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by L. Robbins


My daughter went to her junior prom this past weekend. Pretty soon, she’ll be a high school senior.

If this isn’t scary enough, she often speaks as though she thinks she’s ready for the “real world.”

“I can’t wait until I’m on my own,” she said recently.

I quickly tried to talk some sense into her.

“Being an adult stinks,” I said. “Stay a kid as long as you can.”

When you’re a kid, or even a young adult, all you see is the glory of independence, and not the distasteful responsibilities that accompany adulthood. There are so many things “they” don’t tell us when we dive blindly out of adolescence on our own.

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“What do you mean?”

Now being “they,” I told her what I meant. Here’s the condensed version.

• Insurance.

Many times during my education, it was mentioned that I would have to pay for insurance, but no one ever really stressed how much I would have to pay for insurance. They also failed to sufficiently convey how many types of insurance I would have to pay, or that the percentage that insurance devours of my income would increase every minute of every day for the rest of my life.

• You understand politics.

When you’re young, you don’t really understand politics. It’s naively seen as a synonym for public service.

You see someone running for national political office, and say, “Gee, he or she seems like a nice person. I’m glad they want to serve the people. I hope they win.”

But as you wise up with age, you realize that it’s not about public service – it’s about politics. And politics is about money, special interests, and party alliances. And then you also realize that the majority of your fellow adults don’t realize this.

And they are able to vote.

• Health.

Before the metabolism halt of adulthood, I could eat four pounds of Rolos at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not gain an ounce. If I did that now, I would myself become a Rolo (which is, by the way, a round candy that doesn’t breathe).

For most adults, your health becomes a major concern as you get older. And you also have to be concerned with your kids’ health, your pet’s health, and then, your parents’ health and well-being. And perhaps others.

• Money.

When you’re young, you think having lots of money will solve any problem and make you happy. Unfortunately, most of us never get to find out if that is true.

It seems like everything costs a lot more than you can afford, no matter how much money you accumulate. Don’t get me wrong – I’m very, very thankful for everything we have. I have all the money I’ll ever need – if I died eight years ago.

Even when you have money, your financial welfare is a concern that doesn’t seem to go away.

“What doesn’t stink about being an adult?”

“Well, lots of things,” I said. “First, you’re not a dog. For every year you age as an adult, a dog ages seven years. So, you have that going for you.”

Maybe that will keep her from aging anymore.

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