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Being an adult, feeling like a teen: is it normal?

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ThriceCharming Where's the beef? from Texas Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Where's the beef?
Dec 2nd 2016 at 9:19:34 PM

Hey, guys, I'm having some concerns about myself, so I thought I'd come to my Troper brethren for advice.

I'm 26 years old, but I still feel like I'm in my junior year of high school. I feel like I haven't matured emotionally since my late teens. It used to be that I felt pretty comfortable in my skin, but now it feels like every morning I look in the mirror and expect to see a teenager.

If I think back to the person I was even four or five years ago, I realize I've matured a lot when it comes to things like being professional, taking responsibility, and fostering healthy relationships. But I also still get excited about childish nonsense like toys and video games, and I feel like that isn't normal. I feel like I'm developmentally stunted. I also gravitate towards youth-oriented media (current obsessions: Homestuck, Danganronpa, Persona 4, Kill la Kill) and indulge in childlike daydreams about them.

I used to do that all the time when I was a kid. I'd spend hours fantasizing about meeting/befriending the characters from my favorite media, and having epic adventures. But that hasn't gone away as I've gotten older. I still enjoy it, but it's starting to make me feel self-conscious and even vaguely dirty. (I hasten to point out that these are childlike fantasies, as in, completely nonsexual. They're the exact same things I thought about when I was thirteen. But I feel dirty anyway.) Is this something I should be concerned about? Is it a problem? This is far and away the thing that bothers me the most.

I've talked to other people my age and many of them feel the same way, but that isn't very comforting to me. I want to feel like a normal person and feel comfortable, emotionally, but the rational side of me says that sick people are sick people, even if there's a lot of us. What do you guys think? Am I right to be concerned? Do I need to see a shrink? Or is it legitimately harmless and normal? Your advice is appreciated.

Check out The Ultimate Reprise, an Ōban Star-Racers podcast by me and my friends!
Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Dec 3rd 2016 at 8:19:47 AM

I'd say everybody has that. Some a bit more than others: but, ask any 50-year-old and they'll gladly tell you the 16-year-old-inside still often kicks them to the side and takes the helm at unexpected moments. Or, for whole weeks.

Or, it's the 21-year-old. Or, the inner-12. Either/or/all.

Alternatively, look at it this way — kids are people, too. And, adults are just older people. You just have more practice at pretending you know what you're doing and hiding the irresponsible stuff as you get older, but it's still a big, difficult-to-ignore part of everybody. Because people. wink

I guess the big, dirty secret about being an adult is that very few of us can manage to be one 24/7. [lol]

edited 3rd Dec '16 8:28:26 AM by Euodiachloris

TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Dec 3rd 2016 at 8:42:28 AM

Euo more or less speaks what is on my mind. So what? You enjoy kids shows nothing to worry about.

Lots of adults do as some of them are actually pretty entertaining. My father in his mid 50's, college grad, retired cold war warrior type, and full on grumpy old guy likes Rick and Morty. A show with a target audience of late teens and 20 something's.

I liked Avatar the Last Airbender and the Fist season of Kora. My wife and I both like several of the animated flicks. My wife has multiple degrees and a full time job. I served in the US Marine Corps and have a 9 year career and 12 year long relationship. Enjoying that material doesn't make me, my wife, you, or really anyone else less of adult. I am willing to bet money how you consume, view, and internalize the various materials is filtered through your experience and world view to date and even your mood. A child usually has a different take on all of that.

I know some pretty serious adults who like watching shows like Sponge Bob because it makes them laugh and have a little sponge bob figurine on their desk but have been working here for the better part of a decade.

If you are like most adults your age I am betting you like the look of the toys from franchise you like and at most might be a brief boredom killer but other wise spend time on a shelf being something you like to have and look at.

The only time you should really worry is if you find yourself truly behaving like a child. So far you haven't mentioned anything that makes that seem like the case. You even admit you enjoy material aimed at younger audiences and have the wherewithal to realize that is what the target audience is.

