I hate the term adulting. I hate hearing people say that “adulting is hard.”
It’s like saying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are delicious beyond compare. Both are givens. And the trend of bemoaning being an adult has me concerned. I fear we are becoming a nation that favors infantile behavior and demands positive reinforcement for the most basic behavior.
Take voting. For the past several weeks my social media has been flooded with selfies of people who have voted. It’s like posting a picture of you washing your hands. Because of course you should vote. It’s “adulting 101.” Just like, of course, you should wash your hands. There should be zero affirmation needed for doing the base line requirement for being 18 and over.
(Now, if someone wanted to post a picture or video of a toilet paper roll being changed I would be more impressed because apparently, that’s become upper-level adulting.)
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I recently read a study that talked about millennials in the workplace. The research done over several years revealed that millennials favor awards for their accomplishments over bonuses. WTH?
This scared me so much I send off an email to my children (in all caps). That yeah, adulting will be hard when you take an award that a company probably bought in bulk off Amazon in exchange for cold, hard cash. Technically, they are both too young to be millennials, but I wanted to make sure they had in writing to never, ever fall for the award scam.
Because you know what happens to all those awards? In a couple of years, they become basement detritus. If you had expressed a desire to be financially rewarded, well I won’t bore you with the math, but those dollars could be working for you.
Some of the blame for this, I fear, should be on our parental shoulders. Yikes. I think we made our kids award junkies.
My youngest is just 18, but starting in pre-school there was an award for everything. From most quiet during story time to best at lining up for recess. Then, once they started doing rec sports, it become an award extravaganza. I’m sure a huge portion of the landfills in America are teeming with discarded 8 and under soccer trophies. There’s a whole business sector now that deals with recycling trophies.
By the time your kid gets to be about 7 they have a certain expectation that they will be getting a trophy no matter what. It’s not good. I used to call it the “congratulations you’re a carbon life form award.” Now, this award mania has seeped into their adult life and we have raised a generation that wants awards and high fives for being a carbon life form that’s able to legally drink in every state.
Another thing that’s weird to me is the assumption that you can pick and choose when you want to be an adult. When did being an adult become an option? Can you really decide that on Monday you’re not feeling the whole grown up thing then on Wednesday think you can manage to do some “adulting?”
(Pro tip. For those who opt in and out of adulting, don’t become a parent because pretty much every single day is parent day.)
The truth is that yes, adulting is hard and no one is going to give you an award for making your mortgage payment (unless you give yourself a high five) but living in a Peter Pan world where you never choose to grow up has to be, in the long run, even harder.