In my quest to better understand you humans and more accurately emulate your behavior, I have come across one question that has long stumped me.
What separates a child from an adult?
It’s a more difficult question than it sounds. My original data seemed to indicate two distinct groups: kids and adults; and telling them apart was easy. An unexplainable transformation clearly took place at some point, turning kids into adults by turning them big and boring and making them care more about work than play. The exact process was a mystery, of course, but the logic was sound and founded on empirical evidence.
But as I grew older and collected more data, I began to question even these basic conclusions. Was adulthood more of a sliding scale rather than a distinct category? How strange — but it seemed to be the case. After all, there was something called a teenager — which appeared to exist between the two extremes — and as I fast approached this stage, I realized it did not fit neatly into my previous dichotomic system.
If adulthood then was a scale, what determined where you fell on this scale? This is the question that has confounded me, but I believe I may have encountered the answer.
Referencing my outdated beliefs for a moment, could the determining factor simply be bigness? Size? No — there is a psychological component for certain, and the prevailing sentiment appears to be that maturity is a state of mind. In that case, it must be boringness. No — that doesn’t fit either; from my current (arguably) grown-up perspective, I can tell that many adults are in fact not boring. Even I am only mostly boring.
What about that third trait I observed in adults way back then? — preference for work over play. Could work be the factor in determining adulthood? Odd, but perhaps true.
Indulge me for a moment:
It’s been a very gradual change — but a change nonetheless — over many years. I’ve seen my enjoyment of long gaming sessions decreased while my enjoyment of work has increased. I don’t understand this transition myself, but I can’t deny it’s taking place. In my younger days I was able to pull off five-, six-, seven-hour gaming sessions without a hitch. Nowadays, unless I’m playing something I plan to write about on this blog, I almost feel guilty playing games. I spend most of the time thinking, “I could be doing something so much more productive right now.”
Now in the middle of my spring break, after weeks of almost constant work, the change is even more pronounced. My first instinct was to sit down and play something. But I almost had to force myself, and when I did, a voice in my head kept saying, “Hey, don’t you think we should be writing? What are you wasting your time stalking through Pripyat again for? I have this really good idea. Come on, let’s go write something. You know you want to.”
And I really did. So I have to ask: is that what it’s like to be an adult?
Then again… liking to do work might have something to do with the fact that I am secretly a robot.