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Why can’t I call in sick to the adulthood office, just once?

What if there were a central location or an agency—some sort of human resources department—that could make hiring/firing decisions, or maybe a committee that could offer the possibility of furloughs? Then, I could call up and say, “Hello, is this the bureau of adulthood? Yes? Fantastic. Sorry, I can’t make it in today. You’ll have to find someone else to fill in for me.”

But there is no such place. You have to report for duty daily—24/7, rain or shine, in sickness and in health as long as you live. There are no other options in life. You can never go back to non-adulthood, not even for a short visit. It doesn’t end after you are dead either. You can still be responsible for (i.e., blamed for) things that happen both before and after your death.

You don’t get hired, or elected, or chosen. You can’t quit or ever be fired. Adulthood is the biggest adjustment of your life, but it happens without your consent and often without your awareness. You don’t get to choose when it begins, and it will only end for you when you die.

One day it appears, and then you are permanently saddled with liabilities, constraints, and obligations. It is the point of no return—irreversible responsibility for the rest of your life.

My hands are dropping, my eyelids are drifting down, and once again I am fighting off and terrified about another day to push through. I can’t prevent it. Tomorrow will wake me with a nagging, beeping alarm, and I will feel sick to my stomach that it came again so fast.

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