Being an Adult is Hard; Being a Grown-up is Harder

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comBack in 2013 when we were dealing with my mother’s end-of-life issues, Kim said, “Aren’t the grown-ups supposed to handle this?”

I’m not sure I ever heard anything that rang more true.

We had been adults for a long time. But the circumstances surrounding that difficult situation were merely some of many experiences that added to our continual evolution into grown-ups.

Adult is just a legal term. It happens automatically when we turn 18. Being a grown-up, however, is much more figurative. It’s an upshot of life experiences and heart-wrenching decisions combined with a changing perspective on the way we see the world in general. It happens to everyone.

The term “adulting’ gets a lot of attention these days. In fact, I wrote about it a few months ago. Adulting is the term young adults use when they are forced to start doing adult things like paying the electric bill and remembering to change the AC filter.

Just yesterday, though, it was brought to my attention again how being an adult and being a grown-up are two different things when one of my few remaining relatives in my parents’ generation passed away.

The adults in the family know they have to attend the funeral. The grown-ups will ponder their own mortality during it.

Being an adult means going to funerals. Being a grown-up means being a pallbearer.

Being an adult means wanting to have kids. Being a grown-up means wishing they could stay kids forever.

Being an adult means getting off your parents’ health insurance. Being a grown-up means checking the news five or six times a day to make sure you still have health insurance.

Being an adult means learning to appreciate fried okra. Being a grown-up means learning how to fry it.

Being an adult means getting a mortgage. Being a grown-up means hoping you won’t have to get a reverse mortgage.

Being an adult means getting your own pet. Being a grown-up means making a real tough phone call to your child at college.

Being an adult means finding a life partner. Being a grown-up means praying you’ll pass first, while feeling guilty for really hoping you’ll pass together.

Being an adult means never having to ask permission. Being a grown-up means knowing if you have to ask, you probably don’t have any business doing it in the first place.

Being an adult means loving to hear new music. Being a grown-up means being glad you can still hear anything.

Being an adult means appreciating reading as a hobby. Being a grown-up means appreciating reading glasses.

Not all of these apply to me, by the way. I can still hear perfectly fine; and everyone knows blurry is the new 20-20.

Being an adult means wishing you played in a community basketball league. Being a grown-up means wishing the game on TV started earlier than 9 p.m.

Being an adult means getting a haircut. Being a grown-up means clipping hair from the strangest of places.

Being an adult means pulling a muscle while exercising. Being a grown-up means pulling a muscle getting in the bed.

Being an adult means bragging about the great deal you got on your car. Being a grown-up means bragging about the gas mileage it gets.

Being an adult means buying trick-or-treat candy. Being a grown-up means buying your favorite trick-or-treat candy and hoping it rains on Halloween.

Being an adult is hard. Being a grown-up is harder

At least grown-ups get better candy sometimes.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:


  1. Donna Newlin says:

    Love It!

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