Monday, August 17, 2009

Top 10 worst things about being an adult...

Let me just start this post off with saying I've spent the past 3.5 hours scouring the internet for jobs. My goal is to apply to 10. I've only found three which I am remotely qualified for [You know it's a bad sign when job postings require you to have a master's degree in rhetoric.]

So with that in mind ... I give you:

The 10 Worst Things About Being an Adult

1) Work. (Or the lack thereof) Sure, we have all this incredible social freedom, but what's it worth without an income? And while we can pick our chosen profession, this does not guarantee us a livelihood. In fact, as a child, adults are always saying that you can be whatever you want - but it's not true! They don't tell you about the ridicule, shaming questions, or abject disappointment when you tell them, 15 years later, that you want to be an artist, or a mechanic, or a game master. They don't tell you that "anything you want!" comes with conditions. Along with work comes the expectation of being a contributing member to society; but how can you contribute to the society, if the society doesn't want to hire you because you're either too qualified, or not qualified enough, or aren't the right nationality. [Bitter, party of one, still waiting to be seated.] Oh ... and whatever it is we choose to work at inevitably dictates the course of our lives, on a daily basis. Damn the man! I say we go back to a barter and trade system. I've got some corn and pelts, who has livestock? See? perfect.

2) Bills. We have to pay bills for all of those credit/financing/lifestyle choices we make. For example, the laptop I am using to write this post, I am getting closer to owning ... I have about $400.00 left to go. And I'm still paying off parts of college, and early post-college vagabond life. And you cannot be successful with this item if you don't have #1. Sleep, eat, work, pay bills, repeat. It's a vicious, vicious cycle.

3) Responsibility. Generally needed to succeed in both #1 and #2. And what are we supposed to take responsibility for as adults? EVERYTHING. Your life, work, bills, pets, being places on time, fulfilling promises, replacing broken items in stores, following rules, social engagements, marriage, divorce, cleaning routines, diet/exercise, appearance, children, taking care of self/others ... see? you feel tired and worn down already, don't you? And we're only on item #3. As a side-note, I probably should have put children higher on the list, like, even before pets. But seeing as how I don't have any, they'll stay where they are.

4) Consequences ... to EVERYTHING. What happens if you don't have a job? You have no money, which means you can't pay your bills which means your credit rating plunges into the toilet, and in an act of taking responsibility for all of this, you declare bankruptcy, and give yourself a seven year sentence to not being able to have any kind of equity whatsoever, making you, in essence, a vagrant, non-contributing member of society. Is any of it your fault? Probably not. Do you still have to pay for it? Absolutely. Consequences in the adult world are somewhat akin to pagan blood sacrifices in the days of yore; if your number is called, you're the poor sap that has to pay. Except that now, we like to draw consequences out into a tortuous length of time. Sudden death? No, no, no. Now we make you keep paying for the rest of your long, increasingly natural life. And I ask you, which is worse? Should I ask the poor sods sitting in a state penitentiary, who did nothing more than sell a few grams of weed?

5) Politics. Gone are the halcyon days of childhood, when everything came down to a question of what is "fair." Gone is the dictum of living by the Golden Rule, not just for yourself, but where the actions of others are concerned. Gone is the illusion that truth is the highest accomplishment to be achieved, and if you mess up, it's okay, so long as you're honest! The virtues so carefully instilled during formative years are smashed like sugar glass bottles breaking over stunt men's heads. Now there's jockeying, and ladder climbing, and corporate suicide, and federal indictments, and leaders who lie to cover up their own asses. We were told not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain, until suddenly (and without warning), he reveals himself, and you realize that the man is actually the monster that you thought was hiding in your closet, or under your bed, only worse, because now that monster is making decisions and judgments about your life that you didn't authorize.

