Recently, after a conversation with a friend, that could have been difficult, but wasn’t, my friend and I sent encouraging texts back and forth. “That was some decent adulting, there,” one of us wrote, with a winking emoticon.
So, when I saw this rant on Jezebel, trashing the trend of the hashtag #adulting, on Jezebel, I got a little defensive. Sure, I agree with this writer–there’s evidence that Millenials are so used to being praised for doing shit they’re supposed to do, they have begun to believe they are accomplishing something by meeting basic life responsibilities, on their own.
On the other hand, even a Gen-Xer like myself gets that all this responsibility can be, well, a fucking drag. I mean, sometimes you just want to bust out of the sensible realm and do homework at the smoothie shop.
But I digress.
But what’s the fun of being an adult if you can’t celebrate both your immature and mature decisions? Grocery shopping for more than one day’s worth of food (ok, I have yet to master that one), or figuring out puzzling questions with our siblings about elder care for our parents (trust me, that shit is hard). Or, you know, not going skiing two days in a row, on your knee, that is but 12 weeks recovered from surgery. (“That’s a pretty adult choice you made there,” Jeff remarked when I told him I would take the day off. “I’m glad you arrived at it on your own.” Adults know that there’s no point in having an argument from the losing position.) Truth be told, I’m an equal-opportunity celebrator: I like to do a happy dance on the days that I reject the adult decisions, too.
To wit: A few months ago, I got my kids to bed ahead of schedule—while the more “responsible” adult was out of town. I was happily anticipating his nightly Facetime call, when I would say, “here, let me take the phone to them, in their beds,” and show off my mad clock-using skills. No question, I was trolling for “adult” points. Then, my awesome neighbors called to invite us to a telescope party for the blood moon eclipse, at the base of our driveway, that very minute. I can always count on the indulgent grandparent-neighbors across the street to bring out the playtime in all of us.
So when he dialed us a few minutes into the solar show, I explained what we were doing and said, breezily (without a Monica Geller-style announcement of said “breeziness,” mind you), “We’ll call you when we get inside, in a bit.”
An hour later, the phone rang, again. “Guys, we are SO busted,” I said. (This amused the smaller people to no end.) Then, as I slid the phone to “answer,” I announced to Jeff, “Listen, I’m the FUN parent, obviously.” He laughed and asked me how much “fun” I would be in the morning when the kids were hard to roust from bed. Boom. Just like that, we said goodnight. And that’s the thing: the best adulting happens as a team sport, not as some sort of special-snowflake-style solo accomplishment.