I was remembering something my mom once said to me, and it got me thinking about a strange idea:
What’s easier? Being an adult, or being a kid?
All the adults reading go “being a kid, duh.” But ask anyone if they would go back again. Everyone will say no.
Why? Because as an adult, your life is already pretty settled. You’ve got your long term job, your home, your family, and day to day, things are pretty steady.
Once, my mom said, “It was so easy being a kid, all we had to do was go to school.”
Of course it’s not easy being an adult: to work, pay all your bills, run errands, plan everything on your own, deal with real-world problems when they arise, maybe raise your own kids, etc. Then you remember that as a kid, you know, all you had to do was go to school.
And extra curricular activities, and figure out friendships and social standings, and figure our your relationships, and plan for the future. What are you going to do with your life? Where will you live, and with who? What do you want later on, and how are you going to get it?
Yeah. All kids have to do is go to school. And, you know, figure out everything about who they are and their place in the world. School by itself isn't all that easy either. I remember when I first got my job, and realized that when I came home from work, that was it. My day was done. I no longer had the persistent worries of homework, studying, and watching the rest of the day vanish under a pile of stress.
Yet sometimes, yeah, I get what adults meant. I do often miss the carefree days of early childhood. If I could go back for a day, I would. If I could go back and live it all again? I’m not sure. Maybe. Maybe just because of my constant fear of running out of time, and in a way, that would make my life longer.
But there's also the frustration that comes with having so little control over your life as a child. I was lucky enough to have a good living situation, but many kids don't, and they're helpless to change it. The bright sides of childhood vs adulthood are kind of like traditional vs self publishing. When you're an adult you both have to and get to do everything by yourself, same as if you choose to self publish your book.
The pressure of “The Future” is huge as kids. Yet no one asks me anymore what I want to be when I grow up. The pressure isn’t as strong anymore. I do still feel it every now and then, but it’s not constant like it was in high school.
“The Future,” with all the pressure that statement holds, doesn’t come all at once. Our troubles grow bigger as we do, so really, I don’t think we can say that either is easier. I just don’t think we should say “kids have it easy,” and brush off all their troubles that seem small to us. Of course their problems are small. The kids themselves are small. I don’t necessarily believe in the “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” quote, but life’s general problems tend to match age groups. I couldn’t handle as a teenager what I can handle now. Future me is sure to be able to take on much more than I can today.
Someday I'm sure I'll look back on right now and think, "My life was so easy back then!" So, I think my point is to just enjoy wherever you're at. You'll miss today, someday.