"Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard,
nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices." - Song of Songs 4: 13-14
**Photography by Melissa Talbot**
Is it just me or does being a responsible adult seem overrated? Especially considering we spend most of our adolescent life planning out all the things we'll do once we enter the world of adulthood. Nothing was greater than reaching the pinnacle of moving out on your own and being able to do whatever, whenever, however.
You would have your own place to entertain friends, be able to go out to clubs, and stay up as late as you wanted to. However, that didn't pay the rent or put Kraft dinner in your belly (for those of you out there who relied, heavily, on this culinary staple).
No, the fairy tale life of your older self soon fell into what's still known as reality and as we all know, reality tends to bite from time to time. So, you pull up your socks and get a job. Hopefully, one that pays good while giving you the freedom of weekends off to enjoy what's left of the fairy tale you thought being an adult would be.
There are times when I will be in the presence of children who say how they can't wait to be a grown up. More and more, I find the words, "Don't be in too much of a hurry", leave my lips. However, I used to be where they were, thinking that being young had too many drawbacks. You are under the watchful eyes of your parents who, in their best efforts, guide you along the road of your young life.
They discipline you when they need to, even though you believe putting gum in your sister's hair is completely valid and pretty. They keep you safe from things they know can harm you, otherwise, you would be hanging from the chandelier in the foyer of your house. You see it as adventurous, your parents see it as a trip to the emergency room. Potato, potaughto.
We're in constant rebellion against being too small to have full independence and being too big for our britches. I'm not sure there is ever a happy medium, but I'm sure that each kid, at some point in their life, longs to be their parents and experience what they believe to be freedom.
Let me assure you that the younger years should be lived out with excitement and awe because once the clock strikes twelve and you turn eighteen, a greater countdown begins. Not only will there be a long list of things you'll get to do when you're on your own in this new found 'freedom', but you will be paying for things you never thought possible.
Like car insurance, health insurance, and food. Yes, that's right, food. Something free that magically appeared on your parent's table for eighteeen years of life, now costs money. The once beautifully presented meatloaf is now mystery meat in a can and Mom's famous lasagne has turned into cup 'o' noodles. Yep, you've hit the jackpot becoming an adult.
We all have to grow up some time and if things went right in your childhood, your parents instilled a strong work ethic, taught you how to boil an egg, and went over basic car maintenance as a few survival tools they knew you would need once you left the nest.
I received all those things from my parents, and so much more, including invitations to come back to my childhhood home for dinner once in a while. As much as I yearned to be an adult as a kid, the appeal of now having that shiny prize was slowly and steadily wearing off.
Working for a living only to give thirty percent back to the government was offensive, to say the least. Paying off bills each month became a stressful event. Grocery shopping was short which rarely made it sweet. I liked food but there never seemed to be enough money to get everything I wanted. You still need to find a way to cook if the power gets shut off.
Thankfully, I didn't get into the situation that I couldn't pay the utility bills but there were many times when a little food had to last a long time. So, you got the things you knew would last - pasta, bread, cereal, and peanut butter - until the next paycheck.
Yep, being an adult meant living large...ly at a disadvantage if you weren't consistently employed. Sacrifices become the norm when making a decision between going out for the night or having gas for the car.
Not to say that all adults struggle because there are many who budget things out to ensure all the responsibilities are met prior to engaging in any entertainment at week's end. Maybe I struggled a lot because of years spending more than what I had and it, eventually, landed me in bankruptcy. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way and I can honestly say, I learned that lesson.
After going through the embarrassment and humiliation of losing everything, it became easier to adopt an attitude of humility while re-learning everything I thought I knew about money. Unfortunately, once I got through the period of time required to receive a bankruptcy discharge, the only way I thought I could repair my credit was to get into debt.
As irresponsible as that decision was, things turned around a couple years ago when I had a strong desire to get out of debt. I sold everything I could and did what needed to be done to earn extra money, including picking bottles. There is no greater liberation than to be debt free. I knew it had to be done and, thankfully, it was something God wanted done in my life.
Today, I am still debt free and plan to stay that way. There is no greater trap than to owe someone else money. Oh, adulthood and all of its realities.
While I'm grateful for all the things I have been able to do as an adult, there are certainly many days when I would, happily, trade my responsibilities for reversion to my childhood. When all I had to do is clean up my room and be back at the house in time for dinner, which was provided for free.
Yes, it is now in my forties that I re-think the spectacular draw of adulthood as bogus. When I sit on my couch and face the day with the heartfelt words, "I don't wanna be responsible today." When I'm struck with the realization that this adulthood isn't over yet, not by a long shot. So, for now, I'll march to my fridge, grab a popsicle and revert to my childhood, if only for a little while.
Encouragement for the week:
Ever feel like you are done being responsible? That you would like to pass the adult torch to someone else to carry forward on your behalf?
While I know how you feel, there is still that compulsion that tells you and me to keep going.
The Bible says that life, as a Christian, is much like a race and that even though we get tired and fed up with the day to day things we have to do as grown ups, we still need to not only run that race but run it well to the finish line.
If you are a Christian, you know it's not easy being an adult and there are times when we would rather sit it out, but God calls us to be strong and responsible so that we can be used by Him. Keep running the race because the greatest prize is yet to come.
If you are not a Christian, look for Jesus and you will find Him and all the strength He has to keep you going during the days you want to take a break from being a grown up.