On Being An Adult

SPOILER ALERT!!! If you don’t want to suddenly find out how the GOW series ends, I suggest you turn back.
…….Ok. I warned you.


“Wuteva, I do what I want!” It’s a quote I stole from South Park’s Eric Cartman and it’s exactly how I live my life.

I say it to my wife all the time in response to her telling me what to do. Now, let me be clear: I understand that the phrase is rebellious and rude. I understand it’s a go-to phrase for an immature person who doesn’t accept responsibility for their actions. I know it’s snide and is usually met with slatted eyes and reproach. I’m completely aware that I can’t use it all willy nilly, otherwise it would result in a lot more than just a look that says “who the fuck do you think you are?”

My point being, I’ve long come to terms with the purpose of the phrase and have been using it responsibly ever since.

When we were young, our parents limited everything we did. They said we weren’t old enough. They said we weren’t ready. Or they didn’t offer any explanation at all. “Because I said so.” And whether we accepted that answer or not was irrelevant, because they said so. So we got this attitude about being a child. There was this ever-brewing anger that bubbled up whenever someone stood in the way of what we wanted. It wasn’t fair. A six-year-old person is still a person, right? I remember making these (not so) quiet promises to whoever had “protected” me this time or foiled my well laid plans to get ice cream from the truck that they should just wait until I was an adult. I would have all the money and would buy all the ice cream and eat all the candy I wanted. Because as we all know, the moment you turn 18, you are granted a large sum of money. You should have heard of the many cars I planned on having. And the house! Oh my, the house I planned on having when I was a child was enormous enough to hold all my cars, a mountain of toys, all my wives (I’ll address that another day), and a room for my money. I didn’t need a bed. I would sleep on the cash. I even invited my family to visit from time to time.

So then came the day, so much sooner than my math had calculated, that I turned 18. I wasn’t expecting (a lot of) money anymore. I had long grown out of the silly ideals of my barely developed self, but I thought there would at least be some grand feeling involved with being recognized as an adult in the eyes of the man. I thought I would finally get everything I wanted. You know what the first thing was that I got? A punch. And then 18 more (one for good luck). Turning 18 doesn’t make you a man or a woman. It surely doesn’t make you an adult. It makes you legally responsible in a court of law. It makes you eligible for all of the government perks like financial aid and the draft. They don’t warn you that unless you’ve long been emancipated from your parents and have been raising yourself, you are no more grown than that foolish child. What they didn’t warn me of was that I would still be a boy.

No matter how happy I was with life, I didn’t have what I wanted. I didn’t even know what I wanted.
So how do you do what you want?
It starts by doing what you need. It starts with a whole lot of sacrifice.

I’ll refer to the story of Kratos from the God of War game series (Life often comes down to a game analogy). If my memory serves me correctly (feel free to correct me), Kratos was a general in a war who became angry at the gods after a series of unfortunate events led to the deaths of his wife and daughter (he might have been tricked into killing them). All he wanted after that was revenge, in the form of the deaths of all those responsible. At first it was it was simply Zeus and Ares, but things got out of hand, everyone got involved, and it turned into many hours of slaying mythical beasts and their masters. The entire series is Kratos on a gory rampage, sacrificing (or brutally killing) others to get his revenge. Even the game play dynamics require you to collect phoenixes feathers and Gorgons’ eyes and other various bodily trinkets, which the character sacrifices for larger health and magic bars.

Such is life.

I’m not saying you need to go out on a rampage to get what you want. I am absolutely not saying that. I’m saying you need to put aside other things to get what you want. You have to work. You have to work hard.  There are 24 hours in the day for all of us, yes, but that is literally the only thing we all have in common. Otherwise, we have to grind at different speeds and in different ways to get ahead. Jane Doe may have to work so much harder than Janice Dean for whatever unexplained reason (its her silly name, that’s why), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t both kicking their asses to get somewhere.

This doesn’t only concern a career and money. This applies to literally everything. You’re late and you wanna make the bus, you run. Why? Because you want to get there on time. Otherwise you would leave whenever you pleased. And if you say you don’t want to be there on time, it’s because you have to, I say, that’s because you want the result of getting on that bus in the first place. It’s really all about things we want, and the things we have to do to get them. It’s about giving into the necessary to accomplish dreams. I just got up and washed the dishes. I hate washing dishes. But, I wanted a clean bowl to put my soup in. I also didn’t want to have to wash them at a later date. I also didn’t want to hear from my roommate4life about them. Even now, as I am writing this, I am sacrificing precious time I should be spending on an assignment, because I love to write and this is fresh on my fingertips. I want to get it done.

You want a baller job? They aren’t giving that away at the unemployment office. But they are handing them at the end of a road filled with time, work, lots of reading, exhaustion, sleeping on public transportation, missed social calls, learning and an eventual understanding of who you want to be in life. Do what you want, but realize that everything comes at the cost of doing what you need. 



One thought on “On Being An Adult

  1. Good point. When I was young my mom would buy my clothes and I never had a say in it. When I grew up I vowed that I’ll do whatever I want and live on my own terms. Now I realized that even buying pants, as I live from paycheck to paycheck, requires hard work.

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