Just because I’ve been living in the same place for over a year doesn’t actually mean that I know what I’m doing. I often put on a pretty good appearance but the truth is that some days I just sit there and think, “How did I get here?” Life has sort of seemed to just have happened.
I’m twenty-nine, recently fully employed, as a pastor no less, and I’ve been married for 6-years. But the question of whether I actually qualify as an adult is an almost ever present question. For that matter, it feels like I’m part of an entire generation for whom the definition of adulthood has completely changed. Needless to say that’s creating some interesting anxieties.
Great art has the ability to capture a feeling or an idea that you didn’t even know that you had or could articulate. In the last year I’ve discovered a couple of movies that have really captured some of my feelings in this regard. The first one is a movie called “Away We Go”. It’s a movie starring Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski. Their characters Burt and Verona find themselves pregnant somewhat unexpectedly. They also find themselves completely untethered to any particular location and proceed to go on a road trip to decide where they want to live. They’re trying to decide where they want to make their home, not just where they want to live. What’s refreshing is that the main couple are relatively normal, functional human beings. Everyone else is crazy, but they’re normal. The way that my wife put it is that things aren’t perfect because they’re together, but they’re better.
The core question, or struggle, of this movie is the struggle to figure out what it means to be an adult. It’s a process of identity formation. Or more generally it’s about claiming your live as your own, including all of the stuff that’s in it. There’s a scene where they’re sitting together and veronica asks if they are screw-ups. (It’s partly in the trailer, check it out.) At this point in my life, that sentiment resonates with me perfectly. I’m right at that point where work and family and home are all mediated by a level of uncertainty of identity.
Perhaps because it’s because I’m at a point of transition in my life. Maybe it’s because I’m coming to terms with being a stable, married, gainfully employed human being. But this movie really spoke to me. I’d definitely check it out, but be forewarned, it is a move for adults. Not obscene, but with plenty of adult language and things that just don’t appeal to kids. Nevertheless, if you want to understand the world of emerging adults, this is a great window into that world.