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Enjoy Being a Kid Because it's Hard Being an Adult.

Child smiling laying down.

“Enjoy being a kid.” My mom used to tell me that when I was younger and I’m really glad that she did. I distinctly remember listening to her and doing as she said. She told me this before I was a teenager and therefore, I was much more open to listening to her. My young brain listened to everything my mother told me. I tell my kids the same thing these days with hopes that they will listen to me. I’m now smart enough to know there is the possibility that the second my kids hit their teens they won’t listen to a damn thing I say.

What no one tells us is how hard being an adult is. Let’s be honest, most of the time being an adult in mundane at best. If we are lucky enough to live in a country where we have freedom, food and shelter we shouldn’t complain about anything. I honestly can’t imagine being an adult who didn’t have those basic necessities. But here I am complaining. What it comes down to is that being a responsible adult is downright depressing often times.

As adults we have to pay bills, and if you’re anything like me you’re probably not working a job that inspires you. It’s most likely not the job you rattled off when you were a kid after someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. What child says that they want to grow up to work in middle management? Not too many I would guess. Although my job is one of the better ones I’ve had in my life, I do not enjoy it. I don’t hate it, but I also don’t like it. I feel neutral on something that I spend 40 hours a week on. I spend more waking hours at work than I do with my children. Tell me that isn’t depressing.

Before I go off on a tangent about my job, I should note that it does have a number of perks that prevent me from stabbing myself in the neck with my pencil, one of these perks being who I work for. I’m very lucky to have a boss who’s smart, kind, and helpful. She gives me the best work/life balance I can expect from an 8 to 5 gig. I also work from home and therefore have no commute. The pay is not bad either and to be honest I’m probably making a bit more than the average person in my field. But that is where the good things end.

My work does not inspire or excite me in any way shape or form. I have no passion for it. I work hard and I do a good job because I have a strong work ethic, however if I’m being really honest working in cooperate America kills a little part of my soul each day. As I mentioned the amount of time my job takes away from me is ridiculous. Who the hell came up with the standard 40-hour work week? I understand that we aren’t going to work for 2 days and have 5 off, but we couldn’t do 4 days on with 3 days off? Is that too much to ask for? Apparently so.

I’ve never been the type of person to accept the situation I’m in, so I’m trying to do what I can to make more money in hopes that I can quit one day before I’m 65. I’ve written a memoir about my journey through alcoholism and I’m doing all I can to find an agent. I must admit it’s been a daunting process and I’ve been wondering if I should self-publish in order to get the book out there in case it could help someone.

Meanwhile I’ve got braces I have to pay for as well as basketball shoes, a leaking water pipe and who knows what’s next. You, dear reader, understand because you’re living it the same as I am, maybe even worse. My parents aren’t sick, nor are my kids, thank God. Nonetheless I’m exhausted all of the time. It’s both mental and physical exhaustion that I feel. I don’t sleep anymore. Sometimes it’s stress that keeps me up and other times it’s simply being in my mid 40’s. It doesn’t matter what the cause, I’m lacking large amounts of sleep and it’s starting to take its toll.

Woman with her face in her hands.

Mentally I’m at my wits end most of the time. All day long at work I’m making decisions that affect other people. I don’t want to mess that up. At home I’m taking care of my kids, cleaning the house and cooking. I come last and if I’m being completely honest that really sucks at times. Don’t get me wrong, I chose to have two children and I would not change that for the world. They have made me a better person; my life would lack meaning without them. I just never realized how little adults get for themselves on a daily basis.

My kids are old enough that they have started telling me all the things they don’t want to do. They don’t want to put the dishes away, go to school or feed the pets. In moments of frustration, I have tried to explain that I do things every single day that I don’t want to do. Tonight, when I was putting my son to sleep this topic came up again. However, this time something funny and sad happened. My son was complaining about not wanting to do something. I started explaining to him how each of my days are filled with tasks I don’t want to do. I told him that most days I don’t do anything for myself, not one thing. He looked at me and said, “I know one thing you do for yourself; you drink coffee each day”. It was one of the sweetest and saddest things all wrapped up in one. As put him to sleep it occurred to me how sad it is that the only thing, I do for myself is make a cup of coffee.

Adulthood is also lonely, and no one ever tells you that. When you’re a kid you are constantly surrounded by other kids at school. Even if you have a small family, you are always around teachers and your peers throughout most of the year. When you’re an adult you’re typically surrounded by people you work with. In today’s virtual world even if you go into an office, you are highly unlikely to interact with those people that sit near you because you’re busy on your computer. A lot of the time I find myself alone, after being tied to my desk for 8 to 9 hours it’s a struggle between relaxing a little after my kids go to sleep and wanting human interaction. As an adult I don’t have a group of people I can talk too when I’m sad or happy. Plus, a lot of people are too wrapped up in their own problems to be able to listen to yours.

Even though there are many things that make me happy, the feelings change when you are an adult. Yes, I love my children, my fiancé, and my immediate family, but on a daily basis I don’t do things that I enjoy that children do. When we are kids, everything makes you happy. It could be playing with a friend, watching a good TV show, or putting on a favorite outfit. Whatever the thing is suddenly your filled with joy. As an adult I’m constantly searching for the little things in order to get through each day. I feel like most days I don’t have enough time to spend on important things like my children and fiancé. Instead, I’m sitting in a meeting, doing laundry or vacuuming.

When you are a child you get into a groove, each day might be the same, but you attack it with joy and awe. As an adult you are stuck in a rut. Your routine dictates your life and when you deviate from it you feel worse about yourself because you’re out of sync. Adults, you worry about all of the unknowns that your future holds while as a kid your life is full of opportunities.

Piggy Bank

I believe the way to brighten up the bleak world of adulthood is to produce personal freedom. How do I do that is the question? How do I give myself more time to do the things that I love? How do I even discover what those things are? I’ve always thought the answer could be found in achieving financial freedom. I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but I do believe it free’s up time. If I can find more time to do some things for myself, I think that I would be happier which in turn would make me a better wife, mother, and daughter. At the same time, what if I’m wrong? There is the very real possibility that pursuit of financial gain won’t help me find what brings me joy. I don’t know what the answer is. But I’m going to do my best to find out. In the meantime, I need to remind my kids to enjoy being kids tomorrow, and then I’m going to make myself a cup of coffee.


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Image by Tim Mossholder


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