The Scam Called Adulthood

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It’s like entering a store that you had always believed sold cookies and candy, only to discover that in actual fact, Bitter Kola is sold there! I don’t know about you, but I struggle with adulthood everyday. This is somewhat paradoxical because I pride myself as one who is quite independent. It’s amazing that as a child, all I wanted to do was grow up as fast as possible, and be able to do all the things (…well not exactly all) that adults do. As a kid, I saw my parents take money out of their pocket/purse at will (or so I thought), and automatically assumed that money was a natural accompaniment to adulthood. At times I felt my parents were only being stingy when they talked about how hard money was to come by, and gave me less than what I requested for. I remember voicing those thoughts on a couple of occasions. I didn’t get spanked for it, but I vividly recall that their response was, “O fee kan e na” which literally means “It would soon be your turn,” Needless to say, now that it is my turn, like they said, I know better.

Adulthood is a lonely path. Essentially, it is assumed that when you hit a certain age, you should be able to take care of yourself. Now, as much as that was the dream while growing up, it is also the biggest conundrum for an adult. Decision making. Those two words are perhaps the greatest challenge for any adult. As a child, one never had to worry about taking decisions. Mum and Dad were saddled with that responsibility. All we knew was that food had to be on the table, we got to wear nice clothes and had a comfortable bed to lay on. There was never a time we got sent home from school because our fees had not been paid. I knew my parents worked to bring in money, but it all seemed so easy then. Always having a car to drop me and siblings off at school, never dropping below the standard of living in a comfortable flat, being able to eat whatever we wanted most of the time were things I certainly took for granted. I had no inkling of all the “sweat and blood” they had to put in to make all that happen. Now I know better.

Some would argue that the biggest threat to the sanity and overall well being of an adult are bills. Oh, those bills! Whether they come in form of house rent/mortgage, electricity bills, DSTV subscription, mobile phone credit, internet subscription, school fees or even food stuff and laundry…bills are the devil. They are the recurrent expenditure that are designed to ensure you have plenty of hair-pulling moments before kicking the bucket. Naive me, while growing up vowed that I would always stock the house with plenty of chocolates and ice-cream when I was old enough to start working. That was what my six or seven year old mind placed value on then. Now, if I even remember to give myself a treat once a month, then it must have been a less stressful month. I wonder what happened to all the fantasies and dreams of the completely blissful grown up life I dreamed of. Oh, I know what happened…reality. Reality happened.

Managing finances, relationships, career, family are some of the stark realities that accompanies the overrated adulthood. Many of us were not ready. It was almost as though we were thrust into it, even though it was all we dreamed of as children. That longing for unfettered freedom. A life devoid of parental curfews. The thrill of being able to go and come as one pleases and make decisions without necessarily having to explain oneself. They were the factors that made adulthood so appealing then. It never occurred to us that the dirty laundry that “magically transformed” into clean ones when we were kids would remain as they are if we don’t consciously to do something about them now. Trust Multichoice to cut you off if you as much as dare to delay payment for subscription for the next ten minutes after it expires. The Landlord whom you had a cordial relationship with when the going was good, would not bat an eyelid in throwing you out when you default for too long in paying his rent. Even seemingly loving boy-girl relationships turn sour when finance becomes an issue. And someone wants to convince me that this adult business isn’t a scam?

I miss those days when I didn’t have to second guess anyone’s friendship with me. I long for the days when I didn’t have to worry about endless bills, and taking potentially life altering decisions. I am nostalgic about the times when I didn’t have to wake up at 5am to ensure that I leave home by 6am; knowing that a ten minute delay would mean facing some horrendous traffic jam that could ruin the rest of my day. I am wary of deadlines, meetings, targets, goals, chasing success and all those other things a responsible adult is supposed to pursue. I’ll be sure to tell my children and any other child out there whom I am privileged to mentor not to be in a hurry to grow up.

