It’s quite recent. For a year, maybe. But something has changed.

Milo Brunelle feels like an adult. Well, as much as you can be at 21, when you don’t have a mortgage or kids yet. “I guess I’m on level 1,” he says, seated on the terrace of a busy café.

First Observation: Milo has changed since he was last seen. He shaved off his long golden hair, an inch longer, maybe two. “I have grown up!” he says when we point it out to him.

Our first meeting dates back to the summer of 2021. At 18, Milo became the youngest stand owner in the history of the Jean-Talon market. He who had only completed his tax return once, had without hesitation taken over Les Pops, the popsicle business of his father, who had succumbed to brain cancer the same year.

When the idea for this coming-of-age series was born, his name was the first that came to mind, his resilience already testifying to an uncommon wisdom. Two years later, here he is sitting before us again to answer a question as innocent as it is loaded with meaning. When do you become an adult?

A universal experience, the stormy transition to adult life has inspired a literary and cinematic genre with its followers and even its classics: The Breakfast Club, Dead Poets Society, Juno, Lady Bird… However, the answer will inevitably vary depending on the interlocutor.

While civil majority is established at 18 in most countries, science estimates that the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain related to decision-making and judgment, develops until age 25 or even later.

Across cultures, ceremonies which mark the entry into adulthood are frequent: the bar mitzvah in the Jewish religion, the quinceañera in the Latin-Hispanic world… But it has been a long time since the rites which once separated the adolescent of adulthood in Western society – marriage, welcoming a first child – no longer reflect the reality of young people.

So when do you become an adult? After a short pause, Milo attempts a definition.

Interesting. The reverse is also true. Isn’t it the nature of youth to be invested in a perpetual quest for identity? To be young is to find your place. In the past year, Milo has found his. She’s not at university. At least not now.

Now his place is at the helm of the artisanal popsicle business founded by his father 15 years before he died. “Having found what I want to do later, it’s like a part of me can calm down. I keep working hard, but at least I know I’m doing something I love that will take me somewhere where I can live well and be happy,” he said.

In a way, Milo grew up out of necessity. Less than a year after his father died, his best friend ended his life. He could have resented the whole world, sinking into anger, resentment… “My process of grieving was to accept it with gratitude. I had such a good relationship with my dad. I have no regrets. I’m glad he was there at all. Still to this day, I feel luckier than people who still have their fathers,” he says.

Milo shows us his bracelet, his pants, his bag. They all belonged to his father. “I carry it within me,” he says.

And by the way, to take this decisive step, perhaps the most important of a lifetime, that of leaving adolescence.

How is he taming his new role as an adult? Essentially, he remains the same person, only with “more finesse” – and more control. On his life, his future too. “One of my biggest fears is getting old. It was a really present feeling when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. But in the last year, I’m really more at peace with the passage of time. I’m more excited about what’s to come,” Milo said.

Like him, young people from Generation Z are slowly entering their twenties. A lot of things are said about their cohort unable to answer their cell phones, and often more negative than positive.

What kind of adults will they become? “Nowadays, it’s especially difficult to be an adult,” says Milo. Everyone fights for our dopamine, and our dopamine is what allows us to motivate ourselves, to realize our projects, to make the right decisions. »

Milo notices it around him. Social networks make people more amorphous, more passive. However, being an adult means assuming your responsibilities, putting in the necessary effort. “Coping with life, what. »

To hear him speak, Milo is an adult. Much more than you would expect to be at 21.