What exactly makes someone an accidental adult? It’s largely a matter of resistance. For most well-adjusted people, growing up isn’t an unwelcome surprise. Many accept the inevitability of adulthood and embrace it. They resign themselves to lives of responsibility, serious endeavors and a sensible wardrobe. They check their smoke alarm batteries twice a year. They know what kind of gas mileage their cars get. Some can even name their city councilperson.
But some of us join the world of adults kicking and screaming. Yes, technically we are adults. But more importantly, we are reluctant grownups who refuse to accept we’re just like every other chump with credit card debt and an aching lower back. When we look in the mirror, the person we see staring back is decades younger and way cooler. We may spend an hour researching the best place to meet for a happy hour—you know, someplace not too noisy, with adequate restroom facilities, convenient parking and a menu that accommodates our newly acquired shellfish allergy or gluten intolerance. But the point is, we still go, while many other adults hurry home to finish that drop ceiling in the new rec room. Are they conscientious? Absolutely. Fun? You tell me.
So what is the opposite of an accidental adult? An assimilated adult is one who embraces the responsibilities of adulthood without fearing the inevitable loss of a joyous, youthful soul. These are the adults who understand what society expects of them and do the right things the right way. They know how to get a better interest rate on their credit cards. They understand the proper ratio of comprehensive versus collision coverage on their auto insurance. They know what they pay in property taxes (every year). But don’t let their numbers fool you. Every day I see evidence of other accidental adults like me—people my age who are capable, working professionals who don’t feel confident handling jumper cables and who can’t taste the difference between a cabernet or a Chianti. People like you. And the best part is we simply don’t care. Especially when ignoring a few cultural standards and embracing our inner smart-ass can be tons more fun.