Facebook is so awash in shared quotes and clever little sayings attached to graphics, ranging from heartwarmingly New Age to hipster snarky, that few make an impression beyond the time it takes to read them. Still, every now and then you’ll hit one that sticks; for me, it was one of those faux 1950s greeting cards with the slogan “Pretending to be a functional adult is so exhausting.”

I laughed, but it got me thinking: What exactly is a “functional adult”? These days it’s hard to say. The middle-class professional who just saw his pension raided and his mortgage foreclosed? The thrice-married step-mom on mood-disorder medication? The NEET liberal-arts major who’s still living in his parents’ basement five years after graduating? We flail in the waters of change, sans stability.

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