People even adults indulge in some fantasy even from media they consume on a regular basis. As far as I am aware that is normal. You also clearly understand the responsibilities of an adult like a need for professionalism and responsibility and the value of good relationships.

I think you are fine.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
KaikoMikkusu Waiting for the Captain mahjong match of the Sak from Palermo, Italy Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Waiting for the Captain mahjong match of the Sak
Dec 5th 2016 at 5:07:05 AM

It's pretty much normal. I'm a 20 year old woman, and I'm also completely fandom trash as well as being aroace to the point I don't menstruate.

http://www.ncls.it/g/
ThriceCharming Where's the beef? from Texas Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Where's the beef?
Dec 5th 2016 at 6:59:39 PM

[up] Uh, I'm pretty ignorant of Lady Stuff, but isn't that last part a cause for concern? Not that it's any of my business, but I think you should see a doctor about it.

Thanks for the encouragement, though. You all made me feel much better. I guess that as long as I'm a reasonably well-adjusted adult, socially and professionally, there's no harm in having a few childlike feelings and interests.

I am going back to college next month, though. I think I need a second degree to broaden my career prospects, which aren't so hot right now. It's a little demoralizing to be in the latter half of my twenties and still be in school, but I also know I'm not alone.

Check out The Ultimate Reprise, an Ōban Star-Racers podcast by me and my friends!
NotSoBadassLongcoat The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24 from People's Democratic Republic of Badassia Relationship Status: Puppy love
The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24
Dec 17th 2016 at 3:35:38 PM

Hey, I'm 33, a sword I ordered is supposed to finally arrive on Monday (or Tuesday), and I'm planning to buy a medieval doublet and hood for photo ops.

Not to mention the fact that I spent half a day today playing Transport Fever (if you ever played Transport Tycoon, it's something like that, just indie and released this year).

"We were somewhere around Wonderland, on the edge of the chessboard, when the cookies began to take hold." - William Radar Storm
Draghinazzo My love, has dressed me like a clown Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
My love, has dressed me like a clown
Dec 25th 2016 at 2:21:42 AM

[up][up] I'm 23 years old and I don't have a degree yet myself, so I'm probably worse off than you in that regard since I have very little job experience in spite of that.

I sort of have to echo what the other people in the thread have said. I mean, if you stop to think about it all the creators of the things you get excited about are adults older than you, and they're so passionate about them that they actually MAKE them for a living. It's nothing to be ashamed about. I'm the exact same way myself, including the daydreams.

Furthermore it's not like your interests necessarily correlate to your maturity level to begin with. A lot of people interested in adult, "normal" things are super immature and vapid. What makes you an adult is your ability to be responsible and your ability to act maturely and judiciously.

I relate to the title of your thread but for entirely different reasons.

edited 25th Dec '16 2:32:26 AM by Draghinazzo

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine. ...not really though.
TParadox Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Dec 29th 2016 at 3:49:11 PM

I graduated college and moved back in with my parents to spend three years working part time in big-box retail. I did not feel like a college graduate. I felt like I was living the life I should've been living in high school.

I moved across the country to pursue a career with an even more informal internship than the one I took in college. I supported myself by working 60 hours a week delivering pizza. I felt like I was living the life I should've lived in college.

Now I work 40 hours delivering auto parts, and that informal internship has turned into occasional paid freelance jobs, and stands to become a part time steady job. I'm almost 30 and I'm only just on the cusp of where I feel like I should have been when I graduated.

Fresh-eyed movie blog
Bur Chaotic Neutral from Flyover Country Relationship Status: Not war
Jan 1st 2017 at 5:38:20 PM

I'm 33, and I'm so full of adulthood that I'm studying for my CPA. Taxes, regulations, and financial statements! Oh my!

...while a Miku figurine sits on my desk cheering me on and a half-bee half-octopus plushie sits on my lap, and my 3DS is charging off to the side, a file with a half-written fanfic sits open, in my Star Wars pajamas...

