Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
When Does "Adulthood" Begin? | 3.31.24

When Does "Adulthood" Begin? | 3.31.24

Will I Find My Age? - The Sunday Edition

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Very clearly not acting my advanced age, St. Andrews, Scotland.

We were in Westport, Ireland, and I was really, really sick. I’m not sure what the illness was, but it hit me like a freight train and I was some stalled truck on the tracks, I don’t even think it tapped the brakes, I don’t think it even saw me sitting there, headlights powered off and me frantically trying to start it up again. After a few days of just absolute physical decimation and headaches that kept me up the entire night, I finally started to rise through the fog of it all and was able to join Sarah for some food, and it was there, in some pub restaurant sitting by a window, that I asked Sarah a question that she immediately laughed at, but it’s a question I’d wanted to ask a thousand times before, only never did. I asked her,

“Do you ever look out, when we’re on these far-away trips, and wonder if people are watching us and thinking ‘where are their parents?! How are they here alone?’

She responded with an immediate and emphatic No, that she had never once had that thought, and that I was probably way, way too old to be having it myself. Still, I thought to myself, and think it now, I keep wondering that, everywhere I go, everything I do, and I think now I understand why.

I still feel like a kid, if I’m honest, and I don’t think I ever stopped feeling that way.

I mean it when I say this, and I don’t speak these words in some form of hyperbole or comedic inflation, I offer them up because they are the only true words I know to say of this, and I say them because I am hopeful that someone, somewhere, just might agree.

Share this with someone who DOES agree?!


We travel, a lot, a fact you well know by now, and as such Lady G and I are constantly thrust into locations and situations that are both extremely foreign to us, and often extremely far away from home. It should also be said that I grew up with an extremely peripatetic lifestyle due to my father’s job in professional baseball. We moved, a lot, and I spent every single summer until I was 17 years old living somewhere new, knowing no one save my sisters and my folks, and whilst there in that strange new city or town, I would keep traveling with my Dad’s teams, riding in the backs of cheap chartered busses all across the small towns that only minor league baseball could find suitable enough soil for their rookie talents to take root, to blossom eventually if they were lucky.

Knowing this, one would imagine that I am at an unfair advantage for feeling quite at home when not being, in fact, quite at home, and in some ways I suppose you’d be right. Knowing this, however for me, instead makes me almost think it’s because of this childhood, that I still to this very day feel like a child when I am doing what are otherwise very adult things. I always feel like I am probably too young to be sitting in the driver’s seat of a tiny rental car after 26 hours of straight travel, on the opposite side of the road, and then trusted to just simply drive off. Where are my parents? Who is monitoring this situation? Is the onus entirely on Sarah to make sure we actually equipped or mature enough to be doing what it is we’re doing? And yet, we keep doing it, keep turning up in weird places, a rickety cafe table outside Shakespeare’s birthplace, some clifftop in a rainstorm on the far northern coast of the Isle of Skye, a rainforest chasing directly after the insanely spooky roars of howler monkeys, only minutes away from sunset.

We turn up, we pretend we’re old enough to do these things, and as Sarah keeps reminding me, WE ARE old enough, as there are two teenagers living with us that she did, in fact, birth. Still, I say, Still, I don’t think so.

All this got me wondering, and this wondering turned into a shout into the void, as it so often does, leaving me on the shoreline, hoping for an answer that isn’t just my own voice echoed back. What I want to know, from you, from the universe that just constantly expands and makes me feel even smaller than I already do (perhaps this is the true culprit, it’s the universe’s endless expansion that makes me feel always childlike, that’s it!), from whomever is an expert in aging or the maturation of our thought processes or whatever such nonsense could explain it, what I want answered is simple:

Is there a line we cross where we become adults, and actually feel like grownups, or am I fated to always feel like a teenager sent out wandering?

I have heard rumblings, from those who are older than I am and who, to me, seem so much more adult, that this line might in fact exist, and it might just be a tragic one that we’re never ready to cross but must, all the same. The loss of a parent, say most, or worse, the loss of your final surviving parent. This is then, say many, the moment you realize you are the adult generation, the eldest in the line you belong to. Others tell me it’s when you have kids of your own, and perhaps this is why Sarah feels like one, and I do not. Perhaps it’d be different if I raised kids from birth, felt the weight of that responsibility in a more pointed way that being a step-dad doesn’t afford? I do not know this answer, and I am lucky enough to still have both my parents alive, so I cannot answer to the first point either. As such, I stay here, wandering in this place where I do not feel the age I am told I am, I do not feel like I have crossed that line.

Perhaps we can answer this question together, perhaps we can crowd source a definitive solution to the problem. IS there a line we cross? Will we see it, know it to be one and understand that something foundational has shifted? Will we find our age, and feel it when we do? Maybe you know better than I, maybe you who are above me in age, maybe you who’ve experienced things I do not, maybe it’s just a wisdom thing and some of you are wiser than I could ever hope to be. I know not, I just hope someone can answer it.

For now, and for the foreseeable future, I’ll always look over my shoulder when ordering at a restaurant, when boarding a long-haul flight, when sitting in that rental car, or turning up to check into a hotel 5,000 miles away from home, and wonder who is looking at me with incredulous eyes thinking the same thought, WHERE ARE HIS PARENTS?!

I don’t see this shifting, and perhaps this is the primordial soup inside myself from which all the art I ever create is born. This strange feeling of disconnect from the years I know I’ve been here, to the way I feel inside, the cells that will split and regenerate and morph and evolve and crawl out of that soup before finding their legs, haunching over, slowly standing erect, and eventually running off again to some far off place, far away from the things of man.


Will I see the line,

know it when I cross over?

Will I find my age?

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.