Friday, August 8, 2014

Epiphany #55: Adulthood

So here’s a situation:  we want to bring in a guest.  The guest will perform for everyone, and also do some workshops with individuals during the course of the day.  Those who stand to gain the most from his visit want him here as soon as possible.  Those who plan for guests to visit are trying to schedule their entire calendar as quickly as possible.  The person who found the guest in the first place does not follow through.  So I step in.  I contact the guest and try to schedule him.  He can only come on Tuesday, Thursdays, and one Friday.  For a number of reasons, I have been asked/told not to schedule anyone on Tuesdays or Thursdays.  So I choose the Friday.  When I send this news around, it is inconvenient for those who stand to gain the most to have him on a Friday.  I can’t schedule him on a Tuesday or Thursday.  Monday and Wednesday are not options.  So what happens?

The further or more specific details of this little scenario are not important, at least not to me, because I think this situation is telling me something else.  I think it is telling me, “Hey, think about me a little bit, because I am a metaphor for something else.”  Maybe this parable is a metaphor for adulthood.

I was reading a friend’s blog the other day where he was talking about trying to become an adult at 30.  I empathize.  I often think that I am still trying to become an adult at twice that.

It seems to me that adulthood is my situation above:  a series of conflicting parameters, demands, and rules that have no overlap of compatibility, and yet, it is expected, or else we expect, that we can navigate between all of them and somehow satisfy all of them simultaneously. 

Tomorrow is the weekend, so let’s use that to see how this might apply.   On a given, normal, innocent Saturday, for example, the marriage, the children, the job, the desire to relax, the duties that are required to keep a house running, the need to spend time with friends, the meals, the grass, the dog all expect to be scheduled into finite time and space. 

Focus on one and not the other, especially the relationships, and it all goes south.  Neglect your spouse, and the marriage crumbles.  Overlook your children and they pay you back in spades for the rest of your days.  Push your friends aside, and you don’t have the friends you once had.  Let your grass grow and they chase you out of the neighborhood.

So what do you do?  You throw a party, right?  Wouldn’t that solve it?   A great party where you and your wife and kids pitch in to get the house ready.  Now there’s a reason to cut the grass.  Now you all are happy to be preparing the meal.  You get to hug your wife in the hallway, drink a beer with your friend, solve a problem for your children in the den, chill out by the grill with another pal while the food cooks, hold the dog who gets scared when too many people are around. 

And when it’s over, who knows, maybe your wife is mad because you were staring at Jane and you didn’t get to talk to Joe about that thing that’s been going on with him and your kids ate too much sugar and it’s going to take three loads in the dishwasher to get everything clean.  Maybe you didn’t get to try the food you cooked and the nervous dog peed in the living room.

Maybe you didn’t experience the depth of human contact or joy or satisfaction that you expected going in, but until you brought it all together, all those disparate parts of your life with their competing agendas, it didn’t even seem possible that there was any kind of workable solution.  But there kind of was.  That, it seems to me, is adulthood in a nutshell. 

And, by the way, the guest I spoke of above will be coming on that Friday.  People adusted to make it work.

1 comment:

Sara said...

As adults do. Nice connections here, Bob!