All Growd Up.

Posted by admin on April 11, 2016 in Children, Life Lessons |

The last of my children is about to become a man. Well, kinda sorta. While he will be turning 18 in May, as all us old farts know that doesn’t make you a man or an adult. It’s simply another baby step into adulthood, steps we keep taking the rest of our lives.

In my own RobZerrvations, I seem to think the current generation wants to grow up far faster than we did. We were pretty happy living at home with our parents. In my case, my mom still made dinner for me and even did my laundry, largely because she thought – in her wonderful sexist way – that a man hasn’t the intelligence to figure out how to do laundry properly. Given my history of ruining clothes to this day, I think she was on to something.

But kids today, geez, they turn 18 and want to be all grown up. It seems to be another entitlement, like they somehow earned the right to be an equal of every grown up they come across.

Of course, this is nonsense. First, at this age, you’re writing checks you can never cash. You’re bouncing them left as right as you pinball your way through the early days of “adulthood.” You have all the courage in the world, but none of the sense and certainly none of the experience.

As I said, I get to watch this play out regularly in my world. To be fair, Parker is pretty good with living at home and following the rules. He knows he has a really good deal, a deal so good that I am sure that at some point down the road, I am going to have to change all the locks in the house to make sure he eventually goes out on his own.

I do have empathy for these birds trying to leave the nest. As adults, we can see them running right for the plate glass door that they just can’t see (or refuse to see), no matter how hard you try to warn them that it’s right there. Being naive and somewhat invincible, they believe that things will somehow be different for them, that they will be able to walk right through it without a single shard of glass getting stuck in their ass.

I admit, this can be pretty amusing, if only for the fact that I walked through literally hundreds of these plate glass doors in my time and have come through it scarred, but still alive.

That to me is a miracle. But it’s not a miracle that is unique to me as we’ve all done famously stupid things in our lives and managed to either get through them or find a way to heal in their aftermath.

I must say that walking away from my meddling family’s lives 35 years ago was pretty shortsighted. But I was young and naive. I didn’t understand the consequences of being that young bull in the china shop. For 35 years now, my family hasn’t spoken to me, except to tell me my mom was dead. My mother, for her part, didn’t speak to me for seven years of those 35, though we mended that fence long ago, something I am extremely thankful for.

And here I thought I was so grown up back then. Sure, I was 23 but I was still very much a child. I didn’t have a shred of adult in me. Small wonder I fell apart in a young marriage that included a child, because I was still a child myself.

But I survived it. I’ve survived everything thrown at me. Good and bad decisions I have made myself, as well as decisions made for me by others that were often completely against my will. Some good came out of it, some bad did, too.

What I found was that the bad didn’t last, largely because I never let it. While I could rightfully be soured on love and relationships, I put all that bad behind me and moved on and have a terrific relationship now. I finally have a pretty cool house that I actually feel is home, something I’ve longed to have. I have a nice job, great friends, and just in this moment as I write this, nothing bad on the horizon – at least nothing that I know of.

Sure, the tides could change tomorrow in this regard. Life is a series of yin and yang, of ups and downs, and goods and bads.

When you’re at that precipice of adulthood, the 18 to 22 range, every bad thing that happens or could happen is held up in a magnifying glass. Everything is magnified way beyond the weight it should have in your life. You are either on top of the world or life sucks. There’s no in between because really, as far as being an adult, you’re still taking baby steps.

I for one am glad that none of the truly bad stuff happened when I was young. I couldn’t have handled half the stuff I have had to handle in my adult life back then. I would easily have pulled the plug by now.

But thankfully, all this stuff just made me more resilient. The old saw that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger is true in many respects. But when you’re young, you don’t understand that life is a long journey, one marked by many setbacks, challenges and an occasional victory lap.

I only wish we could get our kids to see that. But if they did, they would probably never make it to true adulthood, because looking down that rabbit hole isn’t for the young because it’s downright scary down there. There are monsters out there that they can’t even imagine – mortgages, bill collectors, bankruptcy, divorce and, of course, the prospect of your own mortality – that would scare the living crap out of them.

Be thankful young’uns that you still have your parents to save you from the monsters and shelter you from the storm. Some of us didn’t get that luxury, and yet, we managed to survive it all anyway and finally become adults by earning it, not demanding it.

Just north of the Emerald City, slaying dragons with sword in hand,

– Robb

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