We all recall Tom Hanks’ character in movie ‘Big’, who wished he was a grown up only for an end of pier machine to grant that very wish and see the Hollywood icon turn into a fully-fledged adult literally overnight.
But for many of the generation which grew up (or rather, didn’t) with Big, the opposite is more the case. In as much as when asked at what age they truly felt they’d grown up they admitted it was far later into adult life than you might have otherwise imagined.
That’s according to UK life insurance policy provider, Beagle Street which surveyed some 2,000 people over the age of 18 to determine precisely what momentous event ushered in their adulthood, age aside.
And it turned out that 29 years is the average age when us Brits actually believe we’ve reached the level of maturity that would historically mark us out as, well, responsible grown-ups. And therein lies the clue as to what events potentially trigger this admission. Namely the acknowledgement and more pertinently, unavoidable nature of responsibilities.
Being handed the front door keys to your first home, becoming a parent and tying the matrimonial knot were reported as amongst the key signs which those polled agreed identified a turning point in time and subsequently saw the advent of bona fide adulthood in their minds.
Elsewhere starting to financially contribute to a pension plan, setting up a joint bank account and (most importantly from our perspective) taking out a life insurance policy also figured highly in this instance.
Marriage, Mortgages, Joint Bank Accounts and Arranging Life Insurance Are Found to Be Predominant Triggers of Adulthood, Rather Than the Observing of an Age
When asked what elements contributed to them (and arguably NOT feeling like they’d made the natural transition from child-to-teenager-to-adult) a number of understandable examples were routinely offered.
These included living at home with parents longer than they’d perhaps initially anticipated, trepidation about settling for what the respondents perceived to be ‘real jobs’ and accepted careers, still enjoying kids’ movies and playing computer games.
Picking up on the aspect of young adults not flying the family nest as soon as previous generations before them have (due mainly to economic circumstances), a University of Kent sociology lecturer, Dr Frank Furedi suggested that the upshot of this was what he referred to as a ‘knock-on effect’ in relation to how old and grown-up people actually perceive themselves to be. Which the academic pointed out (whilst in conversation with www.independent.co.uk) underlines that the old adage about an age being merely a number is factually given legs.
Continuing to address the research provided by the life insurer, Furedi went on to note that; “The research shows that what people really believe constitutes being an ‘adult’ are actually significant life events that give them adult responsibilities.
Up until that point, regardless of their actual age, they are still perceived adolescents.” Coupled with these conventional rites of passage events, he also cites the proliferation of the now ubiquitous comic book-based superhero films, nostalgia towards 90s popular culture and emojification of conversation as further evidence that adults of a certain (later life) age are currently taking a deal of unprecedented interest and pleasure in things aimed at more specifically at children.