Tuesday, May 19, 2015

On being an "adult"

Within the past month I birthed our second child, and we finalised the buying of our first house.  My (slightly) younger brother found this turn of events a little disconcerting.  He noted that it seemed that perhaps we were at an age to be acting like adults, and perhaps he should be stepping up to adulthood too.

I responded that I didn't find it such a stretch, as I'd always felt like an adult anyway.  I found childhood frustrating, and not only accept but indeed embrace the responsibility of adulthood that brings the subsequent reward of freedom.  But I've since come to see things from a different perspective.  I think the fear many of us hold of adulthood is not the responsibilities, but the perceived lack of fun.  Not simply a change of lifestyle due to circumstances (children can indeed cramp one's partying / flirting / staying-up-past-8pm style), but of becoming less fun as a person.  And that is something worth fearing.

Maybe rather than always feeling like an adult, it's more that I've managed to take on adulthood without giving up feeling like a child, at least in the fun ways.  A friend once described me as 'young at heart'; at the time - about a decade ago - this seemed an odd thing to say: I was still very much young-in-fact.  But I think I now understand what she meant.  Having had a taste of the opposite I'm coming to appreciate my youthful heart.

We're doing rather well for being so newly into the job of parenting two children, but of course we are still bloody exhausted.  At the moment I'm pretty much a full-time milk-bar, and husband is pretty much a full-time toddler-entertainer / house-keeper, both with some part-time house-painting thrown in, and just managing a few hours sleep a day in between.  Meanwhile, our relationship was founded on conversation, and we continue to be a verbose household, but since our second arrival husband and I have managed a total of about five minutes of chat in which the children were not both present, and the topic of conversation.  All in all our present life is ticking along, but is not, say, the sort of thing we would choose to do on holiday.

The up-shot of our present circumstances is that I've been regularly feeling pretty, well, mean.  And that's when I feel like an adult.  When I'm thinking of all the things husband could do better, and all the ways my children are burdensome, and all the ways the rest of the world abandons me or f***s stuff up for me, I suddenly feel the weight of responsibility on me.  And it's the awareness of that weight that feels very grown-up, and very unpleasant.

I am aware that I am priviledged.  I don't normally feel much weight because I don't have much weight to feel.  But then my readership are generally as priviledged as myself, so I won't apologise for that too much.

In any case, someday soon I hope to feel the lightness again, and this time appreciate it.

In the meantime, time for the milk-bar to open again...