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‘Grown-up’ is highly overrated

Remember how you used to dream about all those things you would do when you got all grown up?

Those were the days when I considered my parents old and my grandparents absolutely ancient. When I got angry with my mother during those years because she wouldn’t allow me to do certain things or I was limited because I was too young, I sulked in the privacy of my room. I secretly counted off what I would do when I grew up.

Sitting there on my bed, I compiled a long list. I would go to bed when I pleased, get up when I pleased, eat what I liked and as much dessert as I wanted when I wanted. I would not eat squash or oatmeal. I would also go where I wished, be friends with anyone I wanted to even if they did say ugly words and sneak around and smoke cigarettes, and go barefoot anytime I pleased.

The more I pondered, the worse it got. I would skip my homework, neglect to address my teachers and the principal with “Yes mam,” “no mam” and “yes sir” and “no sir.”

Wow, when I was angry, those were some of my high hopes for my adult life. As time passed, of course, I learned that doing what I pleased was not exactly what being an adult was all about.   Maybe if children knew that with adulthood comes responsibility and with that comes cares, along with the joy, maybe they would not be in such a hurry to get there.

One summer when I was little, I disobeyed my parents and followed them down a red rock road where Daddy worked on a deep well water pump. Racing along barefoot, I cut my foot on a sharp rock. Daddy had to stop what he was doing so they could rush me to our country doctor’s house 15 miles from us. I remember screaming as he sewed up the cut. My screams were not so much from the pain, but an effort to cover my guilt and stir my parents’ sympathy. I knew all that could have been avoided if I had done as they told me.

I had been sick the first part of summer vacation and confined to the house most of the time. The new wound meant I had to be off my feet several more weeks. I felt cheated out of my vacation that summer. Despite that, though, I enjoyed going back to school at the beginning of a new term. As the school year wore on, the days seemed to get longer and my longing for summer vacation set in.

As an adult, and a senior one at that, it seems these days as if there are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I should do and want to do. Now that I am grown up, it isn’t quite as easy as I imagined long ago when I sat and pouted.

 

 

Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper industry.