We need adultier adults
This meme is a running joke between me and my friends. Or my friends and I. We occasionally post on social media about how we have successfully 'adulted' for the day. 'Adulting' being the act of successfully doing something grown- up that you've never done before.Keyword being: successfully. And I know that there is a section of baby-boomers that's sick of this millennial habit of constantly documenting our supposed triumphs for the whole world to see, but I'm pretty sure they'd be doing the same thing if they'd this technology at their disposal in their hey-day. Heck! who I am I kidding?! They did do the same thing.. through phone calls, letters and postcards.
But back to the meme. Being an adult is hard work.. the first time around anyway. I had an experience last year when I accompanied 3 teenage girls to the hospital. Reason being we were at camp and I was a counsellor and they had some injuries that needed to be looked at by a doctor. Nothing too serious (Although I feel like being a medic, my definition of serious is very different from the average Joe's). They were just things that could not be properly managed by the contents of a first aid kit. So there I was, getting them checked-in , finding-out what needs to be paid for and how much it cost, trying not to look so frustrated because I'd never really been on the service-receiving side of the hospital , keeping their folks updated and taking time to cheer them (the girls) up and make sure they were emotionally okay and what-not. I was basically their mom for the day!
I remember looking- up at some point and asking God to help me keep it together. And He did help me do just that. Until it was over and I could finally crash down for a nap after having depleted all my extrovert energy supplies for the day.
Never before had I been the designated responsible adult in such a situation. There had always been a more accomplished adult to take the reins and get things done while I stood-by ready to help out if necessary. But this time I had to go it alone.
But this is not the only time I've suddenly found myself making big decisions and taking even bigger steps all by myself. It's not as if I didn't know what to do. It was just a bit jarring to be the one totally in charge for the first time. And also kind of liberating. Because now if I'm ever in a similar situation again I'll have that cool facade that adults always seemed to have when I was growing up. Something akin to years of experience with a dash of wisdom. I count myself lucky though because I am surrounded by adultier adults (forgive me grammar Nazis) who've taken the time in various capacities to either show me or tell me how things are done. Or even pat my shoulder and say 'there there! ' when things don't go quite the way I planned. Sometime they've laughed at me before remembering they were supposed to be sympathetic and supportive, but it's the thought that counts.
Not everyone my age or younger has been that fortunate. Mostly we flounder-along trying our best and ignoring the sting when our best isn't good enough. And then we take it too far when the weekend rolls round and we're trying to 'blow off steam'. What we really need is for someone to tell us that it's OK for some things to be awkward. That sometimes the best laid plans fail. And that our teenage goals for when we turned 25 might not necessarily be a reality but we're not the only ones (On that note can we all take a moment to giggle collectively as we remember those goals we had set for when we were to turn 25!).
But most importantly we need someone to tell us when we're about to make monumentally stupid decisions without sounding condescending in the process. We need people who are already successful adults to tell us that they messed up too and then explain how they got out of those messes.
On the flip side we need to realise that for those who are just barely coming of age, we are the adultier adults. The sort of revered older brother/ sister who's just old enough to have more money and responsibilities but still young enough to be cool and understanding of their struggles . And they are watching us whether we want them to or not..whether we know it or not. So it's our responsibility to set a good example.
They in turn are setting an example for those kids who are 11/12 years old now and are grappling with the reality of acne and other awkward body stories.
That is how you change a generation. Not by lamenting about them on social media or looking at them suspiciously but by taking them by the hand and walking with them. So will the adultier adults please stand- up!