Tuesday, October 12, 2010

THE WORLD AT 18


At 18, we are branded "adults". At 18, the world is still primarily viewed in terms of black and white. Shades of gray come with age and experience. At this crucial point in our lives, many of us decide to forsake higher education by jumping into the real world by becoming gainfully employed (for some this should read painfully employed) or we take the plunge and go for the gusto by pursuing a degree in a field of our own choosing. For many, this is the first major decision we make as an adult. Then we spend the next several years changing our minds and tweaking our goals until we finally get to know ourselves and stop trying to please everyone around us. Others, the "untouchables" who come from various socioeconomic backgrounds actively pursue a career in being parasites and actually find they are rather good at their parasitic endeavors. For them, once a tick, always a tick! The nonparasites among us struggle to stay afloat, to maintain our humble lifestyles and to find periods of actual personal growth without being prompted to do so. The light at the end of the tunnel illuminates a journey towards realizing that we can and will survive in this world without compromising our own values or anyone else’s.

At 18, we still are invincible and immortal. We don’t think of mundane things like life insurance and health insurance. Those things are for people who are firmly rooted in middle age with families and responsibilities. At 18, as we leave the nest, those realities aren’t things our parents enlighten us with. Yes, we are told to go to college so we can get a good job because a good job is required to support a family and a humble lifestyle, but we probably haven’t been told to practice safe sex because a few minutes of pleasure can effect the rest of our lives or to trust in love because the real thing will still be there when we let go. Unfortunately, these are things many of us learn the hard way at the University of Life.

I often wondered what would have happened if I had developed a healthy curiosity in the art of being responsible. Instead of investigating life somewhere over the rainbow, what would have happened if I had taken some of my squandered time and money and invested it in something of value? What would have happened if I had researched affordable health insurance as soon as I was no longer covered as a dependent on my parent’s policy? Would my world have been a different one than the one I chose? Would I have realized that 18 year olds get sick and even die? Would I have looked at my own health with a different attitude? Would I have realized the activities I participated in then might not affect me immediately, but they might catch up with me 20 or 30 years later? Would I have realized that my immorality is a myth and that living on the edge and flying by the seat of my pants would one day be viewed with less enthusiasm or even with a minuscule amount of regret?

Hmmm, I wonder why hindsight is always 20/20…

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the light at the end of the tunnel for without it I would never know I was on the right path.

All gibberish within ©2004-2010 Mildred Ratched Memoirs.

2 comments:

  1. ive thought about this often over the years. i've come to the conclusion that I probably would have lived my life the same and made the same mistakes. sad, I know.

    the regrets I have involve fiscal security, and I am sorry I didn't manage that aspect of my life more responsibly, because I don't want to become a burden on anyone, especially my children.

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  2. I told my children that when the time comes, I'm going to do a "walkabout"....at first they laughed and then about a minute later the reality of what I said kicked in and then they all started to panic.

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