|Seriously, where was this advice before it was too late?|
Back when I was officially a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be grown up. It seemed so damn cool, driving around in the cars everybody gets issued on their 16th birthday, collecting money at will out of those vending machines you needed that plastic card for, using cuss words stronger than "jeez" and "goshdarnit"...to a prepubescent child, that really sounds like the life. (Of course, I now know very fucking well that that's not how the first two work at all, which might be about 20% of the reason I do the third so much.)
All through my first 10 or so years, I may not have fully appreciated the golden age I was living in. These blissful days were for some sick reason dotted with fantasies of being a grownup. I dreamed my kidiot dreams of staying up all night, traveling the world, and generally doing whatever the fu--oops *quickly covers mouth*--heck I wanted. I honestly thought once high school (and college, because that's what automatically happens after high school) was celebrated with a graduation and a smooth, immediate transition into the work world, where each person was given the job they were best at and a house or apartment to live in while they saved up to get married and have a baby or something dumb like that.
Obviously I'm well aware by now that results may vary, bur what strikes me as so unfair is that nobody ever sat me down and explicitly explained to me that being an adult wasn't anything like that. Oh yeah, they told me vague, general nonsense like "if you do well in school, you'll get a good job", "you can do what you want when you have your own roof", and "if you really want something and work hard for it, you'll get it",and those things seemed to make sense, but I'm sure we know those things are as much bullshit as "everyone finds happiness one day", as people die every day with their happiness still in a great hiding spot.
I still feel a bit cheated looking around sometimes, well into my technical adulthood with very few of those lovely welcoming gifts. Sure, I actually get to go to bed when I want (kinda, I have to be up to be repeatedly smacked in the face by an infant in the morning...don't worry, I give them back too. It's called interaction.), I can technically do whatever I please as long as I don't mind being charged as an adult (financially or legally) for pretty much anything fun, and there is the area of my adult life I'll just collectively refer to as "Shannon", and those things are nice sometimes.
However, it's like any other job. Indeed, there can be benefits, but you have to put up with a lot of bullshit to get to them (and you probably won't get most of 'em for some extended probationary period). Being an adult is more responsibility than right.
It's less "chocolate cake for breakfast" and more "nothing for breakfast because I'm going to be late for something". It's less "buy whatever I want" and more "buy whatever I can get with the $54 I'll have left after the bills are paid". It's less " wake up whenever I want on weekends" and more "be awakened at the asscrack of morning by a wailing baby". (Hell, even to return to my example of something dumb, it was less "save up to have a baby" and more "suddenly get the unpleasant news that next year will contain a Fathers' Day for you".)
In short, it's the single biggest bait-and-switch long con in life and my parents pulled it to perfection. All my life they told me to grow up, and I trusted them...the magical life of commitments and compromise I live today is my rich reward for listening to that very poor advice. If Madoff was that talented in deception, he'd still be collecting people's pensions to this day. I mean, sure there's a thin ray of hope in being rich and thereby doing whatever the fuck I wanted...but they could have told me it was a 1% shot. (I'll have to sell a lot more books.) As I am the 99%, being an adult sucks almost that percentage of the time.
Maybe one day things will be different. Of course, that's what I've been saying since I was in OshKosh B'Gosh, but holding on to some pieces of my childhood is what keeps me going some days. I suspect that's the case with a lot of folk who suddenly found themselves in big boy pants. Still feels somehow crooked, though. As I sit typing this with my little humanoid pet crawling all over me, I sometimes think about how one day soon, he may look at me and my kindadult activities and think I'm living the good life just by having it last over 18 years. I might just let him think that for a while...my parents did it to me, so I guess it's only unfair, right?