Without any specific detail involved, I’m finding certain aspects of my adult life to be very, very difficult. More so than I ever, could ever have imagined. And I consider myself a(n overtly) self-aware person who takes note of when things are good, bad, and hideously ugly. The problem for me, though, isn’t that I can’t recognize that things are hard or not going the way I envisioned them, but that I feel I was not “prepared” enough throughout my life to handle the stress and strain of when reality stinks up your life like poo.
Now, this is not a blame game kind of post. I’m not hating on my parents who tried to raise me with no worries or stress. In fact, I remember making stress for myself as a tiny person (whether that be for the drama of the moment, a possible attempt at making a sweet life have “issues”, or some crazy biochemical imbalance that just likes to fight as all fiery blooded folks do). My parents were too good at never letting me reach a point where I was poor, hungry, out of fashion, or suffering from other maladies. And I spent my first 27 years thinking that life was my friend, we were tight homies, and that I had something incredible to offer this planet of ours.
Then…life got mean. It started to bully me. And then it started to win.
Not like mean in the sense that something TERRIBLE happened out of ordinary, but more so, life got real.
Like money real. When you have to work to afford a lifestyle of any kind, which puts a major cramp in this particular International Superhero’s style. An 8-4:30 existence literally BEATS the spirit out of you. It can’t help it. A cubicle is not a place where one (meaning me here, people) can touch others and create change through your physical presence. And knowing, I mean truly knowing, the cost of every item is a very draining sense of knowledge.
If I buy this, I can’t get a house.
If I buy that, I am wasting money.
Who really needs….(fill in the blank).
And suddenly, I have stress. I panic. I can’t decide what actually IS more important. Shampoo, dinner out, shoes, jeans, doggie treats, toilet paper, birthday gifts….AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Like relationship real. Where I am so used to getting my way, behaving how I want, doing things for only myself, traveling, saving, deciding, etc…all of it for one, me=1. But now I have to share my life totally with A SECOND HUMAN BEING, WHO IS NOT MY ALTER EGO. That’s bizarre. And hard. And harder still. You can’t necessarily walk out when you fight. You can’t magically just find yourself single and without couple drama (although I think if Willy Wonka made a magic candy pill for that, he might have a billion dollar operation on his hands…just saying). So, since you’re IN IT, you have to WORK THROUGH IT. God, it’s beyond hard.
Like loneliness, frustration, sickness, sadness, anger real. All of these things rear their ugly ass heads, and it’s up TO YOU to deal with them.
But what if you just don’t how to do that?
What if you were raised SO well, you were cared for SO completely, things managed to be so well avoided that heartbreak was never a visitor to your home? What happens when life actually “starts” and you don’t have any methods, tools, or action plans for how to deal with it? Where does the development to deal with the poop that life can offer begin? Where do you learn humor, perspective, honesty, and kindness towards dealing with our hardships? What if you never get fucked over, fucked up, in trouble, heart-broken, cheated, dissed, dumped, abandoned, lose everything, and yet lost the one thing that meant everything to you? How do you cope when you have no experience to do so?
So, without raising my own children, I make this bold, bold statement about how our kids should be allowed to see the light of their own lives in vivid TECHNICOLOR:
Let them fail. Not everything, but some things so that they can taste that bitterness and know whether they want it in their mouths again.
Let them fall. It makes it so much easier to get up once you have learned the trick and elegance to a good tumble.
Let them get a job early. It’s better to know how crappy minimum wage can be from the beginning. NO ALLOWANCES for love. ALLOWANCES for work.
Teach them to communicate. Demonstrate stepping outside of the “known” box and seeing how it feels. Teach them love. Teach them to love. Teach them to love themselves. Help but don’t carry. Allow them to problem solve. Let them figure things out on their own first and then step in to make adjustments. BE THERE, to listen, not to fix.
I want my children, my friends’ children, my students, my nieces and nephews to experience life for themselves, knowing they are loved, understanding that there are wingmen everywhere willing to step in and help when it’s required, but also learning how to do and recover on their own. Because when they’re old enough to know how important it is, we can only hope they have their own skill set to not just survive but thrive.