“You’re ½ Momma, ½ kid,” says my 4-year-old. That sounds about right. Maybe more times than not, I’m a kid pretending to be a Momma.
Ever feel like this adulting thing isn’t really what your parents made it out to be?
I always assumed when you became an adult, something in you just changed to make you mature and intelligent and beyond the mind of a child. I waited for that magical moment to happen. And I waited and I waited . . . Nothing. My age says I’m an adult, but there was never any significant change that bridged some gap between childhood and adulthood.
Did I miss something? Did I not attend some required adulthood class – because I gotta tell ya, no one told me about it. Not that I would have gone, but at least that would explain a few things.
Then, I started to notice that I am not the only one who didn’t just magically transform into this adult version of myself. Most of the people I talk to don’t seem to really fit the mold of what, as a child, I imagined adults to be.
I mean we have jobs and kids and bills and all sorts of obligations and responsibilities, but is that what makes us adults – that and age? If that’s all it takes, well then, we got this adulting thing pegged. So for the rest of you slackers, here are a few Do’s and Do Nots for your journey into the mysteriously familiar world of adulthood.
Do: Take responsibility!
Even though technically, we’re just older kids, the choices we make affect not only the present but the future of the world. And as the old saying goes, leave it better than you found it. The best way to do that is to pay attention to and get involved with what’s going on in our world. That means politically, socially, domestically, environmentally, creatively. Don’t just talk about it, do it.
Do not: Let someone else worry about it.
You got this. Remember when you wanted to do stuff for yourself, and you would tell your mom “I’m big!” so she would just let you do your thing? Go back to that. Don’t rely on the government or family or friends or strangers to clean up your mess. If you need help, ask, but don’t give up. Keep trying! Asking for help is different than expecting someone to do the work for you.
Do: Your homework.
If you are going to take an active role in the world, you need to know what you stand for. In the words of one Mr. Abraham Lincoln, “Put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm.” Know our history. Research policies. Examine motives (including your own). Learn continuously. Even after you get your degree, keep learning. That doesn’t necessarily mean more schooling, and chances are you’ll learn more outside the classroom than you will in an assigned seat. Knowledge is power – that’s not just a slogan.
Do not: Watch too much TV.
Did I just say that? Yes, and do you know why? Because it will rot your brain. It pulls your mind away of more important matters. It has the potential to persuade your belief structure without your realizing it. It’s not real. (News programs especially included) It’s entertaining, and everyone needs a break from reality, but don’t let it become your reality.
Do: Your chores.
Grown-up chores are a little heavier than they were when we were kids, maybe. Now instead of just feeding the dog, we have to earn the money to pay for the food to feed the dog. It’s not just an 8:00-3:15 world anymore, or even a 9-5er for that matter. You can talk on the phone, go out with your friends. You can do what you like – but only after you finish your chores. “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” Take care of your responsibilities first.
Do not: Whine.
Not everyone’s life is the same. There will always be someone who has more than you. There will always be those who have less. Do not waste your time and energy begrudging those whose lives seem to flow smoother. Be grateful for what you have and serve those who have less and those who have more. You have no idea of the trials someone else has faced or what they might face tomorrow.
When I was nine years old, someone described me as 9-going-on-30. Now, you could almost say the opposite. A little The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but only in the mind.
I think it’s pretty clear that adults are just older children. We still have rules and homework and chores. Some kids are just more aldultier than others – that’s probably a good thing. Keeps it diverse.