Reflecting on my recent birthday it occurs to me that I have been an adult for 37 years now.
I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I have evolved.
It now occurs to me that I spent a lot of my childhood worried about things that I needed to be prepared for as an adult, namely:
• Ring around the collar. 1970s advertising convinced me that this was a scourge among men and I would be a personal failure as a wife if any husband of mine had it.
• Quicksand. I spent quite a bit of time as a child wondering how to avoid it. It seemed a common pitfall to a life of adventure.
• The Bermuda Triangle.
Meanwhile, I was not adequately prepared for:
• The need to remember dozens, if not hundreds, of passwords.
• Arguing with computers.
• Waiting on hold for a human even as my call was “very important to them.”
• Quarterly Reports
Why did school spend so much time on book reports and not nearly enough on quarterly reports? Why did I graduate with a working knowledge of how to play the recorder but not a clue about income tax returns? I have never, not once in my adult life, solved a problem with a quick rendition of “Three Blind Mice” on a recorder.
I grew up on a steady diet of Bewitched reruns. I loved that show. It’s still my favorite. To this day I often think wistfully of how much easier a certain task might be if I just had a hint of Samantha’s magic twitch. If I couldn’t be magic myself I would, at the very least, like a fairy Godmother.
Childhood cartoons led me to believe there were a lot more “Fairy Godmother” opportunities than currently exist. Sure, I found my Prince Charming. I do have that going for me. Where are the mice in my life spinning me ballgowns and turning pumpkins into carriages? I am still waiting on the woodland creatures who love to clean. The mice at our house come mainly no suicide missions.
As a child, I was certain I would have robot assistants and flying cars by now. Jane Jetson had a robot maid — which is weird since she also had so many futuristic ways to cook and clean that a maid hardly seemed necessary. I guess Rosie was like family though.
Things that are much better include telephones. I am glad I no longer have to deal with long-distance calling cards, printer paper that requires you to tear off the sides and having to “be kind and rewind” what seemed like miles of VHS tapes. I do still say I am going to “record” a program though. I am a creature of habit — 1990’s habits.
So many things I’ve come to realize as I matured, such as eating ALL vegetables is not necessary. We can choose the ones we actually like. Broccoli, for example, is delicious. I haven’t eaten a single lima bean in five decades, and I’m still alive.
On the other hand, staying active is probably important. I can’t just eschew all forms of exercise and wing it like I used to. Bending down after a weekend of housework after a certain age leads to a bit of a crisis. Am I coming back up? Do I just accept it and live on the floor now? Is it time for a Life Alert subscription?
I don’t know why I resisted bedtime as a child. Bedtime is the BEST. I love bedtime now.
Meanwhile, what I used to think was fun (bars, staying out late, having plans every weekend) is not fun anymore. I now think “homebody” is perhaps the highest compliment that can be bestowed upon me. I guard my downtime zealously. I want more family time, books, coffee, exploring, comfy pants and doing my thing.
As I have grown my perspective on friendship has changed. I’m a lot pickier about who I will give my time, attention and love to. I’m far more focused on attracting the right people to my life through being myself than trying to impress anyone. I’ve found it’s the best way to surround yourself with people who will be genuine friends.
It makes sense that I reflect on these things as my birthday coincides with Thanksgiving. What I value and am most thankful for has grown and changed along with me over the years.
Instead of material things, I value my relationships, peace, self-care, and freedom to decide what to do with my time above anything else. Money is important to put food on the table and pay bills, but living a simple life focusing on people I love and personal peace will always be where the magic is — be it for birthdays, the holidays or every single, simple day.
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