Remember a while ago when there was an ad campaign about when you get older, life gets better? I don’t really remember it on TV. In fact, the reason I do remember it, is because Oscar on the Office tried to do a little video himself and it hilariously got hijacked by everyone else in the Office.
Kevin was asking Oscar what he was doing, Robert California interrupted with his own diatribe and Kevin accidentally ends up smacking Robert in the face. At the end, Oscar tries so hard to admit that life gets better, but ends up proving that it, in fact, does not.
For all you teens out there who are struggling to find something to look forward to, I’m here to tell you that Oscar is right. All I have to do to prove it is to list just a few things that have happened recently to me.
On my way back to work from lunch, I was carrying too many things, including a fairly full cup of milk. Being the smart adult that I am, I have learned that angles and gravity work together to balance things, but if you lose focus or balance on any of them, things tend to move toward not being in the cup. I really focused and balanced all the way to the car, put my cup on the roof of the car, my other things in the seat, and then after all of them were in place I grabbed the cup of milk, and theeen decided to lose focus and concentration. Spilled it all over myself, just like in my teen years.
I thought when I was 15, I was at the apex of facial destruction, otherwise known as acne. Back then, I got the help I so desperately needed from a dermatologist, took some Accutane and thought I cured these things forever. Well, at least I thought forever. You see, zits are like mosquitoes. They leave for a season, giving you hope for a brighter future that includes not them for a while. Then, just when you think the season is permanent, they come back. Little by little, until they are everywhere. I’m 46 years old, man. There should be a statute of limitations on these things.
When I was a kid, I was always broke. I would mow the lawn, get my $10, and a week later, all I had was some crappy duplicate baseball cards, a stick of decade old gum and a few nickels that wouldn’t even buy the decades old gum. Guess what? Being broke doesn’t get better. In fact, it gets worse. I work 40 hours instead of one, but here I am working for the pleasure of paying bills, buying food and giving the rest to my wife and kids. And now the government wants their cut too. Now, I don’t even have some duplicate baseball cards or stale gum to my name.
I used to dread having to deal with giving speeches, finding a partner in class or, giving presentations. Unfortunately, anxiety doesn’t go in the rear view mirror, not even close. Nowadays, I have a whole new set of anxieties to deal with. In addition to still not liking presentations, speeches or trying to find a partner to sit next to at work, I have the aforementioned bills, traffic, work, interviews, talking to people that I don’t know, mosquitoes, air conditioners going out and car payments.
I used to play video games as a kid. My mom would get mad at me for playing for 6 hours a day. I was like, “I only have two levels to go and then I will come down for dinner!” The video games hobby hasn’t gone away, but the time to play has. Now I am happy when my wife and kids let me play for 6 minutes, and they let me clear a level that takes two minutes, between my taking out the garbage, getting the kids to practice and putting my socks in laundry.
The best way to explain life now as compared to then came from a tweet I saw that I could totally relate to. Paraphrasing, “Your first 18 years of life is the free trial. After that, it is pay to play.”
What things do you do now that are way harder than they were as a kid?
Bitter It Doesn’t Get Bitter Ben