Archives For Adults

Yesterday’s post featured a list compiled by Marius Auer, called “10 Awesome Things About Being a Kid“. I liked his list, and largely agreed with his assessment of the benefits of being a youngster.

However, in the interest of providing a platform for an opposing view, I will now present, having peered through the opposite end of the spectrograph, an alternate perspective. That’s just the kind of fair minded and egalitarian blog this is.

10 Awesome Things About Not Being a Kid Anymore

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1. While it is true that, as an adult, I am saddled with an onerous duty to pay taxes, it is ultimately because I get a paycheck. In fact, this paycheck means real cash dollars in my grubby little fist that I am free to — after taxes — spend any way I please. I don’t even need to run it past Mom or anything.

2. It is also true that as an adult, I bear the responsibility to plan, procure, and prepare meals. But, because I am in possession of real cash dollars (see point No. 1), I am completely free to plan these meals around whatever appetites or hankerings I may have. And, if I so choose, I can even skip the planning-procuring-preparing parts and head to one of a plethora of dining establishments, since — once again — I have real cash dollars at my disposal and wouldn’t need to run this decision past Mom either.

Picture993. I may not know the significant differences between an X-box and a Play Station, but I can tell you the difference between 14 and 24 carat, Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine, and Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Booyah!

4. I’m not going to propose something ignorant like, “Let’s celebrate our wrinkles!”, but neither should their appearing be devastating. A conference speaker once made the comment that she couldn’t imagine anything much worse than growing old and being afraid of losing one’s beauty. Those to whom wrinkles signify they’ve lost something unthinkable… youth, which must be preserved at all cost — will probably divert some of their real cash dollars toward nips and tucks. But such measures will never prevent aging. Embracing the notion that wrinkles are an inevitable part of the cycle of life and greeting their onset with a measure of acceptance, will bring a wonderful freedom. A freedom to anchor one’s self-worth in something much deeper and nearer our core than mere appearance. No longer able to derive personal significance from taut, ripped or otherwise gorgeous exteriors, we gain the liberty to say no to such things as impractical, bunion-causing stilletos. It’s great to be an adult.

5. Getting old isn’t as negative as our youth-worshiping culture would have us believe. With each stage of life we pass through, we have opportunity to enter new and fascinating territory. As one who has been through the college and early marriage phase with its acquisition of knowledge, slightly scary, bold firsts, and wonder; the little kids phase with its sleepless nights, runny noses, giggles, story books, and wonder; the adolescent phase with its high energy, boundless possibility, attitude and wonder; and the empty nest with its adult-to-adult conversations, budding careers, new little families, and wonder — I can attest to the reality of every phase being richer than the preceding one. Aging = adventuring.

6. I am no longer constrained to attend school: I am free to choose it. As a perpetual learner, I can now select subjects that pique my interest, study them at my pace, whenever I choose. I like that.

7. If I’m so inclined, I can learn to speak Technology As a Second Language. Or, if not, I can just invite one of the kids over to the house and ask him to reformat, install, download, upload, sync, or otherwise get our gadgets and toys set up for us. I have options. And either way works.

8. “Manual labor” *gulp* is no longer a bad word. (I know, that was two words…) Adults understand that work yields highly rewarding dividends, such as personal satisfaction and pride in accomplishment. We throw ourselves into things like planting gardens, interior remodeling projects, or restoring vintage autos. And for those manual tasks we’d rather avoid, we’re often able to hire someone to do them for us, because — once again —  we command those real cash dollars. 

Well, there you have it. Eight awesome things about no longer being a kid!atm-machine11

[Now I think I’ll go find a puddle and jump in it. Right after I stop by an ATM…]

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Dad-isms

September 12, 2013 — 1 Comment

I suppose every parent has a collection of sayings that stick in their kids’ heads. Some would get used often; others, you maybe heard only once, but they were memorable. My dad had his share. I’m surprised, looking back, by how many I would hear very literally, completely missing the idiom. As a result, I’d often wind up confused. It wasn’t until I got older that I understood the nuances of the expressions. This is how I would hear some of the things he said:

“Never send a boy to do a man’s job.”

I would usually hear this one after being sent to fetch a tool from his workbench or toolbox. I would have brought him the wrong tool, whereupon he would employ this saying. Which would leave me wondering which part of me being a girl didn’t he get? In fact, according to my reasoning, I technically couldn’t even do a boy’s job, much less a man’s job. Years later, I realized he simply meant he’d dispatched someone who didn’t understand the task as given. (Monkey wrenches, crescent wrenches, allen wrenches — I mean, how’s a kid supposed to know which one’s which?)

“Don’t go blackberry picking in an evening gown.”

I heard this one the first time I ever wore nylon stockings. I was feeling rather pleased by the fact that my mom had given me such a vote of confidence and bought me a pair, and my dad’s comment made me think he suspected I might actually do something that reckless. I think it hurt my feelings a little. Again, I later realized he was just noting that I had ascended to a new level of finery and would be behaving more like a young lady than a girl. No need to have gotten sensitive about it.

When I was about thirty years old we moved to a place in the country and had access to wild blackberry bushes. Every time I went out to pick them, my dad’s words would ring in my ears.

“Who left all these lights on? Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

This one was two-for-the-price-of-one. For starters: it would take a team on a par with Holmes and Watson to sort out who, given that seven people lived in the house, actually entered the room first and turned on the light in the first place, who entered the room subsequently, who was still in the room when the person who turned on the lights left, whether or not it was the responsibility of the second person to be mindful of the lights, since they didn’t have the natural prompt of having flipped the switch upon entering the room, and so forth. You see, establishing culpability gets sticky rather quickly. (And believe me, that’s exactly where my mind would go with that one.)

The second part, as to money growing on trees: I understood what that one meant, but it tickled me nevertheless — the mental picture of a tree with dollar bills hanging from it just was so ludicrous. But in any situation wherein Dad would have uttered these words, he wouldn’t have been in an ideal mood for humor, so I stifled any amusement.

And finally, one of my all-time favorites:

“Don’t make me stop this car.”

I’ll bet the number of kids who have ever heard that in their life is legion. What struck me as peculiar about this expression was that my dad never, ever actually stopped the car. Not even once (as far as I can remember). So really, it was just a threat. But an effective threat nonetheless, since I knew I never wanted to find out what would happen if he ever did stop the car. Upon hearing that line, I always piped down and immediately stopped carrying on.

In the course of a typical work day, I interact frequently with international students, both undergraduates and graduates. If I happen to use an idiomatic expression in conversation, I’m usually mindful that the meaning is often lost to non-native English speaking people because the phrases don’t translate well literally. If I get a puzzled look, I’ll stop and explain what the idiom means and how it came into being. Sometimes I am successful in getting the idea across and in other instances, I’m not.

Now here’s something curious: I don’t give a second thought to using those same kinds of expressions when talking with children — probably because they speak the mother tongue. I just forget they might be too young for abstraction. I wonder how often I’ve left one of them scratching their heads as to what in the world I meant.

And I was so adamant I would never do the goofy things my parents did…

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