I think so long as you are taking care of you (or so long as you are taking care of you and your dependents), and you (and yours) are happy, who cares?

I know I'm "stunted" in some ways, but a lot of that is because I don't want the life my friends who go off and build families want. If I don't have that, I'm not going to develop the sort of thought patterns that life encourages. I don't have to sacrifice my wants for someone else's needs, and I think that's part of it? I have the time to get gleefully stupid over things I like, and the spare money to spend on them. Those parts of me that consume culture, literature, and popular entertainment grow while the interpersonal relationship parts of me outside of work stagnate more because they don't get exercised.

i. hear. a. sound.
NotSoBadassLongcoat The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24 from People's Democratic Republic of Badassia Relationship Status: Puppy love
The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24
Jan 2nd 2017 at 6:38:21 AM

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

"We were somewhere around Wonderland, on the edge of the chessboard, when the cookies began to take hold." - William Radar Storm
GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Formerly G.G.
Aug 21st 2017 at 6:16:14 AM

Bump.

I really feel like a confused teenager despite nearing thirty and I still don't what I want to do but I know want to do a lot of things. I really wish that I stayed in school if only to get a general degree so that I have something but I have nothing. I should went to MIT and become a doctor......I am an idiot. I have no idea what to do with my life.

"The original slime is always the best one."
CodyTheHeadlessBoy The Great One from Parts Unknown Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
The Great One
Sep 22nd 2017 at 2:55:39 PM

I'm like that too. I'm in my thirties. I still play video games, watch pro wrestling, work on cars, and build models. I also still listen to a lot of the same music I listened to as a teenager but I also like some newer stuff too. For example I started liking Ghost BC after seeing them opening for Iron Maiden back in June. I basically never really grew up but I don't feel like I'm missing much. My girlfriend's pretty much the same way. We also don't really want to have kids. It's not that we hate kids, we love our nephews very much. It's just we don't really see ourselves as parents. We're not really interested in most so called adult stuff.

edited 22nd Sep '17 2:57:15 PM by CodyTheHeadlessBoy

"If everybody is thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking"- George S. Patton
ThriceCharming Where's the beef? from Texas Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
Where's the beef?
Feb 18th 2018 at 10:15:28 PM

I turned twenty-eight today. I realize that's still young, but I feel completely used up.

Check out The Ultimate Reprise, an Ōban Star-Racers podcast by me and my friends!
BlueNinja0 The Mod with the Migraine from Taking a left at Albuquerque Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The Mod with the Migraine
Feb 19th 2018 at 7:19:28 PM

I'm 33, a sword I ordered is supposed to finally arrive on Monday (or Tuesday),
Are you still around? Did the sword arrive?
I really wish that I stayed in school if only to get a general degree so that I have something but I have nothing.
It's never too late to start.

I'm 37. Some days I feel like I'm still 16, some days I feel like I'm 60. Usually when I have the flu.

Thatís the epitome of privilege right there, not considering armed nazis a threat to your life. - Silasw
NotSoBadassLongcoat The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24 from People's Democratic Republic of Badassia Relationship Status: Puppy love
The Showrunner of Dzwiedz 24
Feb 28th 2018 at 9:49:56 AM

[up] Yep, alive and kicking. And I got the sword.

"We were somewhere around Wonderland, on the edge of the chessboard, when the cookies began to take hold." - William Radar Storm
GAP Formerly G.G. from Who Knows? Relationship Status: Hugging my pillow
Briankelly130 Just Plain Cute from Ireland
Just Plain Cute
Mar 15th 2018 at 9:23:50 AM

I think part of the issue is that we're starting to fight back against that Boomer/Gen X mentality of once you're over 25, you have to start acting like an adult which means you can no longer openly enjoy anything that's considered "for kids" and you essentially have to sacrifice the idea of having fun for the idea of being mature. Like there's a reason that phrase "Aren't you getting a little too old for that?" is not only going away but is starting to be made fun of.

