So I'm lying in bed with my reading lamp at my shoulder, and I'm distracted from my reading by seeing silhouetted on the wall a frankly ridiculous profusion of my chest hairs, thinking, I'm totally a man these days.
But I don't feel much like one. I lay awake at night - every night - with the oppressive feeling that the day is over and I have not been a part of it. The past two years or so have found me, for various reasons, mostly in a state of general indolence, but when I was occupied with work or study, this feeling got far far worse, which doesn't really seem to make sense, but probably because I, like most people, am looking at it the wrong way round.
As much as cleaning the house and selling fast food and wrestling with bureaucracy are important, and as much as I don't do these things enough and would like to, they are not traditionally the things that fill you with self-determined, grown-up manly (or womanly) pride. They are, actually, the minor humiliations you have to and can go through, for the sake of the actual benefits adulthood brings with it.
Most instances of my feeling like an adult, like my own man, like a part of the world, have had to do with writing entries much like this one. Which isn't what immediately springs to mind when you think of responsible, involved and productive community-aware grown-upness. How people are actually affected by my behaviour has little to do with this feeling - that's a moral consideration - all my drive for adultness is about is having my voice heard.
Specifically, feeling like something should be done and therefore doing it. Motivated by the emotion. Writing entries, saving dolphins, jumping off buildings, killing nuns, getting an earring, learning belly-dancing, eating ice cream - anything so long as you're doing it less because it's sensible than because you're into it. Done in spite and by virtue of your being a responsible adult in charge of his own destiny. There's no point in being a functioning member of society if you don't get to do stupid shit just because you want to. Eventually philosophers will realise this is the apex civilisation has always been striving towards. I have a vague idea that Nietzsche already did.
Stupid shit is only a part of this, of course. While the world does need to hear your stupid statements about things, it also needs to hear your intelligent ones. If I think - no, feel - that Israel should open up its gates to asylum seekers and take care of them, I don't need to have figured out how to deal with the ensuing economic burden or stop the migration from becoming a massive influx before I express my opinion - sorry; feelings - on the matter. They need to hear I'm against it even before they hear why they should be too. In this case it's not even so much for the sake of the refugees as it is for my own basic dignity and sense of existence.
If my emotions have no clout with my behaviour, I have no clout with anything.