I would think that it is fairly normal for kids to be asked what they want to be when they grow up. Some kids naturally have it all figured out. These are the ones who respond with something super intelligent like they want to be a doctor, lawyer or CEO—something they likely have no idea about the intensity of the work, but still, they know that that is what they want to do. Then you’ve got your big dreamers who say they want to be an athlete, movie star, famous world-class fashion designer—something they may think is pretty glamorous and elite. Then there were the rest of us who weren’t really sure, but maybe we’d be a teacher one day and traveling the world the next. You know, nothing too crazy.
I didn’t know for sure what career would be a good fit for me, but somehow so many of us shared this ludicrous idea that all of the perks that came with not having to pay bills or worrying about keeping food on the table would transfer over into adulthood. Maybe it was just me. I thought that grade school would be a breeze, then high school and college a piece of cake, and then of course, just live life without a care in the world.
Nobody mentioned the 12-hour shifts and back pain.
Every day we would play outside, racing, running through an old, wooden tree-house, terrified of coming face-to-face with one of the bumblebees who took up residence there. We would fight over who got to use the swing sets first, who could jump on the trampoline the highest, who could make it across the monkey bars the fastest and who had the worst blisters. We ran and ran until the sun went down and our parents took us home in a car that was already paid for.
Nobody mentioned the bills.
We would keep the lights on after leaving each room with the TV turned up loud and the fan or heater on full blast, depending on the time of year. Electricity wasn’t a commodity. It was just...there. We didn’t understand why our parents would fuss at us for such minute things, paying attention to all the details that didn’t matter.
Nobody mentioned the fatigue and health issues.
If you were sick, you just took medicine and felt better. If you were tired, you took a nap, got up, and had energy again. We didn’t understand why the adults were always in such grumpy moods. We didn’t think about the responsibilities, the endless responsibilities, and how they would follow us around wherever we went for years like backpacks strapped to us, weighing us down, making us so tired that a full night’s sleep couldn’t even lessen the load.
Nobody mentioned all of the choices and how they would affect not only ourselves but our loved ones, co-workers, teammates, store clerks, fellow drivers, classmates—everyone. Nobody mentioned these things, and quite frankly, I’m a little upset about it.
I suppose it’s not all bad.
Nobody mentioned how much you would value your friendships with the people who supported you the most. Nobody mentioned how you would learn to push through hard times because you had to be strong for someone else. Nobody mentioned how rewarding it would feel to help someone who had next to nothing. Nobody mentioned the pain that would come from goodbyes or the joy that would come from new beginnings.
Despite all these things, I still think adulthood is a scam, because while everyone else wants to be a millionaire, I really just want a nap.