I’m taking a bit of a detour with this post and try to be a little more humorous than usual. Since I’ve been house bound because of a winter storm for a couple days I got to do some thinking. One of the random thoughts that popped in my head is ‘being an adult beats being a kid.’ Sure I may have had more energy at sixteen than I do at thirty six, but I really didn’t know anything as a teenager. And ignorance coupled with boundless energy can lead to dangerous and stupid things happening. After five years of college, a few years of working, almost thirteen years of living on my own, writing a blog for almost four years, and spending five years now with educational videos on youtube university and binge reading wikipedia, I have come to the conclusion that even now I am not as smart as I thought I was at age eighteen.
I enjoy being an adult. I really do. I love the fact that if a boss is riding my case at work or my coworkers are being dolts, I always have the option of changing jobs or starting my own business. I couldn’t transfer to another school in high school so easily to avoid bullies and immature classmates. I love the fact that I don’t have to go to boring social events because my parents want me to.
As an adult I don’t have to feel guilty about not having legions of fair weather friends. At the age of thirty six I have come to realize a few true hard core friends and some cool extended family is all a person really needs. I don’t have to feel guilty about not being class president or not getting straight A’s. It’s not like I made any money from my popularity or my academic achievements any way. Even on youtube popular producers can make good money, not so in school. I also didn’t like how joyless my high school settings were. A bell rings and we move to change classes but don’t you dare be one second late. I never did like being treated like one of Pavlov’s dogs as a kid. Take abuse and scorn from bullies and classmates but don’t fight back because of zero tolerance laws? At least in the adult world you can run away from an argument or try to plead self defense without losing your entire future.
And I am not intimidated by the fact that as an adult my successes or failures are on me and no one else. I have a mental illness, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to make a decent life regardless. I’m not married nor do I have kids but that doesn’t stop me from being a good influence and good uncle to my nephews and niece. I don’t even have to feel shame for not being married or having kids as an adult. I don’t have a job but that isn’t going to keep me from writing blogs and finding other ways to contribute to my fellow man even if I don’t get money or prestige from it. I don’t have to associate with people who tell me that I’m not a “real man” for not having a job or a family if I don’t want to. Shame and guilt have far less influence on me at thirty six than they did at twenty one. As an adult I am allowed to be more creative and I don’t have many of the restrictions I had as a child. As an adult I don’t have to hit my older brother if he’s irritating me, I just don’t return his calls or avoid him until things calm down. One of the best things that happened to my relationship with my immediate family was moving out of my parents’ house and setting out on my own. We get on each other’s nerves less now than we did when I was a teenager now that I have my own place and I’m not expected to always be in a good mood. If I’m not feeling well, I can just avoid friends and family for a couple days until things blow over.
One thing I enjoy as an adult is watching young people do stupid things. I enjoy it more than when I was the young fool doing stupid things. I know the consequences that are coming but the kids usually don’t have a clue. And I get to chuckle when their schemes come undone. But the young kids eventually become adults and grow out of their stupidity in spite the complaints of old people about the “damn kids.” The boomer generation grew out of using drugs and free love, generation X grew out of binging on MTV and video games, and the millennials will grow out of their nonsense. People forget that before the World War II generation became forever known as the “greatest generation”, many of them were drinking bootlegged alcohol in speakeasies and chasing flapper girls throughout Prohibition before World War II carved them into marble men and women for all eternity. But in spite of my enjoyment of watching young people do stupid things, I don’t hate them for their mistakes. I refuse to complain about young people because my elders complained about how stupid and ungrateful me and my classmates were the entire time I was growing up. I am never doing that to anyone. I know what it is like to be thrown into a group and falsely accused of things I never considered doing. It really sucks. If I ever complain about young people as an old man, I hope someone knocks some sense into me.
I never understood the whole “how do I adult” mentality. Who cares how you adult? It’s not like there’s a teacher who’s going to hold you back if you don’t know how to get red wine stains out of a carpet or how to change a tire. With seven and a half billion people in the world and the magic of the internet, I can ask around for any information I could possibly imagine. Why in the heck should I clutter my mind with mundane information I can easily look up that I may need to know only once or twice in my life? One of my house guests doesn’t like that I don’t decorate my house all nice, then don’t come visit me in my house. We’ll meet at a restaurant or pub instead. You don’t like that I don’t drive fast or sometimes keep fast food trash in my car, no one is holding a gun to your head to make you ride in my car. There is public transit and taxis even in my small town. How do you adult, you may ask. Dude, adult however you dang well please for all I care. I don’t grade on style points. And ironically, most adults are too busy with their own lives to knit pick you over yours.
In short, I really do think most adults worry about a lot of junk that doesn’t matter one bit. Your neighbor has a sports car and you don’t? So what? He’s probably having a mid life crisis and up to his eye brows in debt because he listening to everyone else telling him what he should want out of life and not listening to himself. You got passed over at work for a promotion? Big deal. You know you’re not going to spend the extra money for your retirement fund. You’re worried about being overweight? No problem. One third of the entire world’s population is overweight. Obesity is no longer just an American problem. Besides you probably weren’t that good looking at age twenty any way.
I should wrap this up. In summary I love being an adult. As long as I’m not infringing on the rights of other people, I can pretty much think, say, and write whatever I want. I no longer have a parent or a nanny teacher hanging over my shoulder watching me for every little mistake I make. In short, make mistakes. Learn from mistakes. Go crazy and enjoy the freedoms and responsibility of being a grown up. I for one enjoy being in my thirties far more than I did my teens and twenties. At least now I don’t feel like I have to please a lot of people.