My youngest – my baby – just pulled up the rear and became a grown up (well, in the pass me a beer sense. We all know they’re already true grownups at eighteen *raucous laughter) so what, game over? Is my job done? Now that everyone in my litter is (deep breath, slight smirk) adulting I’m golden, right? Interesting idea. I’d like to think so but something tells me I haven’t clocked my last timecard.
Listen, I did alright (hair flip). As a group, all four have become functioning, at times quite likable. members of society. Nobody’s got a probation officer. Each has a fancy piece of paper with calligraphy proclaiming educational accomplishment and debt beyond their wildest dreams. They’re making their way, making missteps and figuring things out without too much falling debris.
But if I’m being honest, my no-longer-kids kids have a bit more work ahead of them.
In the event they’re all feeling ultra-confident in their adult super-skins and feel they no longer need mommy, I’m thinking it might be prudent to give them at least a parting shot of sage advice as they venture out into the great wilds of Knowing It All. But if only I could leave them with the wisest advice, the holy grail of guidance, what would that be? Cue Eminem, if you had one shot…
Be a good human? Be respectful? Be kind? Sure, sure, sure. Kumbaya.
I guess I could impart any of those ambiguous ideologies and poof! the world would become a better place, yes?
I don’t know about others but my kids – excuse me – my adult children, may require more specific instruction. With happiness and wellness in mind, I whittled my words of wisdom to my top three: tangible actions that may keep their adulting on the right track – and maybe keep melancholy at bay at the same time. Full disclosure: I have no empirical evidence or lengthy research but I do have firsthand knowledge of their own, shall I say lacking areas. Naturally I’ve put them in order of importance in case any of them lose interest and stop reading.
Be Thoughtful. This requires an action: actually thinking about others and how they might feel. For example, your father’s birthday is the same day every year. Fortheloveofgod, write it down. Better yet, put it right into your handheld computer-appendage. Better still, start keeping track of all the dates you can bestow simple attention on someone. Out in public, continue to be thoughtful. Give up your seat to an elderly person or pregnant woman not because it’s the right thing to do (it is) but because you’re thinking about how lousy it is to be standing at that age or condition. Your small actions can literally change someone’s day, maybe even life and as an added bonus byproduct: making others feel good has a profound impact on making you feel good, too. Hello, dopamine!
Stay Mindful of Your Money. Pay your bills on time, pay yourself & watch your money – every week and all the time. Endless virtual transactions and online apps fool you into thinking you have money. You do not. If you start paying attention to the particulars of your finance flow you won’t be gobsmacked by your W-2 realizing how much you truly made in a year. Staying aware of the spending will help keep you ahead of the anxiety that comes with being broke.
Find a Source of Satisfaction. Find an activity that’ll keep your hands occupied and (mom silently screams) off your phone. Incessant scrolling is really just amplified boredom and boredom leads to the blues. Flip pages of books, swing a golf club, dig some dirt, build something, create. If you have no hobbies or interests, make it a point to find some; it may help make your universe bigger. Spend time with people in person. Connect to your community. A sense of belonging does wonders for the human psyche.
That last one is clutch. I really do believe the harder stuff falls into place if there’s a healthy mindset because despite an abundance of modern conveniences, they seem to be struggling more than we did.
Maybe we were a tougher generation. Maybe we had more mettle or survival instinct or perseverance or I don’t know, better movie quotes to keep propelling us through adversity (Goonies never say die!)
Whatever the reason, whether it’s social media or Gen XYZ entitlement or maybe just because they’ve grown up without a good swift kick in the ass (sigh, laws, whatever), they seem to be carrying a lot more emotional baggage than we did. More than anything I just really want my kids to know that jobs and people come and go but if they can become their own influencer and retain a good sense of self they’ll be fine.
The kids’ll be alright.
I know I’m leaving out a lot and could come up with more … but I’ve got to go assist an *adult dig up a missing birth certificate.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and recently was featured in Huff Post. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)