Trading Boxed Wine for Wine Tasting: A Review of Adulthood
The other day I found myself in a bit of a funk. Nothing serious, just the kind of funk that makes you forget to rinse the shampoo out of your hair or say “good morning” to someone at 8pm. Certainly, it was nothing like the time I answered a question from one of the company’s female vice-presidents with “yes sir.” That kept me up for weeks. No no, this was more of a subtle thing, brought about by reflection over the current Greek economic crisis. My political opinions on the current Greek situation (which are incredibly basic and only as detailed as NPR’s 5-minute top-of-the-hour updates allow them to be) aside, this is yet another example of my further entrenchment into Adult Life.
In the olden days, by the time you were 24 you would have popped out 3-4 babies and would be well on your way to building your first log cabin out of logs that you felled with your own ax. Those 24-year-olds were strong, masculine guys who never had a fear about anything. In fact, it’s probably best that you just envision them a being a small army of lumberjacks. And envision the women all holding parasols to block out the sun. Also imagine lots of top hats. And throw the Incredible Hulk in there (hey, my vision, my rules). Anyways, today I feel as though the maturation process takes place much slower, with less triumphant entry into the adult world and instead creeping adult thoughts that slowly invade your consciousness.
Adult Life is the drug you literally can’t avoid taking, a daily dose of responsibility that threatens to overload even the strongest of us and turn us into sweater-wearing dads who drive around in hybrid cars and get excited for new garden tools. It oftentimes feels like all Adulthood does is rob all the fun and spontaneity from life and replace it with taxes and an ongoing effort to work through all the episodes of Seinfeld on Netflix [ed.—Seinfeld is unfortunately not on Netflix Streaming at the time of publication]. Some cons to growing up involve: not being able to drink every night of the week, paying for health insurance, John Grisham novels, pretending to care about local politics, and waking up before 10am. When I shouted at my girlfriend “what’s the worst part of growing up?” (heavily researched review you are reading right here), her response was “life.” So there’s that.
Among the fiscal and social responsibilities that come with getting older, there are the occasional bright spots as well. For one, it’s actually pretty nice not being broke all the time. This is obviously true to varying degrees based on different careers, but I would wager a guess that the vast majority of people end up with more money than they had in high school. No more bagels for every meal for this full fledged adult—now I will have them for only TWO meals a day, thank you very much! Also, along with money comes the ability to pursue literally ANY hobby. A couple weeks back I looked into getting into Civil War reenactments. Younger me would NEVER have had that thought, and would probably punch me in the face if he saw those Google searches. However, another important part of Adult Life is getting old man strength. For the record, I haven’t gotten that quite yet—I think it kicks in around 35? But one of the rules of time travel is that the older version is always stronger/wiser/better. Hey, I don’t make the rules. Back to the point though, Adult Life frees you up to do literally anything with your free time. At school, after school you have homework and other responsibilities that are imposed on you. For most jobs in the current mish-mash of corporate struggles and governmental regulations we call the economy, after you leave work at the end of the day you are free to not think about it until you return the next day. This frees you up for so many activities! You could go bowling. You could cook an elaborate meal. You could cook macaroni and cheese. You could read a John Grisham novel! (I lied earlier. I like legal dramas.) The possibilities are endless.
While you no longer can test the limits of your liver on a nightly basis, sleep in until the afternoon and then watch Jersey Shore for 3 hours, Adult Life overall is a hell of a ride when you realize you can do literally anything. For every purchase of a vacuum cleaner and the implied scouring of consumer reports to find the longest lasting suction (insert that-vacuum-sucks joke here), there are three trips to see the Harlem Globetrotters and one attempt to contact Jeff Goldblum, just because why not. And when the worst part of your day is your boss using smiley-face emoticons in work emails that make everyone vaguely uncomfortable, you are doing OK. I would take that over the late nights of homework, studying, feelings of failure, reevaluation of your life choices, and internal struggle to quit school and become a radio DJ any day of the week.
Adult Life: Trading the constant emotional swings between college parties and college classes for the ability to do whatever you want with the possible exception of assaulting strangers.