Being a Grown-Up is Hard! Who Saw That Coming?
It's funny how being a kid gives you an immensely warped view of the world. Or maybe growing twists everything and kids have it all figured out in the first place? Do we over-complicate life? Sorry, another blog post another day perhaps.
Grown-ups seemed like they had it all figured out, didn't they? As a kid, all my issues were so singularly focused. If I was hungry, I'd ask for or get something to eat. If I was tired, I'd take a nap. If I was cranky, I'd throw a tantrum until someone made it better or I got tired and took a nap. Man I love naps...
Now it's not like any of those things went away with age for everyone. Don't tell me adults don't throw tantrums. They're just more dangerous now. Crying behind the wheel of a car? No 3 year old is doing that. At least I hope not.
But solving those issues? How could my childhood self know?! It was always so easy to completely miss the things I never knew would be a challenge down the road.
When I was young, I moved a fair number of times. I lived in a trailer park, in apartments, in rental houses, on a military base, all before eventually settling in a manufactured home on an acre of land surrounded by trees. A big change from living off Aurora Avenue in Seattle. Sometimes we had a smaller kitchen, sometimes we had more storage space than I've ever had as an adult anywhere I've lived since high school. But no matter what? There was always food somehow. As a kid, that wasn't anything special. You don't question how the food gets there, it just is. It's all you know. Open the fridge, look at all the things covering every shelf and complain that there wasn't any strawberry quik. Yep, I was a punk. Even with a walk-in pantry, every shelf always covered from floor to ceiling in all the food. Who needs 300 red vines? Apparently junior high Thomas did.
But now I'm all grown up. I'm currently living in a humble studio. My fridge isn't full size and you know what? Filling that thing is so hard! Unless I'm stock-piling food just so it can go bad, I can barely get close to realizing a full fridge. Affording a full fridge is a whole other thing. The amount of money it takes to afford all the food I had everyday growing up? I mean, I guess I can skip out on electricity for a while maybe? I don't even have a pantry, but you better believe my one cabinet devoted to storing food is half full at best. Pretty sure the top shelf is just bottles of cheap hot sauce and a whole bunch of unused storage space. How do parents do it?! I know I'm not the only one that grew up with a full fridge and could barely afford more than condiments fresh out of high school. It's definitely gotten better over the years, but I'm still a far cry from what I knew as a child.
Speaking of electricity, remember just popping the heat on whenever you were a little uncomfortable? Or blasting AC in the summer? Oh the good ol' days... As October has gotten on, I've begun my annual round of "how long can I get away with blankets and a jacket instead of touching my heat?" I'm still going strong. I live on the second floor so I'm hoping I can outlast my downstairs neighbor and ride his radiant warmth for a while longer, but it gets so cold at night! So cold...
Then there's the dishes. Why do I own 5 different skillets if only 2 are good for anything? My stove is nothing special and I've got a pan that's almost twice as big as the burners. How am I supposed to use that? Why do I have to wash the same 2 pans every day? But wait! My one good spatula is dirty too! And my 4 plates...and every fork and spoon I own...just gonna tip my head to the side and drink some water straight from the tap thank you very much. I always liked having a dishwasher as a kid but that is borderline necessary now. You think I've got time to hand-wash 16 forks? Not likely.
Laundry... laundry laundry laundry. For the first time since I started living on my own, I finally have access to my own washer and dryer. Before now, it was always on-site somewhere. Sometimes in the same building, sometimes across a parking lot, but always coin operated. Having the full gamut of my wardrobe available at any one time is something that pretty much never happens. Been a long time since I could choose pretty much anything I had and know it was clean and ready to go.
I think we all had a good idea that growing up meant more chores, more responsibilities, more obligations. It's not being a responsible adult that's all that surprising. Rather, the things that are so easy to take for granted growing up are what I've found to be the most mind blowing. The realization of all the work behind the scenes while you're just trying to not be bored is a much bigger deal than I think most are willing to admit. While it's easy to be stressed and complain about how hard adult life can be, it's all too easy to forget the work that was done for us in the first place by the people that chose to do everything they could to fill those fridges, pay the bills, clean literally everything. It's a wonder how picking up my toys was so annoying when all my clothes were clean, when there was always gas in the tank to take me places, when I was warm in the winter and could cool off in the summer, when I had something to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
It's so easy to focus on the negatives. It's a shame remembering the positives never comes nearly as easily. So I'm just going to say thank you to the people who did their best to look out for all of us, even when we had no hope of understanding what that actually meant. And an especially heart-felt, personal thank you to the mother, dad and grandparents that did all they could for me and more. Goodness knows it took me a long time to appreciate it all in its entirety, and I don't even have kids of my own yet to really know the entirety of their sacrifices!
Thank you for joining me in my crazy world. Who helped you get where you are today, whether you realized it or not? Have you told them? I hope so.