Adulting is now a ‘thing’:

Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.

Used in a sentence: Jane is adulting quite well today as she is on time for work promptly at 8am and appears well groomed

On social media, I’m seeing many references to ‘adulting’, and unlike the article above I have more optimistic take on the trend. IMHO, the neologism has less to do with immaturity and more to do with a change in mindset in response to difficult economic and social times, as a way of subtlety protesting how ‘being an adult’ or ‘fulfilling the traditional roles and responsibilities of an adult’ are becoming obsoleted in our ‘new economy’ and the ‘new era‘ of post-2008 society. ‘Anti-adulting’ could also be seen a way of rebelling against the conformity of politically correct norms, where ‘adult social skills’ and taking special care to not ‘offend people’ is more important than the pursuit of truth.

With the rise of MGTOW, millennials living with their parents longer, the rise of individualism, minimalism, and personal finance culture, many millennials are perhaps realizing that the ‘old rules’ of being an ‘adult’ don’t apply, due to the changing economy and other factors. Rather than starting families, which can be expensive and time-consuming, millennials would rather live with their parents and use the saved money to later become self-sufficient, getting rich by trading stocks, Bitcoin, buying a home, or learning high-paying skills like coding and physics, instead of making the landlord rich month after month to no end. Why waste time with relationships that go nowhere, ending in alimony and child support. Why get an unfulfilling, low-paying job that will likely not exist in a couple years. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on a worthless degree, with nothing but debt and bleak job prospects to show for it.

Millennials value authenticity and individualism, preferring endeavors that, perhaps, may not pay as much as being a cooperate cog but may be more enriching, allowing more personal freedom as the quote by Steve Pavlina (not a millennial) on why he doesn’t have a ‘regular job’, illustrates:

I maintain a flexible and self-reliant lifestyle centered on exploring personal growth. I haven’t had a job since 1992; being a corporate slave doesn’t interest me. I define my own objectives, choose my own projects, and work for the joy of working.

Going your own way, rejecting ‘adult conformity’, means no more office politics and vapid small talk.


Boomers had four decades of post-WW2 prosperity serendipitously dropped on their lap, which they frittered with excess consumerism, with millennials fighting for the scraps of what is left in our increasingly competitive, winner-take-all economy. Boomers never had to compete with computers for jobs, had to contend with an economy so hellbent on productivity and efficiency, with a culture and economy that rewards quantifiable results and individualism over family and community, more than ever. The post-2008 economy is like an ‘Ayn Rand world’ in overdrive. Being an ‘adult’ means trying to emulate an economic and social ideal that no longer exists, as well as being a slave to political correctness or a corporate machine, and it’s understandable why millennials have turned sour of the concept, instead embracing the ‘Randian’ ideal of individualism over obsoleted collectivist ideals of family and community, because it’s the best way to adapt.