I was on my way to the supermarket, when a gentleman passed me with a t- shirt which had a message on it which made me laugh, but it had some truth to it; “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap!”
By the time I was 15 years old I thought I had it all figured out. I had planned to move into my apartment by the time I was 18 years old, wrapped up with my undergraduate by 21, masters by 23 and PhD by 25 years. I would work for a couple of years and at the tale end of my twenties consider marriage.
Life doesn’t work out as we planned; lately it has even been more exhausting. It’s not just figuring out leading a fulfilling career, and running a profitable business. It’s figuring out how to pay your bills on time and consistently. Grow your finances and figure out what are the most profitable returns in investment for today and retirement. If you are married, it’s trying to make things work between you and your spouse and have those joint dreams fulfilled. If you have kids its figuring out the best schooling and opportunities they need and figuring out how to afford it. While you are figuring out your life, and those of your children, in your 30’s and 40’s your parents are aging so the tables are turned you need to care for them.
At times its not just ensuring they get the best medical care, it’s also ensuing they have the love and the company they need to enjoy their retirement.
As a kid all you cared about was simple, being able to play and have friends. You never worried about food on the table, a roof over your head or avoiding falling sick because you don’t have money for medical insurance. Yes, as an adult it has its benefits like doing what you want – within the barriers of the laws of the land and pursuing dreams your parents maybe never let you.
But you do realise in order to really earn the money you dream of, you need to work extremely hard for it. The home and car you dream of are way more expensive than your pay grade and taking a loan to afford them will leave your breakfast table with nothing but crumbs. That’s the reality.
I am not saying being an adult is gloom and doom, but there is an unrelenting burden adulthood has which never seems to go away especially when you live in a country where legitimate growth is impeded by harsh taxation, corruption and limited growth prospects for business and employment opportunities also wanting when it comes to career growth and pay commensurate to your experience and education.
My Mum always swore by the “permanent and pensionable” option which also secured a pension following retirement. Only government used to be able to give that. Now, not really. When I look at her now in retirement its not really all that glamorous. Not many of my Aunts, Uncles and friends parents do much more than what they did as children; some have the strength to go the farm to till the land, and run basic errands. Not many of our parents run actual businesses or volunteer in a causes they believe in’ something to keep them alive.
Adulthood is really about individual evolution and adaptation to what life throws at us. It isn’t easy at all. It’s like MacGyver: if it throws you a few unrelated things, which require you to use your knowledge and experience to create something to push you to the next level.
But in all honesty, as an adult, it is much easier when someone else makes all the decisions and worries about everything else. I do wish every day was like a school holiday in the village. Wake up, do your chores then spend the day splashing around in a clean river occasionally emerging from the water to pluck mangoes from the tree or eat fresh sugar cane from the farm. Aaah! The simple days.