It’s not often that a song from a 90’s hair band is stuck in my head for 36 hours straight...
OK, maybe I occasionally get old metal stuck in my head other times too, much to the dismay of my family and anyone who has to listen to me singing along to music only I can hear... But, this occasion was severe~
and it also has a point
For the last couple of days, the words “Eighteen and life to go...” have been playing over and over in my head.
It's probably because my youngest birth child became an adult yesterday~ well, at least in the eyes of the law~ I mean, he can vote and buy lottery tickets anyway.
If you’re familiar with Skid Row, I should mention that my son doesn’t have life to go in the prison sense that’s implied in their song. No, nowhere near the tragedy and angst of all that.
Rather, my kid has life to go ~ as in figuring out how to adult.
Which is a different kind of life sentence.
He’s sometimes under the impression that he’s been adulting already and has come up with some hilarious lines such as “Yeah, I pretty much pay all my own bills…” said in all seriousness with a cocky head tilt.
I laughed hysterically for 15 minutes in response.
The kid is very responsible, this is true, and I want to give him credit for that. He pays for half of his car insurance and phone as well as his gas. He also bought his shiny red car with money he saved on his own from working.
But, as every actual adult knows, those aren’t even a fraction of ALL the bills a person has to pay to live as an independent. There’s the big ticket things like an actual place to live and then there’s all the miscellaneous things like food, hot water, electricity and internet. All the things we like and make life comfortable.
He pointed out that he buys a lot of his food too, but that’s really only when he goes out with his friends or decides not to take a lunch to work. He still eats here like 6 times a day, and he consumes more than the rest of us combined, but from his perspective, he’s pretty much independent.
Still, I’m proud of all he HAS done and continues to do on his path to responsible adulting.
The Boy spent his entire birthday doing semi adultish things like college classes, basketball practice and working.
There wasn’t time for a huge coming of age party on the actual day that marked his birth, but we had midnight cupcakes when he wandered in the night before and streamers and hugs and late night blueberry pancakes with bacon when he returned home his responsibilities.
It was a quiet day, which is strange because we’re not quiet people. I might feel sad about the reservedness of it all~ except he just got back from his first road trip without adults, and he’s still got 2 more celebratory parties this week.
So, he's fine.
I can’t help but think back to my own 18th birthday though, and how different the dynamic felt.
I got luggage as a gift from my mom~ perhaps not such a subtle hint, although well suited because I was leaving home to go make my way in the world the next day anyway.
I don’t know how my mom felt about it, and I doubt I ever will, but I do know how I felt.
Excited, nervous, and a bit defiant.
My frame of mind at the time was very much “Eff you!” not to any one person, but more to the world in general ~ as if I thought it was somehow against me.
Those weren’t exactly my best years personality wise~
I did learn to find opportunities and make things work, but I also remember feeling like I was going to have to fight for what I wanted.
I had learned to be good at fighting (with words anyway), and while it’s been handy on occasion, I’m still trying to unlearn some of that today.
What I’ve realized in years since is that the world really isn’t out to get me, and that most of the time, I’ve actually had a whole lotta blessings surrounding me.
Sometimes they showed up out of the blue, and sometimes I worked really hard for them, but more often than not, fighting wasn’t really necessary.
I'm glad to know I can do it when I need to, but I'm even happier to know that I mostly don't need to at all.
Contrary to how it sometimes feels when reading comments on social media, most people are actually pretty nice in real life.
And often, it’s easier to just ask for what you want than to attack.
Why it took me so many years to realize these things, I don’t know, but now that I understand that there’s often an easy button, I’m all about finding and pushing it.
My Grandmother used to say “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar” (Or at least it sounds like something she’d say, even though I’m not 100% sure if she actually ever did.)
In any case, whoever said it was right.
Thankfully, my kids seem to have gotten that understanding at a much younger age than I did. They’re kind and polite, especially to old people, little kids and animals, even if they are not always to each other.
They’re positive thinkers and hard workers, and they sure as heck don’t seem as mad or cynical about the world as I was.
And for that, I’m both grateful and proud.
In fact, looking at my two “Grown-Up-ish” offspring, I don’t think I could be any more proud than I am.
They made it to “adulthood” not just in tact, but Awesome~ inside and out.
I’m way more excited for them than I am nervous because I know that even if they leave their dishes on the couch for 3 days until I start screaming and then say they have homework, they’re really competent and resilient humans who know how to enjoy life.
Getting them to this point of grown-ish has been a really fun journey and we all not only love, but still genuinely LIKE each other.
So, I’m breathing a sigh of relief, saying prayers of gratitude and treating myself to a massage.
I’m also getting the Boy Child a driving experience in a race car so he can go fast in a safe situation~ AND a voter registration pamphlet so he can be a responsible citizen who participates in democracy.
I’m not sure when I’ll stop referring to him as my Boy Child, if ever.
But look out world….here he comes.
When a friend stopped by the other day to say hello, I wanted to have a nice visit, but instead, this stream of negative energy kept bubbling over out of me and infecting everything.
My poor friend stayed, although I wouldn't have blamed her if she ran away from the ugliness.
The overwhelm of overwork and trying to help others with their untended and neglected issues can be like a poison.
I'm realizing how much other people's toxic waste can infect you, and that sometimes you need to don a hazmat suit or some sort of protective barrier to keep you safe and sane while you navigate the situation.
Another wise woman I know recently mentioned that during her own hard times, she had turned to painting. Sometimes you know there are wisdom in words, and this was one of those times.
There is healing in art.
So, I got out a sketch book and started to let the messes and the energy begin to move through and out.
These came in about a half an hour and it felt good to release some of the "blech."
Nothing pretty yet, but just turning my metaphorical compost to let some air in the soil.
More poop built up within a day, so I know I'll need to keep tending my own patch of life so I can get back to blooming.
And I'll keep reminding myself to put on the protective gear when I need it.
I guess this is spring.
How do you release toxicity?
Have you found any healing through art?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what helps to get the ugly out, because I've seen enough examples to know that pretending it isn't there just doesn't work in the long haul.
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Writer, Artist, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, FunSchooling Facilitator / Former Goat-Herding HeadMistress for our Mostly Happy Homeschool, Semi-Crazy Chicken Lady and Mamacita Extraordinaire to a couple of Cage Free Kids.