being a grown-up

This is one of my favorite xkcds:

The whole time we’re kids, people are always telling us to “grow up”, when what they really mean, I think, is “calm down” or “stop having fun” or “you can’t have your pudding if you don’t eat your meat”.

I’m an actual, fully-functional, 100% real grown-up, and this weekend, it meant that I spent all day yesterday reading comic books, and then stayed up way past my bedtime to watch The Avengers, because I could.

Tomorrow, I go back to the work part of being a grown-up (which is kind of a cheat for me, because I love my job so much), but today I will listen to Van Halen as loud as I want (until Anne gets home and asks me to turn it down), read more comic books, and possibly play video games.

But first, I’m going to feed my dogs, because Seamus has been barking at me the whole I’m I’ve been writing this.

88 thoughts on “being a grown-up”

  1. I always love this quote:

    “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”–C.S. Lewis

  2. Can honestly say I have never told anyone, nor was I ever told by either my Mom or Dad, to “Grow Up”. I HAVE said “Quit Whining”, “Quit Bitching”, “Quit Sulking”, “Quit being a Jerk”. I tend to tell people to quit doing what they are doing that is annoying. Telling someone to “Grow Up” is impossible to figure out because to BE Grown Up means too many different things to too many different people.

  3. There are so many different truths to this. One, while as an adult we reserve the right to do what we want, we must understand what is important to ourselves, while two; we must define what it means to be a new age grown up.

    I love this comic for that.

  4. I repotted some plants under my wisteria, drank some rum, took a nap, watched cartoons and ate cookies.

  5. I love this! I spent the afternoon playing silly iPhone games and finding cool stuff on the inter webs for an upcoming party. Cool!

  6. Which comics are you reading right now? Also, the Wifeperson and I are watching the Guild and just finished with the one where you wore a furry outfit. (sorry, too soon?) hee hee! enjoy your newly rediscovered childhood!

  7. Yes, true. “Grown up” means “calm down” and “have no fun”! And some of the grown up people are surprised if they have fun, despite of being grown up, but it functions! To say the truth: I HATE really “grown up” people for they are “no fun”-people. Serious, without a sense of humour. Such people do exist! Everywhere on this planet! Horrific!

    1. I think I am one of those fin-sucking people. I don’t try to be, but having fun or silly was driven from me while growing up. (I survived. Not whning.) Trying to get over it, now, but still struggle with being okay with not being the ‘adult’.

      With that, though, I do hope everyone is having a good time here. I aimto be there, too.

  8. It is nearly 4 o’clock in the morning here. I have been asleep since about 9 pm last night (and I had a nap yesterday afternoon). I am about to take my dog outside for a walk since she has been quietly asking to do so for the whole time I was reading this.

  9. Didn’t know you liked Van Halen. Nice. I’m sitting in my cube at work now playing “5150”. It’s amazing that I can even write decent code with “Summer Nights” blaring in my ears. Have a great day Will.

  10. The great part of being retired is I make my own bedtime, I read or watch TV when I want, and I play video games when I want. No more being tied to a clock or a schedule. It is why many of “oldsters” are thought of a childish. I have still haven’t grown up and I hope I never do.

  11. There is also a classic “Calvin and Hobbes” cartoon where he wishes he was a grown up so he could do, you know, whatever his parents do at night instead of go to bed early. The next panel shows his parents sitting on the couch next to each other. There is a sprawled newspaper and open book on their laps, and they are both sitting there, heads back, at an angle, sawing logs.
    Love it — thanks for sharing Wil.

  12. Haha. I had this whole conversation yesterday with Tech Boy when I was eating something I’d COOKED and didn’t even like. He said, “Well, spit it out!” And I was like, “Um, childish much?” And he said, “We’re grown-ups. You get to do that.”

    It’s kind of a freeing thought.

    1. When I was a young child I remenber my kindergarten teacher asking each child to tell her what they wanted to be when they “grew up”, She wrote down each childs response and we were given a large peice of green construction paper with our answer to that question along with some paint to illustrate our grown up selves and stamp it with our tiny handprint. I still have that faded peice of green construction paper with the word Cat written on it …in first grade i wanted to be a “Horse Doctor” and by second grade I wanted to be an astronaut. Flash forward 25 years from that first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I feel that my first choice while the least logical and clearly not possible was still my best answer. Not a single child ever answers that they want to be an Adult when they grow up. I remember leaving my parents home at 17 full of hope and joy the gleefull feeling of indepence and freedome washing over me as I drove away…soon that all gave way to the reality of life I quickly learned that I had it all wrong being an adult is the loss of your freedom, a boss and time card became the dictators of cerfew and bedtime and bills do not care if I was broke or tired they still come every month and car needs fuel and maintenance. I will turn 30 in one month I am now a single mom I work as a surgical environmental tech blingsmall hospital that is tanking and I remind my daughter every day to love being a child and to Never “grow up” no matter what. I can not stop her from reaching adulthood or prevent her from learning the value what it means to be a responsible independently functional person however I can instead teach her that a balance exists and to always aim to maintain that balance because balance is where happiness lives. Childish, adult, and grown up are all just lables with limits all are relative to perception and thus irrelevant.

