JOURNEYS: We need your stories to change aging. What’s it really like getting old? We welcome stories from people of all ages (we are all growing!) but in particular from those who are exploring the uncharted waters of “Not-Adulthood”. Do we have any Crones reading this? Any Sages? We need to hear from you. Submit your stories here.
I graduated college December 21, 2012 and was summarily catapulted into real life. Certainly the past 22 years have been real; I have had my share of trials to date, but until now I had been living the life of a child. Childhood, in my view, was characterized by a lack of independence and the accompanying stress. As a child proper I depended wholly on my parents for support and guidance and as I grew this reliance diminished but never went away fully.
Throughout my three and a half years at school I depended greatly on my parent’s financial support and wisdom. Now that I am out on my own I find a whole new world of head aches to attend to. Case in point: Last week my car was towed. $175 and a day later I was back at the tow shop watching as they fixed the muffler they had damaged. It was one of many bumpy initiations into adulthood I have experienced in the last month.
I am not worried about my self or my generation because we will make the transition and survive just like everyone else. It makes me think though, I have been accustomed to childhood for about 20 years and if relatively small problems (finding a new apartment getting a better job, car troubles, ect.) have got me rubbing my temples, how bad is going to be when, after 40 years, I have to start the transition to elderhood?
While I am excited to start my new life, a part of me wishes it could go back to cartoons and days at the lake (a way of life I experienced for only a few years btw as I spent most of my life on an off-the-grid farm). I can only imagine how it would feel to lose some of my independence, or youth after an entire lifetime. No wonder so many people (I’m looking at you Boomers) fight the transition. From my vantage point it seems the same as a 22 year-old graduate returning home, setting up shop in the basement, watching cartoons all day, and generally refusing to grow up.
Time does its duty and no one is exempt, so why fight it? I will leave you with this thought: Millennials are the most primed generation to date. Older generations analyzed us, prepped us for the SATs, taken us to extra curriculars, all in the hope of getting us into college so we can get a good job and be successful adults. So while my current transition is tough I am prepared. But that barely exists for adults. Perhaps we need more programs like AARP’s Life Reimagined ease the transition into elderhood.