Neighborhood stroll...

Neighborhood stroll…

Over the weekend as I was walking to the post office to send my mother a letter (yes, we do that sometimes lol) I found myself staring up at the buildings around me-not only in slight disbelief that I am living this life, but also in slight disgust. There’s a substantial part of my being who despises paying rent, utilities and other money-pits that are offering me zero return or incentives. Reluctantly, sometimes I include college tuition/loans in this category as well. And that’s when I got to thinking…
Americans have got the game messed up.
When you look at other cultures in the world, African, Middle Eastern and Asian included, many require their young adults to continue living with them well into their adult years. They desire their youngest contributing members of the community to work, earn decent livings and save their money for many of life’s milestones that have yet to come. These will include marriage, children, and the eventual responsibility of the family’s elderly.
In addition they also encourage their children to work hard and find a vocation. By the time many of these kids are enrolled in somebody’s college, if they ultimately wind up attending college, they have a great idea of what they need to get out of it so that minimal time is wasted.
Here in America, the culture tells you to enjoy high school, then immediately enroll in some form of overpriced higher education that is supposed to eventually support the rest of your life-long endeavors, hopes and dreams. There’s a great chance that you will enroll in a program that you probably haven’t given the most thought to because who’s able to make those sort of life-long decisions when you’re just a kid yourself? Upon graduation your parents are kicking you out of the door, cutting off your insurance and wishing you good luck.
But what if American culture coddled their young adults a bit more? Allowed them to take a break after high school to really consider what working life is like? Would they not make better choices when it came time to picking a school, major and other activities? What if the young adults could hold off paying rent a little longer? Were encouraged to pay a light or cable bill, keep gas in their cars and be given enough time to adequately figure out the employment and relationship thing out? Because ultimately, in another 40 years or so it’s going to be these same parents relying on those kids to make sure they’re comfortable in their old age.
I guess I’ll continue to stew over this later this evening as I’m leaving a job/career I didn’t go to college for and consequently don’t see myself at long-term and to an apartment who’s rent is more than the average mortgage payment in my hometown.

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You Know What It Is? I’m Getting Old.

Older women have been telling me for years that as you get older, you begin to lose “it.” “It” is your tight skin that is wrinkle-free, muscle definition you don’t have to work for, and a guilt-free diet that you don’t have to watch. I would roll my eyes in annoyance as I scoffed at them. Here they are, borderline obese, thinning hair and wrinkles for days. How on Earth did they EVER use to look like me?

I maintained this haughty attitude up to my twenty-fourth birthday. It was afterwards that things began going downhill for me.

Gray Hairs.

I found a gray hair. It’s in the front of my head. It’s real.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I recognized my gray strand about a month ago. Soon after I began looking at my mouth when I smiled-there are wrinkles there that have never been before. And just this past Friday I was looking at my thighs- you know that fine line that runs up the side of thighs that reflects muscle definition? Yeah, that line has ceased to exist.  There’s no denying it any longer. I am officially getting old.

I promptly ordered a subscription to Self magazine when I noticed that first gray hair. Inside are all sorts of dieting and workout tips to keep your body together. I’ve always been touted for saying that I don’t work out and will never work out. I am here to report that those days are severely numbered indeed. I suspect I’ll be working out regularly by my twenty-fifth birthday. I’m currently looking into getting a membership to our local YMCA.

Regarding my eating habits, that’s another major thing that I will have to change. I’ve NEVER counted calories nor thought twice about the unhealthy eating habits I’ve picked up over the years. That is changing. Right now I’m searching for an easy-to-follow schedule that tells me what I should be eating. You know, “Dinner: 4 oz of baked chicken, 2 cups of steamed veggies, no butter” and so on.

And my last inclination that I’m getting old, I haven’t noticed that familiar feeling of disgust and annoyance when small children are around. Dare I say I smile at them and attempt to engage them in conversation?

The other day when I was finishing up some baby booties for my older cousin’s upcoming baby shower, I got slightly teary –eyed.

I don’t have to ask what’s going on with me because I already know what it is…

I’m getting old.