Wednesday, July 22, 2015

What They Don't Tell You

Do I have to decide right now?
What do you want to be when you grow up?

That's the question we ask kids, right? It's the question we were asked as kids. What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's the wrong question, because there really is only one acceptable answer. Happy.

So the question we should be asking kids is--how are you going to be happy when you grow up? In fact, I wonder what kind of answer a child would give. Would they look at us like we are crazy? Would they simply reply, "Duh!" Because, I bet, to most children, it's seems kind of easy.

Do stuff you like. Hang out with people you like. Watch funny movies. Laugh. Sing. Dance. And if the child is a boy, possibly--make fart noises.

I guess it is pretty simple, but there is a lot about adulthood they never tell you.

I met a really nice woman recently at my kids' soccer game. We struck up a conversation and hit it off. Our kids didn't attend the same school. They weren't on the same teams, but we had a lot in common nonetheless. So two days later when this woman coincidentally walked into my place of business (she didn't know where I worked), and we hit it off again, I thought maybe we're supposed to be friends. Maybe we met each other twice in three days for a reason. Which would be nice. It's sometimes hard to make new friends as adults. We often become restricted by our workplace or neighborhood. I've been lucky to have awesome co-workers and fantastic neighbors, but that's not always the case everyone. And if it's not the case, how do you go about making friends as an adult? No one tells you how to do that.

So it got me to thinking, what else don't they tell you about adulthood.

My oldest daughter is a fairly new adult, only 23. She has great insight. Here's her answer:

You never poop normally again after pregnancy. You can't make your own friends. Spiraling depression is almost guaranteed. No one really cares about you other than your family. You'll make more money and still never have enough. You can't call out sick. You are always going to avoid going to the doctor and just hope you don't die. You never have to do to the dentist again if you don't want to. But then your teeth are probably rotting. You actually want to sit at the kids' table again to avoid having to talk about your shitty life with other shitty adults. Don't ever think about new clothes. Not gonna happen. Overall, no one has any idea what they are doing, and no one ever admits when they're doing it wrong! 

So, given that perspective, why in the world are we asking kids what they want to be when they grow up? Instead, why aren't we asking them how they are going to be happy when they grow up. Contrary to what my daughter's answer might insinuate, she does actually have a pretty awesome life, and she is grateful for it. She's simply a realist. With that kind of reality, shouldn't we be teaching our kids to focus on happiness rather than occupation? Besides, I know 100 people who aren't doing now what they thought they would be doing when they grew up. The real trick is to be happy doing...or not doing it.

So, how are you gonna be happy when you grow up? Here's a tip...if you aren't dead, it's not too late.

No comments:

Post a Comment