Between you and me, this is exactly what I had in mind.
On the eve of my 18th birthday I wrote a column for our local newspaper about how my impending milestone birthday did not make me excited. It did not make me happy. It did not fill me with anticipatory glee.
It annoyed me. A lot.
Sure, with my 18th birthday opened up new opportunities: I could legally smoke and I could vote. But since I wasn’t gunning for lung cancer and wasn’t particularly civic-minded, I didn’t care.
If I was a stupid, insolent kid, I also could have believed that reaching the big 1-8 allowed me to call myself a full-fledged adult. But as I was not a stupid, insolent kid (most of the time) I didn’t believe this. I knew that as long as my parents were paying to feed me, clothe me, shelter me and educate me, I wasn’t a grown-up. Not by a long shot.
But I knew that adulthood was creeping in fast and if my upcoming 18th birthday made anything clear, it was that I couldn’t wish for time to stop (because I had been for years and it totally wasn’t working).
No matter how much I wished for my adolescence to go on and on forever in some Peter Pan-esque utopia, that wasn’t going to happen. Adulthood was coming for me and it was coming fast.
Even then I knew that when it did catch up to me, it would suck. It would, in all respects, be a complete bummer.
By the time I was a teenager, I had already realized that my former idea of adulthood was a little off.
When you’re young and naive you see adulthood as this awe-inspiring world free from parental oppression, a world of unlimited freedoms:
- You can go to bed whenever you want!
- You can eat ice cream for breakfast!
- You can drink beer, so much beer!
- You can buy whatever you want whenever you want because they give you money and credit cards!
- You can watch T.V. or play video games for hours on end!
- You no longer have to participate in government-mandated physical activities in gym class!
But once you are actually a grownup the luster of these new freedoms wears off:
- Having the ability to go to bed whenever you want doesn’t mean that you can get up whenever you want. They usually make you get up to go to this place called work, and they make you go early. Too early.
- Eating ice cream for breakfast will undoubtedly give you a nasty case of heartburn.
- Beer, so much beer, comes with hangovers, so many hangovers.
- Paying for stuff sucks.
- If you watch television or play video games for hours, your eyes hurt because they’re tired, because all of you is tired, because you’re old.
- Metabolisms slow down because they are jerks. Actually, you’re probably getting fatter right now, right at this very moment, because you’re not participating in a dodgeball tournament in a P.E. class somewhere.
The sole cool thing about being adult though is that if something in your life sucks, you can get to change it. If your reality is not what you had in mind (or if, like me, it is exactly what you expected, but what you expected was it totally sucking) you get to change it. You get to make it better.
You don’t get to blame your parents. You don’t get to blame your teachers. You don’t get to blame miscellaneous authority figures from years past. It’s all on you to make it not suck.
So if you need me, I’ll be sleeping in until noon and then eating ice cream for breakfast. Heartburn be damned.