From the never ending bills to the lost magic of birthdays and Christmas. From the unannounced grey or balding hair to the complicated relationships. Whether it is the search for purpose or those moments of crippling self-doubt, this adult business is the greatest fraud ever.




16 Replies to “The Scam Called Adulthood”

  1. The ironic thing is in adulthood we look back at childhood wishing we were younger. Over the years recently flashbacks of what I did in childhood brings back some of the most beautiful memories. I remember the movie ‘big’ which Tom hanks acted in 1995. He was a kid and made a wish that he were older so he could get away from his troublesome parents. Wish granted but at the end of the day, he regretted being an adult and wanted to get back to being a kid as that was more fun. Such is also depicted in many cartoons also. Truth is adulthood sucks but if a time machine existed, it won’t be bad to live those pampering childhood experiences once again.

    1. I wish we could just go back and forth between times. But hey! it is what it is. We have to be able to cope with every stage of life.

  2. Adulthood is indeed a lonely path I so much agree with you.It brings one to the realisation of what independence truly is as, you have to be all in all for yourself and yours.So many things to be responsible for.However, I still bless God for his grace that has been sustaining us.Lolade, as always this is another good piece.Well done.

  3. yeah, you are right on all counts, adulthood sucks,I remember growing up with little or no worries,when i was growing up , I had huge dreams, I didn’t know it was going to be like this. I was telling my colleague, the other day , that I wish I was born in the sixties’ , life was much easy and fun. Nowadays,life is tough, to make ends meet is not easy.
    I can count the numbers of grey hairs on my head, as young as I am, there is God oooooo!!!!!!!!!!.

    1. Lool. You must be a bit of an old soul to want to be born in the sixties. Can’t say I blame you though, life was definitely much easier then.

  4. That is why men need Christ. A life without Christ is a lonely path. With Christ in your life, you have Holy Spirit who helps you with counsel, strength, and above all God’s grace. That is why Paul said in Philipians 4:13 that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. As a child, we were the heritage of the Lord. Our parent were designed by God to love us and take care of us on his behalf. When we get to accountability age, we take up the mantle from them and are expected to outdo their performance. Now we know the right from the left, but we need his guidance to navigate in this complex system of the world so that we make right decision always. This is already a designed system, but only with God can we triumph successfully.

    1. What can I say? Your comments hit the nail on the head. Frankly, I have always wondered how Atheists do it. Thanks so much for commenting Mr Adedeji.

  5. This is true Lolo. Now i appreciate my parents who for once complained but struggled to give us their best. For me adulthood is a state of the mind. Some grow into it from the age of 6 while a forty year old pampered man still wallowing could still be a child. One of the things that helped me is my exposure to adulthood at en early stage. Did you know i was selling second hand cloths while we were in UI? Did you know i was equally a primary school teacher? These great moments of truth were defining times of my life. I believe every child need to be shown the true definition of adulthood before they get there. I must appreciate this write up. Great as always!!!

    1. It’s true that people grow into maturity at different rates. I didn’t know you had all that hustle going while we were in school. God bless our parents ooo. You’re right we must help our children and wards ease into adulthood. Thanks man.

  6. Agba wa bu’ra b’ewe o ba se e ri. Adulthood is good in some respect, at least you have a greater degree of freedom to pursue some personal visions that you’re parents might not have agreed with.

    1. Oh sure! Wouldn’t exchange that freedom part for anything in the world. It just shows that every stage of life has its pros and cons.

  7. Nothing beats childhood, more so one spent in comfort. All bread and no stress. However I’m sure those who had to go out and hustle in order to help their parents out, now grown would not wish that back. Adulthood I’m sure for them would hardly be any different from what their childhood was. There are so many children out there now old before their time forced by econonomic and social circumstances to become adults because for them remaining children has never been an option.

    1. I love the angle you brought to this Linda. I guess those of us who had a childhood worth reminiscing about should be thankful. All in all, there’s time for everything. A time to be a child and a time to grow up and take charge.

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