Photos.com"Sorry, dude, can't help you. I'm on my way to a bigass party."
For instance, the most mature guy at my last job was 16-years old. He went to work because his mom was morbidly obese to the point that she couldn't work. She collected disability, which wasn't enough to support her family, so the kid picked up the slack. Each week, he would sign his check over to his mom, who would deposit 100 percent of it in the bank. He never saw a dime, and that was fine with him, because he was helping out his family.
Compare that to the other guys there, many in their 30s, who would spend half of their check on mods for their car stereos, and whatever was left over on their three children. Instead of school clothes for the kids, they'd replace the back seats with giant subwoofers. I'd watch these guys scream at their girlfriends for bringing their lunch late -- the lunches that those guys could have made themselves and brought to work with them. They might have married those girls by now, and now those guys have a new mother. They are 35-year-old kids.
Photos.com"Yeah, let's see a kid handle this much BASS!"
I mentioned my years spent crashing on friends' couches earlier, people taking me in because they knew my only other option was living on the street. Do you think I ever thought about how much work they had to do to provide me with a place to stay? Or how wrong it was that as an able-bodied man, I wasn't the one providing a sofa for somebody else in need? Or that I was always taking instead of giving? No, because that's how an adult thinks. And I wasn't one.
You know you're an adult, not just when you're able to put the needs of others above your own, but when you're able to do it without giving a single thought to what they "owe" you in return. You realize that, at some point you weren't even aware of, you became the tap instead of the bucket. And then you look back and hate your younger self for living under the delusion that somehow a world full of buckets could function.
It sounds obvious to the point of being insulting, and it is ... to an adult. So, as with everything on this list, the answer is that when it happens, you'll know. Give or take a decade or two.
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