Adulthood is not what I expected. I guess I should have known this, based on this incredible song, but I didn't want to believe it.
When I was a boy, I watched with envy as my parents started every morning off with a cup of coffee and a slice of Entenmann's cake. I often asked if I could do the same and I was told, you can eat what you want when you are a grown up.
No. No I can't. Forget allergies, I have to watch everything I eat because if it doesn't simply make me fat(ter) and sluggish(er) it makes me feel horrible, or is going to kill me in some insidious way. And now I find that as I age, my taste buds have become dulled -- sure this is great because I can now eat spicy food, but it means that reg'lar ol' food just doesn't have the same impact. Strike one against adulthood.
As a youngster I resisted naps. In college, I ran towards them because they made it possible to stay up all night. Now, I wish I had them, just because they help me make it through the day. Strike 2 against adulthood.
And speaking of sleep, as a boy, I constantly wanted to stay up late. I was convinced that there was some incredible event which took place after 9:30 and I wanted in, dangblastit. Then I had kids. Yay, kids. I guess I hadn't remembered that all 6 month old children DO get to stay up late, and that the only exciting thing that happens at 1AM is that someone has to change a baby's diaper. And for the last 5 or so years, heck, maybe more...I can't tell, I have been going to sleep well before my kids. I remember when my dad started doing this and I'm not saying word one against the practice, or my dad, but I'm finally at the point when no one can tell me my bed time and by 9PM I am thinking, "well, I could just get into bed right now..." Adulthood, that's 1 out.
Driving a car. How glamorous. "I can't wait to be an adult, so I can drive." What a fool I was. Sure, driving represents freedom, if by freedom you mean traffic, insurance, gas, maintenance, the DMV, running errands and chauffeuring children around. I'm not complaining, except that I'm complaining.
R-Rated movies? At around the same age that I started celebrating being able to go to R-Rated movies, I began to realize that most of them are simply not interesting to me, or even very good. The stuff that made the movie rated R was not generally what I wanted to watch or hear.
Going out in general in the evenings was a real goal. I wanted to grow up so I could go anywhere I wanted, whenever. The fantasy of simply driving to the airport, presenting a credit card and saying "1 ticket on the next train out" and having them say "this is an airport...there are no trains here" so I can respond "ok then, a bottle of your finest champagne." We would go back and forth until I finally drove home -- but the idea that I COULD go anywhere whenever I wanted was very enticing. Reality? No. Obligations to the world preclude spur of the moment social life, and those of you who know me understand that, given the choice, I would never leave my home. I'm cheap, boring and usually cold. Hurray adulthood.
I should have been, by now, able to buy whatever car I wanted, but that's a lie. Forget affordability, there is value in the sensible. So being an adult has become an exercise in weighing pros and cons, and considering budget and other implications. I mean, thanks mom and dad of teaching me that stuff, but why didn't you warn me that using it was going to be so incessant, and depressing?
Don't get me wrong: I love being an adult in whatever sense I am an adult (I didn't know adults still sit cross-legged on the floor in front of the television watching dumb reruns, or that adults still laugh at the word "poop") but I was expecting something a lot different. Sure, I knew there would be bills, but I figured that adults just "pay" them and they go away. THEY KEEP COMING BACK! I could do nothing but sit in my house for 30 days, eating delicious, cold (non-existent) low-carb cereal and almond milk, and the bills would still come. And work? What is that all about? Adults on television have jobs but they don't seem to struggle or feel tired all the time. Isn't that what I was supposed to be growing up into? All the television teachers have 6 minute classes and no accountability. That's what I signed up for.
Promises were made.
I wanted to run free and I'm too achy to run. I wanted to vote and there is no one I want to vote for. I wanted to par-tay. But I hate par-tays. I wanted to think Andy Rooney was wrong and that may be the most depressing part. He's not. We aren't old curmudgeons, we are aging realists.
I have said before and I will say it again.
Get off my lawn.