Since my 18th birthday is coming up I began thinking about all the things that I will be able to do on my own, and also the things that I will be forced to wait to do even though I will be an “adult.” This leads me to the question when are you an adult in society? Why are 18 year old’s adults legally but not socially?
So here comes the age-old argument about being able to join the military and put my life on the line for my country and not being able to consume or purchase alcohol. We’ve all heard that one before, it’s an old argument so I won’t be wasting my time telling you what you already know. Instead, I will tell you some things that may be surprising that you are not old enough to do in adulthood.
Recently, I was surprised to find out that in the state of New Hampshire you must be 21 years old to purchase fireworks. What? You can buy a rifle but not fireworks? That’s insane — back to the military. You can launch missiles in a war but not launch some fireworks for a back yard BBQ?
The FAFSA requires parental income information until you’re 24 years old. So what about kids that aren’t getting any support from their parents? Kids that took a gap year and live on their own? Apparently you’re not old enough to be considered a separate entity from your parents financially even if you don’t live with them until the age of 24.
Society gives you the right to vote for the leader of our country, your state, representatives etc. at the age of 18. So, you’re old enough to decide who runs the country but not old enough make healthy decisions about alcohol? That’s just swell, isn’t it?
You can’t rent a car until you’re 25. That sucks! What if you’re 22 years old working two jobs and your car breaks down? Living on your own, supporting yourself maybe trying to save for college? Maybe you even have a child. But no, no rental car for you. Apparently being an adult is null when it comes to renting.
You must be 25 years old and have a valid license to supervise someone learning how to drive in the state of NH. That sucks. Maybe your mom works 60 hours a week and has no time to teach your sister how to drive. Oh well, you’re not adult enough to help out.
You must be 22 years old to receive silicone breast implants. Okay? So you’re old enough to modify your body via tattoo, piercing, and saline breast implants but silicone is off-limits? Not to mention at 22 you can now drink alcohol too. I guess you’re body just isn’t ready for silicone boobs.
All of these potentially useful or interesting things that you can’t do but heck, you can be sued, join the military, be kicked out of your parent’s house, and any crime you commit won’t be sealed in a juvenile record. Wow, if you look at it that way you really are an adult!
I guess I’m just a little bit unclear on adulthood. I can be a legal adult at 18, but still, society doesn’t trust me with certain things until I’m even older. With so much legal responsibility thrown on you at 18, you would think that society would give you all the good benefits that an actual adult has.
If 18 year old’s are legal adults in all sense of the law then they should be given the same benefits of other adults and not just all the adult responsibilities. If society thinks we should be slowly transitioned into receiving all these privileges, then maybe they should transition us into the world of legal adulthood as well.