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What exactly is “adulting?”

I’m sure unless you’ve been living under a rock, that you have heard the term “adulting.” By the way, the recent trend to morph a noun into a verb by adding “ing” to the end (does that officially turn it into a gerund?, anyway, I digress)  is getting pretty annoying.

adult·ing
/əˈdəltiNG,ˈaˌdəltiNG/

noun

INFORMAL
  1. the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

Ok, so there is the definition from Dictionary.com. My issue with the concept of adulting is that most often it is used by millennials when bemoaning the tasks that most people don’t like to do, such as paying bills, cleaning the house, or going to work, as in “adulting is hard work” or “I’m so proud of myself for adulting today.”  I don’t want to bash millennials because it seems like they get their share of criticism, some warranted and some not so much. My own children are millennials and they are fine, productive members of society.  The problem, as I see it, is that many of that generation have been brought up in households where they didn’t have responsibilities and now that they are out in the big, bad world, they find their responsibilities overwhelming. There are also things that they have not been taught, such as balancing a checkbook or sewing on a button or changing the oil. I just threw that last one in there since my own father found it imperative that I knew how to do that. I’ve actually never done it once. But you get the picture. When faced with the ever-present tasks of working for a living, cooking meals, cleaning a house, basically taking care of yourself, many people are shocked at what they entail.

30 years ago when I was a new homeowner, I spent little to no time thinking about my new life. I loved the freedom I had as someone who was finally an adult. Wasn’t that what we all wanted to be? Didn’t we always say that adults can do anything they wanted and that’s what we strove for? Perhaps the generation that had so many choices and so much freedom didn’t really want to “grow up.” Many of them already had every material thing they could ever want, someone to pay their phone bill, their car insurance, their car payments in many cases. Many millennials never even “had” to work as teenagers and some were either not allowed to or didn’t work so they could pursue other activities. Hell, I couldn’t wait to have my own money when I was a teen!  I knew my parents wouldn’t buy me the expensive Nikes I wanted, so I saved up and got them myself. Getting out from under a parents’ thumb is what we all desired so badly and we had to “adult” in order to do it.

So, millennials, next time you complain about “adulting” and pat yourselves on the back for doing the “adulting” thing so well, remember that this is life, baby. Sometimes it’s drudgery and if you’re lucky, there will be happiness to offset it. Just quit bitching about having to do the minor life stuff that we all have had to do for so many years and if you have problems completing the tasks, maybe we can show you a thing or two.

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Helpless, Woe is Me

I want to preface this post by saying that I have been through shit in my life.  Divorce, abuse, familial estrangement, mental illness, job loss, health issues, etc.  I could go on but I’ll just leave that there.   I have never asked for help or cried out to friends and family about my situation.  There have been rough financial times in my past when my children were small. I have always found ways to make it through by cutting back expenses, or by making difficult choices such as going back to work when my children were small.  Our home was never large and sometimes we shared a car.  Many cold mornings I bundled my son, put him in his car seat and drove my ex husband to work.  I made the heart wrenching decision to work when my kids were small so that we could afford the bare necessities and some extras for them, such as rec sports, music lessons, and even private school when we had to.  It’s what grown ups do.  Put on our big girl or big boy pants and make hard decisions that aren’t necessarily our first choice.

My own parents got married young and had two children 16 months apart.  From what I’ve been told, we lived in a shack while my father finished his degree and my mother took care of us.  After that, we moved out of state (from all family) for my father’s job.  Our childhood home was small and my parents rented it until they could afford something else.  (still not a mansion)  I don’t ever remember my parents burdening us with the struggles they had to endure.  Life was simpler then, I suppose.

I had to use WIC.  I’ve used food stamps and food banks in my adult life. I have worked when I could barely get out of bed due to the worst depression anyone could have had.  I was pregnant at the time, by the way.  I have had an abortion when my ex and I found out I was pregnant before we were ready for a child.

I was in a shitty marriage with two children, but I never once ran back to my parents like a child.

When you are an adult, you don’t make bad financial decisions over and over again and then expect your parents and friends to bail you out.  I have a friend who has done this and I am finding it very hard to respect her.  I feel that an adult friendship requires some level of respect and I don’t respect her anymore.  I even called her therapist’s office to pay for her therapy sessions a few months ago.  Then, bam, a month later she is posting on Facebook how sad and depressed she is because her parents aren’t alive anymore to bail her out financially or emotionally.  Sooner or later, you must grow up.She can’t even bring herself to help out with the selling of her parents’ house.  I guess her brother and sister will have to take on that burden.   I won’t be friends with people who are so foolish and immature. I just can’t do it.