On this past Tuesday, I was reading an online article about the numerous reasons why being an adult sucks. Sucks was part of the title and the author was giving reasons why life is better as a child living with parents.
I must argue against this. Nothing in the world, no amount of money, no promises of being able to fix my mistakes, would EVER convince me to turn back the hands of time and be a child again. As much as I love my dad, not even the knowledge that I would have him back in my life is enough for me to agree to be a child again.
Reason 1: I have a say in financial matters. In my family, J- leaves most of the finances to me. By his own admission, he has no desire to think about the money and bills. As long as he has cash in his pocket and gas in his car, he really doesn’t care; most of the time. All couples will argue about money and being broke makes arguments more frequent. However, as an adult, I actually have a say. Growing up, this was not true. Dad made all decisions, with my older siblings coming in behind him, followed by an aunt and two uncles. My opinions did not exist in the realm of money. We were broke growing up. Bill collectors were always calling. Dad made sure I knew how to balance a checkbook and write a budget, but he would not allow me to add my thoughts to our pitiful finances. I was told I could have an opinion when I was an adult. This lead to me feel financially insecure at an early age and drove me to be obsessed with money. To this day, I guard my checkbook zealously and watch my credit reports with an eagle eye. Also, I stress to my children the importance of money management as they grow.
Reason 2: I pick my own vehicles. As a teenager, either my dad or brother picked my vehicles for me. Even when I absolutely hated the car they picked out, I was told that was the car I was getting and I had no choice in the matter. To be clear, I still was required to pull money from my savings account to pay for it. And I paid for the gas and oil changes. These cars were all junk. They needed transmission work, new tires, new exhaust systems, new brake lines, etc. One car was so old and rusted that the gas tank started to leak. The metal had rusted straight through. Dad loved cars that needed work because he had been a mechanic in his younger years. By the time I was old enough to drive, he was in a wheel chair and could not work on cars any longer. This lead to my cars going to shops and expensive repair bills. Then dad and brother would yell at me, tell me it was all my fault, and on and on. As an adult, I pick my own cars and that is the bottom line.
Reason 3: I do the grocery shopping. Growing up, dad made very specific lists and those are the food items we bought. I hated it. He would not buy fresh fruit because it was too expensive, yet we always had chips, cookies, cake and ice cream in the house. We always had soda, but could not guarantee milk. Even buying the wrong brand of peanut butter was cause for arguments. As an adult, I buy what I want. Yes, fresh items are more expensive, but I DON’T CARE! I keep produce in the house as often as possible and my girls love it! No matter how hard things get for our family, I find ways to make it work-huge thank you to the local food shelf. We always have milk. We do not eat as much of the boxed and processed items as I did when I was growing up.
Reason 4: No more middle or high school. Those years of my life were hell and I never want to go back. Since dad liked to move so often, I attended nine schools K-12. Some were better than others, but they all had similarities. Cliques that drove me nuts, teachers that just did not care any longer about their quality of work because they had tenure, teachers that expected students to do all the work on their own without help, students that thrived on disruption and being bullies, nasty lunch room food that was almost inedible, lackluster material taught during lecture, small school libraries with extremely edited selections of material and tons of parents complaining that the schools were picking on their poor angels. Newsflash: your children were not angles. College is 100 times better than lower schools are. Being an adult means I am done with that stage of my life and I never have to go back. As a parent, I must revisit some of these very topics because my children are in school. But I now deal with it as an adult, not as a student feeling confused and isolated. I listen to my daughters as they struggle to explain their feelings and frustrations with school and more often then not, I completely understand what they are referring to. As a student, I was mouthy and would argue frequently with teachers and staff. They rarely took me seriously. As an adult, I still argue and they now take me seriously.
Reason 5: Paying bills. The article I read explained that being an adult means being forced to pay bills and this sucks. I disagree. I pick and choose which bills I am going to pay. As a child, this is not your choice. As an adult, I have never paid a cable bill. It is an unnecessary expense that I do not want to deal with. I pick how many credit accounts I am willing to be responsible for and refuse to sign up for more. Paying bills gives me a sense of self control, a feeling that I am responsible for myself, and the knowledge that I must work hard for things in life. Growing up and at certain points during my marriage, I have been reminded that everything I have can be taken away from me because someone else paid for it-not me. Paying bills overcomes this feeling and provides me the solid proof that I am independent and no one is going to take away what is mine. Want self esteem? Pay your own bills.
Reason 6: working a job. In the article, the author complained that being adult sucks because we must work a job. Are you kidding me? Having a job is the best thing!!! At age 9, I was babysitting. At age 14, I was punching a clock at fast food. I wish I could have a job now. Working is the second best feeling of freedom I have ever had in my life! Even jobs that I completely hate, are better than no job at all. How can anyone claim that working sucks? The feeling of accomplishment, the prospect of earning promotions, learning something new with each position you hold, and the pride of hard work. Want self esteem? Want a sense of self worth? Get a job. Hold your head high with pride because you are working hard at whichever position you currently hold and the future is still untold.
Reason 7: politics. The article also said being an adult sucks because you are supposed to be involved in politics. Ummm….where do I begin? Being politically active is part of life and always has been since the earliest forms of nomadic peoples on Earth. This is a right that must be defended, upheld, taught and encouraged. Across nations, young children raise their voices on numerous topics that concern them and affect the course of policy in their lives. Politics have endless meanings. Voting, campaigning, community action programs, school boards, library committees, non-profit groups, unions, charities and everything in between. Each person has the choice of how involved they want to be and which political beliefs they want to stand behind. This is the best form of freedom any person could hope for. Like my dad always told me, “You have a voice, use it.”
I can go on and on. Being an adult is difficult, but it does not suck. Perhaps that author needs another trip down memory lane, because being a child has its moments of misery as well. Being a child is just as difficult as being an adult and neither one sucks. For me, being a child was far worse than anything I have dealt with as an adult and I have been through hell as an adult. As an adult, I have watched friends spiral down into drugs, I have buried my father, I am watching my mom’s health decline drastically, my marriage has almost failed on several occasions, I have been homeless twice, I have lost friends to drugs or alcohol or jail, I have buried people, depression has crushed me so severely that I spent two weeks in the mental health unit of the hospital because I wanted to die.
I choose adulthood over being a child any day. I pick the hardships and challenges that we all must face over living in the imaginary sense of safety that childhood provides. I would rather stand on my own two feet and be self reliant than over go back to living by the rules of others.