START // My Everyday // Adulthood //
Angela Fritzen, photographed by Britt Schilling


When are you an adult?
What defines being an adult?
And what defines being an adult for someone with Down syndrome?

After all, one day youth is over. What defines being an adult?
Julian Göpel finds:

„Well, one is employed, too.“

Marc Lohmann knows that growing up happens faster than expected.
He writes:

„Because the time passes.
Pretty quickly.
And then at some point you also become much older than younger.“

Andrea Halder writes:

„From about 20 you are a grown-up.
Grown-ups have more experiences.
They can teach children and adolescents something and be a good example.
They often have more patience and are more responsible and recognise their boundaries better.“

Johanna von Schönfeld recognises an adult in this way:

„Well finally regarding the adults: They do look older and bigger and like they've had more life experience, however.“

Another important aspect in her mind is someone’s decision to have children or not.
She writes:

„People are grown up with 20 and fully grown up with 21; when they - no matter how - could become, be allowed to be parents.
People can decide themselves.
Or not to, too.“

Judith Klier likes it, being an adult.
She writes:

„Adulthood isn't easy but it’s very nice.
At 35, one is an adult.
You get something from that, what you have in life: an apartment, and a small family – that’s part of becoming an adult.
If you want to be an adult, that you feel like that, sometimes, it is how it is needed in daily life."

T.K. describes the changes that come with the beginning of adulthood.
She writes:

„When you are of age, 18 years old, you have different rights.
You can drink alcohol and buy it.
And also drugs, you can buy some drugs and then also use them somehow.
You can decide for yourself.
But sometimes it can be hard to decide something.
You even have the right to vote.
You can also vote for the nation, and participate."

Sometimes just by looking at someone with Down syndrome, you can't tell how old that person is.
They look younger than they actually are.
Even as adults.

Julia Bertmann writes:

"How I feel.
I don't feel old.
And you can't tell that I am 35 years old.
People tell me, you can't see that.
One example: I go to the supermarket and do some shopping.
First I go to the meat counter and get sliced meat.
The shop assistant says "Would you like a slice of sausage?"
As if talking to a child.

And then I say: 'No thank you.
And you may address me like an adult.'
She is confused and she apologises.

Then I buy bread.
The shop assistant asks, what kind of bread would you like?
She also addresses me, as if talking to a child.
I roll my eyes and say the sentence again 'You may address me like an adult.'
The shop assistant says 'Pardon me. I didn't know that'

When I went to the same supermarket the next time, the same thing happened again.
Then I said: 'I would like to speak to the manager.'"

Verena Elisabeth Turin appreciates it a lot, to be an adult. But she also knows there can be downsides.
She writes:

„Being an adult is not sogreatfor me. You get more household duties."

Tobias Wolf writes:

„The adults then have a job.
The old people go into retirement someday.“