When does childhood end? Is there a specific predetermined age? Or is there a vague defining moment in life when the essence of childhood is lost forever?
I think one hallmark of reaching adulthood is coming to a stage in life when problems genuinely don’t go away by themselves, you can’t pass on your own worries to others, and you have to make your own decisions by yourself. It dawns on you that you’re on your own. You have one life and very little control over it. The problems of childhood pale in comparison: a child has elders that can be turned to for guidance and comfort. A child is not out there alone, facing the true nature of the world.
In addition to children and adults, there is a third category of people– quasi-adults. These people look like adults, but they’ve never quite grown up. Due to serious developmental deficiencies they expect an omniscient, omnipotent being to listen to and answer their prayers whenever they face problems in their lives. They can’t deal with their flawed impermanence. They can’t accept that as they cling to wreckage in the whirlwind of their lives, help is not on the way from some celestial chopper.