If you are reading this article, chances are either you or someone you know can be classified as an adult.
Let us take a moment for that realization to sink in. Everyone look to your left, now to your right, and quietly say, I am an adult. Now shake and tremble as you feel the weight of the world crushing down on our shoulders as we lack the required strength of Atlas to lift it up. Our knees begin to buckle and our back begins to give. Nobody told us this when we were growing up! It’s a trap!
We are now adults. The bill collectors that now knock on our doors (or send us emails this day and age) are looking for us, not our parents. Where once we were thrilled at seeing our name on paychecks when we first joined the workforce, now they fill us with a sense of dread knowing that a huge chunk of that pay is going to settle our dues – phone bills, electricity, rent, car installments, school fees etc. It seems like only yesterday our parents were waking us up, making us breakfast, brushing our hair, grabbing our hands to pull our arms through the sleeves of our jumpers to get us ready for school, packing our lunch boxes and helping us out with our homework. Now that responsibility has fallen on our frail shoulders we find ourselves wondering, how on earth did they do it?
That is when we begin looking in our proverbial rearview mirror. We can never truly appreciate everything our parents did for us until we are in their shoes and looking at life through their eyes, and that can only be accomplished when we cross the barrier into adulthood. As a newlywed you find yourself thinking, is this how my parents were in the beginning? Did they have the same arguments? Laugh the same way? To all of us, our parents represent the pinnacle of cohesiveness and got-it-together-ness, is that how we will become?
As adults, we find ourselves in a constant state of déjà vu. Didn’t we have a friend that lived in this building all the way on the other side of Kuwait? The journey our parents took to drop us off there that one time during middle school seemed almost endless, and yet now as we pass by the very same building driving, it seems so ordinary. How are things so similar yet so completely different? The magic is gone from the world, replaced with facts and logic.
Strange is the novel of life; it starts with weakness and a great unknown, followed by amassing knowledge and memories, which we only come to realize in the next phase of our lives, it all starts to make sense in the middle.
I can fondly remember my 10th birthday at Burger King with all my friends, the presents etc. My parents, of course, recall it entirely differently – the hard work they had to put into it, making sure everything went smoothly, getting me and my brother (born on my birthday 5 years later) there on time, ensuring we were dressed to look dazzling and eternalizing the smile on our face which made it all worthwhile.
We go through life staring at the world through our rearview mirror, with memories appearing so vividly, despite occurring almost a lifetime ago. Half thoughts coming to fruition as we stand on the outside and look in, having gained the knowledge from both sides, as children that grew up into adults, and as adults that have (or will eventually have) children and now get to experience everything all over again, from the other side.
Everything that happens now, in a sense, has happened before. We are merely coming full circle. Therein lies the truth about adulthood. We are all passengers in the car-ride of life, merely changing seats as the journey continues.