Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile my webpage Previous Previous Next Next
From this post: It’s interesting to me that, with my last ’summer’… - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
From this post:

It’s interesting to me that, with my last ’summer’ staring me in the face, I feel like I haven’t had a real ’summer’ since I graduated highschool. I haven’t had that flexibility, that utter freedom to do whatever I want. It’s kind of sad. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up. Then again, I think it’s pretty much universally agreed that growing up sucks.

It's funny, because I've been thinking about this a lot lately. There's nothing like getting your first mortgage to make you think about what it means to grow up.

The way I see it, growing up has three parts: increased freedom, increased responsibility, and control over the ratio between them. Some increased freedom is automatic with age - you can drive at 16, you can drink at 21, you can't move into your own place until 18, and so on. Other freedom comes only by taking on increased levels of responsibility - it's very nice that you can get an apartment at 18, but if you don't have a job, that's not really going to do you any good.

I bet you didn't really have the freedom to do what you wanted that summer. For example, you probably couldn't have taken off to the beach for 2 weeks without telling anyone. When you live at home, you trade freedom for a lack of responsibility. Someone else worries about paying the electric bill, and in return you have to call before you stay out all night. You usually can't control the ratio here, because it's set by your parents.

College is the next step. You have more responsibilities, but more freedom. You can control the ratio a little bit at this point - you can get a job so you can go on the Christmas ski trip, or talk your parents into paying for it if you get straight A's, but mostly they still have control. You have the choice of opting-out and paying your own way entirely, but it's not a choice most people make.

Then you get out of school. You're really on your own now, and the whole thing is under your control. You can get married, have 3 kids, and be a housewife. You can move to a commune in California and be an artist. You can take the high-paying corporate job, and work 80-hour weeks and have no life. You can have as much freedom as you can take responsibility for.

And that is what makes "growing up" worth it - without it, you don't really have control over your life, and without that control, you can't really have the freedom to do whatever you want.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

6 comments or Leave a comment
driftingfocus From: driftingfocus Date: April 11th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
See, while I do enjoy the freedom that comes with responsibility, I don't enjoy it as much as most people do, I suspect. Really, I'm more the type that enjoys structure, and being told (to an extent) what to do.

While adulthood is indeed something special, I think that I'm really suited better for a simpler life with fewer responsibilities, even if that means giving up some of my freedoms to do so.

Then again, I was never really bothered by the constraints put on me by my parents, and I never really tested them, so...
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 11th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
traditionally, people who want to live in a structured environment like that often choose to either take holy orders, or to join some branch of the military. there aren't too many other ways to live a life that other people organize for you.
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 11th, 2006 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
But, you know, at least as an adult you can choose to join the military or become a nun (must not make Monty Python jokes!). You can choose to not have to choose.
acelightning From: acelightning Date: April 11th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
indeed. "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 11th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC) (Link)
That's interesting. I tend enjoy that sort of freedom more then most people, and I strongly suspect that's because the constraints my parents put on me were unreasonable at best. For example, I wasn't allowed to drive or date until after I moved out at 18.
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: April 11th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I entirely agree.

I hated being a kid. It wasn't just the constant bullying (me being not only a geek but physically weedy and unable to fight back - well, I realise not actually unable to fight back these days - my older more devious mind can cook up a thousand ways I could have utterly humiliated my bullies in front of the entire school by leveraging my supposed feebleness, but that's besides the point). I hated being a kid because of the complete lack of freedom. Everything needed permission. I had no money I could really call my own. Fortunately, I started working immediately when I left (high) school at 18, so although I was still under my parents roof, I had *considerably* more freedom, and when I went to university, I had enough money saved up such that I was independent from my parents.

You know what I hated the most when I was a kid? All the idiot adults who kept telling me "cheer up, these are the best days of your life". That was such a depressing message if things were already bad because of lack of freedom and bullying, and that they were supposedly the best days, and shortly things would actually be getting _worse_.

Fortunately, I had greater than the minimum required intelligence to be considered sentient, and could easily tell that this was a blatant lie, and resolved to ignore the adults who kept repeating it (even if they often were my beloved grandmother, or slightly less beloved school teachers).

From my vantage point some years later, I can confirm it was a blatant lie, too.

You know what? I can drive up to Andreas now and go and fly an _airplane_. Without having to ask anyone for permission - just drive up there, kick the tires and light the fires (well, as much as a 150hp Cheetah can be considered lighting the fires!). In 2002, I spent two months just flying and my Cessna 140 all over the United States. You just can't do that as a 14 year old kid, or even a 17 year old kid (Rinker Buck notwithstanding). There I was, supposedly the best days of my life having evaporated over a decade earlier, and I'm having...well...some of the best days of my life right there and then as I approached 30. It's not just the thing about going flying - just the first statement - I can _drive_ up to Andreas. I don't have to ask my mother to ferry me around or give me the money for the bus fare.

Of course, it's not total freedom - I still have to work and be answerable to the boss, the taxman and the laws of the land. But it's orders of magnitude better than being a kid having to ask permission to do anything (and being turned down for a lot of them).

Then there's all the other things I'm going to do in the future which continues the theme of the best days of my life probably not even having happened yet. I was planning to learn to hang glide this year, but I'm putting it off till next year...because this year I'm going to own a share in a power plane again (so it's prudent to make sure I have enough in the kitty!) And a friggin' cool power plane at that - an Auster that's got a good dollop of extra horsepower giving it excellent STOL capability. All this takes being 'grown up' to do. But not necessarily 'maturity' (in fact, I think maturity forbids it )
6 comments or Leave a comment