I was reading through Hyperbole and a Half and came across a post about how the author needed to be famous by Thursday. The entire blog is by Allie, a girl with a relatively awesome case of ADD and a lot of her amusing and almost entirely true adventures, and is absolutely a fantastic read if you have the time for it. The post I found, however, had a fantastic line in it that I reproduce for you, below:
“Wear a brown ribbon in honor of my cause (nobody has dibs on brown yet, right?) This will not only help me, but it will raise awareness for terminally adult people all over the world.” – Hyperbole and a Half
Now, the post itself is kinda silly as hell, but that line absolutely jumped out at me, specifically the phrase “terminally adult people.” It’s one of those rare moments of absolute genius – it’s a fantastically adept way of describing a serious problem that we seem to have in society, these days. People reach a certain age and suddenly there’s no more room for childishness, no more room for procrastination, no more room for just blowing everything off and going for a walk in the park. You reach a certain age and everything is suddenly thrust at you and you’ve got to pick up the ends and run with it.
Now, a lot of this could be interpreted as, “He’s just upset that he’s got to pay bills and deal with things like a responsible adult,” and yes, I have had some serious issues with that in the past. I can blame my upbringing where I really didn’t have to worry about much, or I could blame the fact that I do have a fairly bad case of ADD myself that makes it hard for me to focus on the important things in my life, but honestly? It’s something I do and I don’t really mind. I don’t mind being forced to take responsibility for myself and get things done that I need to – it’s an important part of growing up and one I embrace.
The part that bothers me is the part where you suddenly are expected to give up “childish pursuits” in favor of more adult ones. Suddenly it’s not cool to spend your evenings playing games with friends – you’re supposed to go out on the town or to bars or something. Suddenly it’s not okay to spend time planning for your next D&D session, planning out your encounters and thinking about how everything works together – you should be spending that time setting up your fantasy football draft or talking about the weather or something very silly like that. Suddenly it’s not okay to want to go outside and sit in the park with your feet up for a few hours, thinking about life and watching the clouds roll by and just living in the moment, talking to a friend, enjoying your existence and drinking in the sweet nectar of another human being – you should be spending that time inside, watching TV or talking to a friend on the phone or cramming in extra work or something. I could be way off base, and I’m betting most of the people who read this will probably not agree with any of these “expected” things, but there’s enough people out there that give me funny looks when I tell them what I was doing and enough of a stigma around some of these things that I still feel awkward admitting them to other people that it makes me pause.
Why does your age have to determine what you’re “allowed” to do? Who says that an adult can’t enjoy a video game or that an adult can’t have fun with his friends playing a board game? Who says that adults are supposed to watch TV and go to clubs and not spend their time sitting around enjoying the environment around them? Who came up with these rules that expects you to do certain things and not do others? It seems all very dull and boring to me – I’d like to sign up for another ride, if at all possible. This one is going somewhere I’m not really okay with, and I’d like to avoid the ending station, if at all possible.
Just some food for thought.