I can remember growing up in the 80s as if it were yesterday. I spent the summers working part-time, talking to girls, riding bikes, and hanging out with my friends. Sure it sounds great, but why were my friends and I so miserable back then? Probably because we thought our parents were having more fun than us.
Looking back, I realize those were the happiest days of my life. It was carefree and I didn’t have to worry about much. My only concern was graduating from high school and getting into the military. Fortunately, I achieved both.
So the whole adulthood topic stems from conversations I often have with a close friend. Her daughter is 12 turning 18. Of course her daughter knows everything and considers hers mom as ancient as the pyramids. It’s funny how I remember feeling the same way about my parents. I thought my dad was old enough to have seen action during the Civil War instead of Vietnam.
Like most teens and pre-teens, my friend’s daughter is in a hurry to become an adult. She already has an idea of the perfect husband, a career path and how many children she wants. I remember thinking about these same life moments many years ago.
So it begs the question—why were we in such a hurry to become adults? Seriously, who thought paying bills and working would be fun? I hear other people ask the same question. But no one has an answer. I miss the days when my parents did all my worrying.
Years ago my youngest son told me why he thought being an adult was fun. Honesty from the mouth of babes. He said, “Dad, you get to work, drive, and earn money. I cannot wait to be doing those things.” Now that he’s an adult and pays his own way, I don’t think he feels the same. I guess he didn’t realize that paying someone named FICA, buying health insurance and paying someone named Uncle Sam didn’t factor into the equation.
So parents want to be kids again and kids want to be adults. It’s definitely not a new concept. I also find it interesting when parents say they look forward to their kids growing up and moving on. And yes, I said these same words. Most of us think our lives will be easier when our children become adults.
And this isn’t necessarily true. Although they eventually move on, the problems are different. Instead of worrying about Christmas and birthday gifts for your kids, you worry about them running with the wrong crowd or becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs.
As a parent, we try our best to show our children the right path and support them throughout their lives. Unfortunately, we cannot always reach them because they have their own minds and must learn on their own. We cannot live their lives for them and we shouldn’t want to.
My assessment is I don’t enjoy adulthood. If I could become a kid again, I would gladly do so under the condition that I could maintain the knowledge I have gained over my life. Otherwise, I would decline the offer to redo my childhood. My message is: Teens should make friends, play sports and enjoy their youth since it fades so quickly.
And if you are an adult with children, try to spend more time with your children and become active in their lives. Trust me, their youth will end before you know it. They will meet someone and fall in love and start their own families. Once this happens, you will have to take a backseat in their lives. Ecclesiastes 11:9 sums up my thoughts on youth:
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.”
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.