Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Enough with adulting? Already?
My daughter called the other day to tell me she would like to be finished with “adulting.”
“It’s hard,” she exclaimed. I agreed.
Life is full of difficulties. Being the adult is not easy. Sometimes, it all feels senseless. The trick is finding something meaningful that makes it all worthwhile. And the old saying rings true. “Youth is wasted on the young.” It is no wonder we often look back on our youth with a sense of longing.
When I was young, I simply could not wait to be an adult. Truly, I did not wait. I hurried through the growing-up years as quickly as possible.
As the youngest child, it was natural for me to want to emulate my older siblings. My mother used to tell a story of the toddler me crawling onto the commode, essentially potty training myself! My eldest sister reminded me that I begged her to teach me to read long before I was old enough to attend kindergarten. It seems I was always in a rush to grow up. I did not let anything get in the way of my independence.
In elementary school, I made arrangements for a ride home because I wanted to be able to participate in activities taking place after the last bell rang. My parents driving me home at that time was not a possibility and they did not offer a solution. I got creative and found a school employee who had to drive right by the end of my road when their workday was through, which coincided with the end of practice. I was nine. Issue resolved.
As soon as I did not need a babysitter for myself, I began earning my own money. Watching other people’s children was never my favorite chore so as soon as I was old enough, I got a job. I delivered the morning edition of the local newspaper at age 14. Later, I was hired at the local grocery/fruit stand as a cashier. During my last year of high school, I added a work-study job to my morning. Two jobs helped me afford my share of the rent of the apartment I shared with a girlfriend during the last half of my senior year.
I think it is fair to say I was in a bit of a rush to “adult.”
I know I had plenty of elders telling me to slow down. I could not hear them. I wanted all the freedom I believed came with being an adult. I could not see the bondage. It was impossible to know then that those would be some of the easiest days of my life.
So, of course I tried to spare my children from rushing to adulthood. The world moved faster and the exposure to so much of everything came so much quicker than it did for me — even on my accelerated plan. I delayed the “Santa Claus conversation” for as long as possible. I made their lunches well into high school. I coddled. I protected. But I also gave gentle nudges toward independence. I hope they think of their time as children fondly, but adulthood was the next stop. And, as a parent, it was the job — to give them a base from which to spread their wings and stand back as they took flight.
I admit to hovering with my mommy net, occasionally offering a soft place to fall.
My challenge has always been to step back and let them find their own way. I had to learn (am still learning) to allow them to make the mistakes, experience the setbacks, and find the fortitude to forge ahead.
The parenting job can be excruciating.
When I look back on my early days of adulting, I see someone who was determined and creative and brave. (It is also possible the word, naïve comes into play.) I can see the same characteristics in them.
I see my kids living their lives. They make false starts. They struggle. They sometimes fail.
More often, they succeed, and they have only just begun.
I think I have had enough of adulting for now. What if I took a pass on adulthood for just a while? Let someone else run the rat race?
I could spend my days lying in the grass watching clouds float by. I could call up my friends and go for a hike by the river. We could spend hours watching movies or reading novels. We could get the other folks on the street together for a game of tag or hide and seek.
Maybe it is true, what I have heard — it’s never too late to have a happy childhood!
I have been a certified adult for quite a while now. It does come with a lot of freedom, mostly of choice, and it comes with a great deal of responsibility. I know my grown-up children will find their stride and thrive in this new perspective life has to offer them.
The bulk of their story is still unfolding. I can hardly wait to see how it all turns out.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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