6) Your body throws a coup d'état, and doesn't invite you. Creaky bones, insomnia, food digestion issues, memory lapses, inexplicable achy-ness; and that's only in your late 20's! Suddenly, the taste of your own mortality ingests itself into your awareness, and you hear yourself say, "I'm getting old." What?! No! Inconceivable! Is it the end of the world?! No. Is it a call for you to stop staying out until 4:00 a.m. on a regular basis? Absolutely. Is it a warning that you better start reading gender-based health magazines (see: Men's Health or Self Magazine), or at the very least, cut down on the amount of nutritionless garbage you deposit into your system? BINGO. This is the first physical sign of "adulthood" - one of those points in time when you're mind and body fuse together. In other words, welcome to adulthood, baby! You are invincible no more.

7) Self-control. Or perhaps I should say the illusion of self-control. When we're little, we don't have to have self-control; we are certainly trained to have it, but if we have the occasional tantrum, it's no big deal - in fact sometimes, it's even allowed; too tired, hungry, or upset ... let everything out, cry yourself to sleep, wake up in a couple of hours, right as rain. As adults, we are not supposed to lose control. Losing control is not only frowned upon, but in some places, they'll admit you to the psychiatric wing of a hospital. And the reality is that we still have tantrums ... we're just supposed to smother them into submission. How much healthier would we be if we could just throw the occasional tantrum, and got over the proverbial it? Because, if we submit to any loss of control, that might make things like mental health days relevant and accepted. And would we even need the term, "Going postal?"

8) The expectation of what an adult is and how they should act, is ironically, a terrible imposition. There are certain basic, primal functions, like the ability to acquire food, the ability to procreate, the ability to find to shelter against adverse weather. There are tougher requirements, like the ability to reason with logic, to be practical with important things like money and one's store of grain. Then there are blurry, cultural and emotional must-have's in our arsenal, such as etiquette and manners, humility, graciousness, the discussions of sober and serious things, like poverty, or relationships, or global-warming. The reality, however, is that when we're by ourselves, we are not so serious or sober ... some of us play video games, some of us are obsessed with Harry Potter, some of us sports fanatics, or collect bizarre things like miniatures. The point is, when we're out at something neutral, i.e. not with our close friends, like a corporate party, or an acquaintances' luncheon, we don't start talking about our wicked World of Warcraft crit rating, or the awesome hit in last night's hockey game, or the fact that you own an authentic re-creation of a Lord of the Rings sword (Anduril) at the age of 32. We don't divulge the best/most interesting parts of ourselves, for the same reason we learned not to in Middle School: social suicide. And to me, that's just sad.

9) This one goes along with #8, but I think it's slightly different - and that's the illusion of self-reliance ... which, to some degree, I think it's also an expectation - albeit a very specific one. As adults, we're supposed to be self-sufficient, not need anything, or anyone - and if we do, we have to get it for ourselves ... or are expected to get it for ourselves, and if we don't, then we somehow fail. which leads me to...

10) Asking for help. But part of what becoming an adult entails, is knowing when to ask for help, and this is perhaps one of the hardest lessons to learn, especially when #8 and #9 play such a huge role. It is a lesson in over-coming pride and one's own expectations of one's self, breaking down years of other people telling you what to do, how to behave, and instilled expectations. The hard part is letting go and discovering what you need. And there's no shame in asking other people for help. Providing you are prepared to help others when they come knocking. Because would you be an adult without responsibility?
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7 comments:

gypsywee said...

This blog post is brilliant. I'm feeling every word (except for the "game master" thing...ew). ;)

Jen said...

Social Suicide Syndrome -- yet another indication that my life would really be best served if I came into a lot of money and bought a bunch of land where a bunch of my friends could live in a big commune where there IS no wrong answer.

((hug)) good lists :)

Phoenix said...

I'm glad you saved #10 for last...because I think it's the hardest. We spend so long working on #1-#9...and then we forget that it's okay that we don't always have all the answers.

Radical Bradacal said...

Gypsy: Thank you! And I'll get you to be a gamer yet! ;)

Jen: You let me know, and I'll be there. For reals.

Trace: #10 was partly inspired by you.

somedudeinMN said...

right on dude. i keep lurking in your blog, but this post. primo yo!

Radical Bradacal said...

thanks dude. :)

H said...

This is quite a blog post! (You certainly are ruminating these days... ;-) )