with ‘adulting’. I often look at the pile of things I need to get done in a given day, throw up my hands, and say ‘F that BS!’ before deciding that video games would be a far more appropriate use of my time. Between school, work, parenting, and trying to convince people to read my books, I simply don’t have the mental bandwidth some days to anything more than stare at a blank wall (or a phone screen) when it comes time to make dinner.

There are far too many times I simply can’t ‘adult’.

I know that a part of my issue is the popularization of complaining. Although I complain plenty (this article being a great example of it), I really hate it. It’s probably partially that being an old man causes me to cringe whenever I hear the kids today whining about having to call someone to make appointments, even though I whine about the exact same thing. Maybe it’s the drama of it all.

But I think even more than that, it’s the guilt associated with this concept. When I choose to not do something, I don’t want to feel like I’m in trouble, I, instead, like to think of it as a terrible prank I’m pulling on future-Adam.

Something about this whole ‘adulting’ concept feels so weak, like we, as adults, aren’t allowed to decide that today isn’t a day for responsibility. Like, this very concept of “I can’t ‘adult’ today” feels like something that isn’t a very adult thing to say. It sounds like a kid, collapsing on the floor dramatically because they don’t want to have to go to the grocery store with the parents. Which, I guess, in a lot of ways, does showcase that you’re not adulting at the moment.

But as adults, haven’t we finally gained the empowerment to choose to not do the responsible thing at any given moment in time and just give ourselves some me time? When we were kids we had all the free time in the world and not being willing to do that one chore was bratty. As an adult, we spend so much of our time being responsible that to decide we’re done with all of that shouldn’t have to be something we feel guilty about.

I think my biggest issue is, in fact, that we’re appropriating adulting as an action incorrectly. It should be, instead, that we’re adulting when we’re choosing to leave our laundry spread out all over the floor for weeks on end, because who the heck is going to tell us we can’t?

That’s right, I’m adulting. I’m taking the power I have as a grown man to decide that I’m not going to call the restaurant to make my order and am, instead, going to pay the premium to order online because I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone today.

Adulting should be a lot more powerful.

And it’s not. When we use it today, it feels so darned weak. And I’m tired of feeling weak. So, instead, when I’m ‘adulting’, I’m going to think of it more as pulling out my Adult Card to say that I have every right to choose not to take out the garbage right now. Sure, future-Adam is going to be really pissed when the garbage man doesn’t take the garbage away in the morning, but I’m adulting and deciding its his problem and not mine.


Published by Adam Oster, Adventure Novelist

Husband, Father, Creator/Destroyer of Worlds

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