Why I Love Being An Adult

Talked to my landlady this morning. Got my paperwork signed that will allow me to stay for at least another year. And she was actually apologetic about the wait on the paper work. First time in my entire life someone in a place of power actually apologized to me. When I was in my twenties and thirties, most bosses and landlords acted like they were doing me a favor by letting me work a job and not be homeless. It’s amazing how much things change once you have a little money and some gray in your beard. Things like this make me glad I’m no longer young. I’m starting to understand why some people say life beings at 40.

I admit I don’t miss my twenties and thirties. Sure I miss the physical health and ability to just do things with friends at the drop of a hat. But I certainly don’t miss the disrespect, slights, and elders complaining about me being one of those “damn kids.” Breaks my heart that I see people my age complaining about the young now. It’s like, they were complaining about us the same way back in the 1990s. We weren’t the “triggered snowflakes”, but we were “slackers.” Hell, kids today binge drink less, have less sex, and do fewer drugs than the kids back in the 90s did (at least according to statistics). Rates of violent crime were going down for decades, at least until covid hit. Makes me wonder what Gen Y and Gen Z will say about their kids twenty years from now. Maybe cyborgs and full immersion virtual reality will be the social media of the 2040s.

I do enjoy being middle age. Sure I miss the mobility, but I also enjoy the new found respect. I’m still not used to people in places of power taking me serious though. Most of the time I went to doctors in my twenties and thirties, most of my problems were blamed on my weight. One doctor blamed even my schizophrenia on my weight. I’m glad I fired him.

That’s another thing I glad I’m getting to finally experience in middle age. People like landlords, doctors, nurses, maintenance men, service workers, delivery guys, now act like their relationship with me is a two way street. When I was in my twenties, I was regarded as a nuissance at best by all of these. I still remember walking into stores in the mall as a teen and twenty something and getting followed around by the manager thinking I was going to steal something. Happened quite often. I still remember doctors and landlords treating me like I was an idiot and they were doing me a favor just by letting me into their offices. Now that I’m in my forties, it’s like we now have the two way relationship. I’m almost never regarded as an inconvinence or stupid. I never want to be young again. Screw that.

I also love how I can now say things that I know to be true and be considered wise and smart. When I was in my teens and twenties, I was just regarded as having an attitude problem especially when I was right. I was saying the same things at age 13 that I am at age 41. Yet now I am considered wise. I guess gray hair, chronic knee pain, and a little extra money make all the difference in the world. I just hope I never forget the struggles it took to get here. I hope I never pull the same crap on kids that was pulled on me.

Nostalgia: It Ain’t What It Used To Be

Been spending most of my time alone the last several days.  And I’m actually quite happy with this arrangement.  And why not?  Most of my friends are going through the mid life crisis deals as my friends are in the mid thirties to early forties range.  I have a college friend who was diagnosed with cancer several months ago who’s only a year or two older than I am.  Most of my friends are struggling with debts and dead end careers, so they are constantly on edge about money.  I’ve had friends suffer through divorces.  I have a cousin whose son was diagnosed on the autism scale last year.  My best friend from my teenage years lost her mother to cancer two years ago.  Even in myself I don’t have as much get up and go as I did even three years ago.  But I am in my late 30s.  I’ll be 40 next summer yet I don’t dread it.  I don’t dread aging as much as most of my friends.  Most people think I’m weird  or lying when I say I actually look forward to being a wise elder.  I’m not lying or weird.  I’m just ahead of the curve and no longer fearing the inevitable.

I admit I don’t have much nostalgia.  I don’t long for the “good ol’ days” because, well, the good old days kinda sucked in many ways.  When exactly were the good old days?  Was it back in the 1990s when President Clinton was screwing his interns, computers occupied entire desks instead of fitting in shirt pockets, and the music of Tupac and Marilyn Manson were going to be the death of Western Civilization?  Was it back in the 1950s when using the n word was okay but Lucille Ball couldn’t say pregnant on network television and the threat of nuclear war was real?  “Better dead than red” people said back in those days.  And people were worried about the corrupting influence of rock and roll music.  Or was it in the Old West when boom towns like Dodge City and Tombstone were far more violent and lawless than any modern slum, women couldn’t vote, and bounty hunters got paid for Native American scalps?  Or was it in the Stone Age when everyone ate fresh and natural food, drank clean water, breathed unpolluted air, had no laws, no villages, half of children died before adulthood, and writing didn’t exist.  Even the 2010s will be considered the good old days in twenty years by nostalgic fools.  Nostalgia is a desert mirage.  It is imagined.  It isn’t real.  I haven’t fallen victim to nostalgia even though I’m on the door step of 40.  Hopefully I never fall victim to nostalgia.

I definitely never want to be one of these bitter and angry old men who complain about the kids.  Let’s get some thing real clear: every generation of “lousy kids” was supposed to be the death of civilization.  And it never happened.  If anything, most generations built upon what previous generations did and left science and humanitarian efforts further along than when they started.  I have zero patience for people who complain about young people.  Elders were complaining about how stupid and incompetent my classmates and myself were even when were in grade school in the 1980s.  I have never forgotten how hurtful and unfair that was.  I never will.  And for that reason I will never pull that kind of crap on people younger than me.  And it burns me to see people my age complaining about the kids coming up now.  The kids are not more unruly or weaker now than in the past.  The only thing kids have ever been guilty of is making old codgers realize that they will someday become irrelevant, they will someday die, and they will someday be forgotten.  Kids make old people uncomfortable because kids make elders confront their own hypocrisy, stupidity, and that they were too scared or lazy to try to chase their dreams.

I’m now seeing many of my cohorts becoming bitter and resentful about the bad decisions they made in their teens and twenties.  You should have left that dead end job and started your own business or moved to a different city.  Yeah, you should have majored in STEM or went to trade school instead of majoring in humanities or general business.  Maybe  you should have paid off your credit cards before they become unmanageable.  You shouldn’t have spent your teens and twenties partying, drugging, and having sex like there would be no price to pay.  You shouldn’t have put up with abusive boyfriends or manipulative girlfriends.  You should have called your mom more often.  Yeah, you shouldn’t have cut ties with your siblings.  You should have road tripped and traveled to foreign countries while you still had good health.  You should have gone to seen your favorite musician the night they performed in your hometown.  You shouldn’t have ignored that geeky girl or boy in your high school history class in favor of the school bully or queen bee.  I could go on.  But there are no do overs.  Learn and move on.  Quit romanticizing a past that never existed.  Learn from your bad decisions and be glad for the good decisions you did make.