I mean I'm 28 and one show I'm really invested in from a story point of view is Star Vs. The Forces of Evil and before that was Gravity Falls so yeah, I don't think there's a problem with it and I think it's becoming more of a normalized thing.

Disclaimer: If anyone disagrees with anything I say, I am quite prepared to not only retract it, but also to deny under oath I ever said it.
TuefelHundenIV Watchman of the Apocalypse from Wandering Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Watchman of the Apocalypse
Mar 28th 2018 at 7:12:19 PM

It also helps that increasingly even kids material is including more and more material adults would find humorous or entertaining. That and the animation age ghetto is slowly dying off.

"Who watches the watchmen?"
Euodiachloris Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
Mar 29th 2018 at 9:48:37 AM

[up][up]I'm Gen X. You have my permission to remind my peers that they keep pushing Watership Down on the kiddies because their parents did it to them. If there's anything more childish than giving your kids and grandkids the scare you got, I don't know what is. winktongue

Seriously though, I still enjoy some cartoons. Anybody who tries to tell me that Gravity Falls or Steven Universe aren't for me and I shouldn't even be into Bojack because not my age group can go jump. I likes what I likes. And, that includes Deadpool.

Heck, I look back on some Looney Tunes shorts these days and shake my head. My humour has changed — and my attitudes, too. Thank goodness. I can't believe I didn't realise how racist, ableist and raunchy some of those jokes I giggled at were. -_-'

edited 29th Mar '18 9:50:54 AM by Euodiachloris

BlueNinja0 The Mod with the Migraine from Taking a left at Albuquerque Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The Mod with the Migraine
Mar 29th 2018 at 2:13:31 PM

[up] Hey now, there's nothing wrong with raunchy jokes! tongue

Thatís the epitome of privilege right there, not considering armed nazis a threat to your life. - Silasw
Briankelly130 Just Plain Cute from Ireland
Just Plain Cute
Apr 3rd 2018 at 11:47:18 AM

[up][up] I would love to see the face of a parent who decides to let their kids watch Bojack Horseman simply because it's animated. In fact, I think if the likes of Rick & Morty show anything, it's that adults can be amazingly childish when they want to be, I mean all you have to do is say "Pickle Rick" and some people will mentally shudder.

Disclaimer: If anyone disagrees with anything I say, I am quite prepared to not only retract it, but also to deny under oath I ever said it.
FGHIK Mr. Speaker from right behind you Relationship Status: Halfway to Pon Farr
Mr. Speaker
Apr 21st 2018 at 9:31:28 PM

Damn, I can relate to the OP. I still tend to get so into whatever cool new show or game I'm enjoying that I imagine meeting the characters. But I don't think being childish is really a bad thing, so long as it's not so extreme it's interfering with your life. And more and more people seem to be fitting into the "immature" category in one way or another, so I don't think it's that abnormal either.

edited 21st Apr '18 9:31:55 PM by FGHIK

I missed the part where that's my problem.
Apr 22nd 2018 at 5:30:48 AM

As other people have explained, I think that's totally normal. What also helped was that, in my opinion, internet also plays a role in this as it allows you to bask in your favorite hobbies with ease. Back in the day it was extremely hard to find something you like as a kid after growing up because the show wasn't broadcasted anymore, because you had to find a physical copy and you had to lie saying it was for your kid, your nephew or anything else, because when everybody's talking about marriage, kids, carreer, taxes and other stuff, you'd get weird looks if you started a conversation with "so Transformers... Fun stuff, uh ?"... But internet made all of that easily available and, even more importantly, it allowed us to realize that there a fuckton of people in the world who still enjoy the same things than when they were a kid but had to hide it in their everyday life.

It can be a bit tricky, though. I have a job with responsabilities in a school and I have to manage several people, so if I want to keep some sort of authority, I can't go around screaming "so who's up for some Overwatch ?".

edited 22nd Apr '18 5:31:32 AM by purplefishman

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