I well remember equating adulthood with the tender age of eighteen. Back then (way, way, way back then), I was under the mistaken impression that hitting that milestone birthday made me an instant adult. Unbeknownst to me, that utterly silly and untrue belief revealed a youthful naiveté that branded me a child. Pleading declarations of adulthood ("You can't tell me what to do! I'm eighteen!") didn't fly in my parents' home, and years later (many, many, many years later), they don't fly in mine.
And here's why.
There are dishes in my sink, and snow in my driveway.
It's that simple. There are dishes in my sink, and snow in my driveway. Adults don't need to be reminded a million times that it is their responsibility to wash any dish, utensil, or cup they use. And an adult knows that anything Mother Nature dumps in the driveway needs to be dealt with before the car can go anywhere. (Check out that symbolism!)
Okay. Admittedly, there's more to it than that. But it's the small things, those little responsibilities freely accepted, that make the bigger things life throws at you (the bills, the rent, the insurance, the tragedies, the joys) easier to handle. Nobody skirts around responsibility. What you don't deal with today will be staring you in the face tomorrow. Responsibility, not pleading declarations or milestone birthdays, declares adulthood.
Abraham Lincoln once said: "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
Translation: Do the dishes. Shovel the driveway. Today.