Adulthood is no mean feat.
Being an adult can be such an unrelenting difficult thing.
When you are a child, you are carried by the people responsible for you. Decisions are made for you and you have to live within parameters that are beyond your control.
I recall in my late teens, my friend and I used to fantasize about being on our own one day. The catch was that we would be able to live by our own rules. Go where we want without asking anyone for permission. We would decide where we wanted to live and who to fraternize with. Adulthood was such a huge allure.
Now when we look back we see that there is nothing like a life without restrictions. Adulthood is one big glittery cage and the worse part, you can never walk out of it.
The best and worst part of adulthood is having children. I love having children. They bring a light to your life that is indescribable. It gives your life a hue that nothing material could ever give.
But if adulthood is a cage, then parenthood are thick chains that crisscross around your ankles.
Biodun, you don’t need to sound this grim. Don’t you see the lovely family pictures people post?
I see them all. In fact, I have authored quite a number of them.
But the inescapable responsibility of nurturing another life to adulthood is not something anyone should take lightly. As an adult going through a rough time… Let’s say there is no job satisfaction… So, you decide to quit. You will have things rough but chances are that you can rough it out.
Bring a couple of children in the mix.
That crappy job that is draining you will be so hard to leave because the needs of children are unrelenting. If you can bear to eat once a day, a child will not be able to do that.
Children need to be in school.
Children need clothes constantly because they are growing.
If you are kicked out of your house because you cannot afford rent; you can easily squat or find unconventional places to spend the night.
Not when you have children.
With kids, providing the basics is just minimum standard. You always feel guilty for the things you are unable to do for them. You dream major dreams for them. You could dress in rags but to watch your kids do the same is like bathing with scorching fire.
So, adulthood is hard.
Adulthood + parenthood= Na who send me.
My nephew finished University in Ghana. When we were talking, he said his parents had a thanksgiving service complete with them dancing to the altar to thank God. He didn’t think all that was necessary. I stared at him.
Is this dude kidding?
He went through toddler stage without any major ailment or injury. He then went to nursery, primary school and university. I am talking about countless school runs, tests, exams. Travelling to Ghana. Travelling to Nigeria. Moving around everywhere. Imagine the funds to sustain him through good schools. His father retired before he started university. But he still ran a business so that he could afford to educate him.
And now the young man is done with university and thinks it was no big deal.
I look at my kids and I literally calculate the years of schooling they have ahead of them against my retirement age. I cannot lie. Some days, it feels overwhelming.
Lest this article begins to sound like a whineathon. Let me just say that we are doing it.
One feet ahead of the other.
One day at a time. We are doing it.
We are living this adulthood life. Parenting children to the best of our pockets and abilities.
Some days are difficult. Some days we feel like we are failing.
But we are not giving up.
So, this is a weird tribute to adults out there.
You are not doing it wrong. Simply because it feels stressful does not mean you are not doing your best.
The truth is navigating life, knowing that all the decisions depend on you is stressful for everyone.
Don’t give up though.
One day, we will jam at those graduations.
One day, we will be together at our kids’ weddings.
Like our parents before us. We will do it to the best of our strength.
And to the children of today. Don’t be too hard on us.
In theory, it is easy to know the answer to life.
In practice, there are no answers. We just live.
May life never get too heavy for us all.
Stay safe, people.