“I can’t wait to grow up!”
“I wish I was bigger!”
“I’m NEVER going to be ‘old enough’!”
Ah, the sounds of youth. I remember the highly emotional crying and fist pounding that came along with those statements.
The longing, the dreaming, the scheming of ways to make it happen faster than naturally possible. The process was seemingly never-ending and the realization when it had actually happened was abrupt and felt similar to passing a kidney stone.
I was sheltered for a majority of my adult life. I was a housewife. I had a credit card I didn’t have to pay and a car I didn’t have to maintain. I even had a gym membership that I had time to use! Well, we all know how that ended and why…(if not, I encourage you to read MIND YOUR MANNERS). I emerged from my cushioned life of illusion 3 years ago, and it has been the greatest and most eye-opening time of my life.
Now, there are certain aspects of life that remain as open ‘boxes’ in your brain. You will have extra boxes open sometimes when your life is feeling hectic but, like bread and milk on your grocery list, you may as well completely remove the lids from some of them because they ain’t going no where! These are a few of mine.
Education: You want it! You need it! You HAVE to have it if you want to make more than minimum wage! I thought for a long time that a 2- or 4-year schooling was the only education that would allow you to make something of yourself. Nope. I’m still in debt after my teenage stint in a state university and, apart from a few interesting factoids from Anthropology 101, I have nothing to show on an educational level because it REALLY wasn’t for me. Did you know that utensils are an extension of our hands?! Super cool, right?! The best thing to come out of my college experience was a very talented, witty, irreplaceable friend. We have shared many shenanigans and beers, protests and events, and laughing that occasionally made me wet myself depending on how many beers I had consumed. Our banter is unmatched, and even in moments of seriousness we know exactly how to play our words to make the other smirk. Cheers to you, my friend!
How do you decide where to start as an adult entering the work force for the first time in your adult life? I needed a career in under a year. What will I hate doing the least for the next 30 some-odd years? How employable will I be in this field after training? What should I expect as a shift? Can I make that work with my life? What’s the salary? Are there any benefits? Paid vacation? Personal days? How much money do I NEED to take home so I don’t get evicted, am able to have heat, electricity, a phone and food? Oh my god! A car?! SHIT the cats are due for shots! How the actual fuck am I going to do this?!
After the lists and the calculations, I promptly cracked open a cold one and started praying to the universe to give me strength, because I am going to need all the help I can get. I found a great program at a trade school, it was affordable and the training was hands on. Can’t beat that with a stick, though I wish I had taken more time to evaluate my options 20 years ago. Best part about this means to an end is that I can easily get entry level work in my chosen field through the school. I’m going to start at the bottom and work my way up slowly. Employers LOVE this and some even have programs available to help pay future tuition if things work out.
Thankfully, by the time I got around to needing the education part of becoming an adult, I had already mastered the foundation life things. You need to have this in your head to understand how paramount basic adulating is: Sometimes NO ONE will be there for you and sometimes you can only rely on YOURSELF. So, to ensure you only need that prescription of anti-depressants for a year or two, here are some things that are just as important as a formal education: How to plan and stay within a reasonable budget; How to pay bills, properly and on time; How to save and invest; How to live within your means and not go into major, unnecessary debt; How to fix shit around your house; How to cook; Basic first aid and home treatment techniques that are NOT from WebMD. It will tell you that you have cancer, every time, without fail. Cue panic attack. This shit is VITAL!
By now you catch my drift, don’t just do one thing and neglect all the other things. The ‘paying the bills’ routine or planning the family budget or keeping up on the CONSTANT flow of shit going wrong with the house/car/job/children/pets is as important as breathing. Adults everywhere are bleeding money all the time, you ain’t special. It’s all of us and it will be you too someday. This isn’t even including your work and social obligations!
Work: Quick and simple. You are going to hate your life on an almost daily basis. Thank god for Howard Stern in the car (BABA BOOEY BABA BOOEY HOWARD STERNS’ PENIS!), cold beer and sex. Usually, in that order. Rinse and repeat.
Family and friends: I could go on and on about family dynamics and Inter-familial Manipulation – look for more on that soon. The short and sweet of it, though, is to treat those around you in a way that reflects your own character and not theirs. You will always have someone pissed off at you over something. Whatever. They’ll get over it. If they don’t, fuck it, you won’t have the time or energy to give a shit anyways.
I am still the same kid I was when I was complaining about WANTING to grow up. The only difference now is I’m of legal age, divorced and remarried, have kids and pay taxes. All the things I complained about wanting I don’t care about anymore, because I’m too busy worrying about which of my major appliances is going to shit the bed next. Who am I going to piss off this weekend by not having the time to help them move? Which over priced ‘thing’ is my kid going to want for Christmas? How the HELL does anyone manage the holidays?! Don’t get me started on home ownership and the bullshit surrounding that bag of cats!
Speaking of cats, I’m almost out of litter and dog food. Shit! Is that ANOTHER hotspot on the dog? Fuck sake, I hope I can clear it up so we don’t have to go to the vet AGAIN… I wonder if that hospital is ever going to call me back because I REALLY want that day shift position, even though the pay is slightly less, the benefits are awesome. This is my brain and these are some of my many boxes… being an adult is like kissing your sister…