    2. One of the neat part of being retired is being able to not worry about tomorrow at work. If I feel like staying up late, I can and I do. I had to wait until I was 66 to retire and it sort of frightened me because I would not have the stability of a job. I am really enjoying this next phase where the only one I am responsible for is my dog Gizmo.

  13. Or, as the Fourth Doctor put it more succinctly, “What’s the point in benig an adult if you can’t act childish once in a while?”

  14. Hi Wil,

    Its an honor to write on your blog. Was a fan of STNG though as you have heard 1 to the power of 1 million times, liked the original better :)

    I was grazing your blog and noted writing related to anxiety and all the like.

    I am a coder, Mr. Pwogwamma. As a Software engineer of many years it’s my nature now to take anything pretty much and start breaking relations down to lowest common denominators. Coding by nature is reverse engineering a problem so its understood and then writing code with specific input(s) and output(s).

    When one takes such a view of things… especially when applied to matters of emotions, other personalities on and on what often comes forth is as spock would say “fascinating”.

    Psychology and psychiatry do this to unravel (or try) patterns they can then further reverse engineer (or try) to seek solutions.


    They NEVER EVER see common sourcing.

    For example. If we say, “Where does fear come from? What is its source? What is its destination? Why does it exist? What is its purpose”. We can put those same questions across much of emotion, nature and much much more.

    These are questions asked by people throughout time in fact often them not realizing they are even asking those questions.

    Religion and spirituality has its responses, science has its responses and all of us have our own wonder about it all.

    Reality is there is truth on BOTH sides of the block. Spirituality and science both have portions of the equations yet either side of the fence often shuns the other. I always thought Bill Nye to be a smart fella until I saw him debate on TV. Then I said, “Oh my gosh… he may be intelligent but he’s completely blinded making him a fence post”.

    So whats the point?

    Anxiety is fear. We all have fears. They pop into our minds, we even see pictures of things in our heads at times that bring on fear.

    Fear is a blocking emotion. Fear is a limiter. In order to pursue lifes path BOTH spiritually AND from our science/physical/mental world perspective FEAR will BLOCK those paths.

    Most folks believe in some form of spirituality and purpose to life. They even realize fear is a block. What they dont realize is how big a block it is or worse can become. We have all heard of folks where fear controls their lives and those who seem excel seemingly with little to no fear.

    Fear interrupts the natural flow of our lives. It is not of “good” it is of “bad” (evil). The moment we as humans grasp that and simply refuse to allow fear to connect into us we are in fact setting ourselves free. Fear is a bond, chains, it interrupts the natural flow of our lives in connection with the universe, other people and yes, the purpose of our individual lives.

    Just as we ignore say a fly at our BBQ we can do the same of fear. When it enters in, kick it out.

  15. Others have said basically this already, and in better words, but I had to add my two cents:

    This is why I fangirl over Wil…just when I’m feeling like I’m not acting the adult, not being ‘grown-up’ enough, he shows us that what it means to be grown-up doesn’t mean boring and bland and non-fun. It’s having responsibilities sure, but not feeling guilty when you’ve done those responsible things and can let loose and have fun IN YOUR OWN WAY! That you do have the right to listen to loud music (you own that roof now) or stay up late or play games all day. It’s YOUR life 😀

  16. See, to me, being a grownup was kind of a rip off. All of a sudden, whenever I received something in my mailbox that had my name on it, the contents of said envelope was somebody telling me that I owed them money. All of a sudden, I was expected to have ANSWERS – not questions. Finally, I said, ‘screw it’. I realized I was doing it incorrectly. I was still doing what OTHER people wanted – not what I wanted. That defeats the whole purpose of being a grownup and everything I looked forward to, when I was a kid. So, I started my own business (as a photographer, which doesn’t feel like work at all, which makes it awesome). I decided to continue pursuing music, though I know it will never make me rich and famous (but, it’s enjoyable, so I guess I’m rich, in a sense). It occurred to me that, if done correctly, being a grownup totally rocks! Now, please pardon me while I have ice cream. For breakfast!

  17. i am tired of being a grown up. i just want to be me, but sometimes the two don’t mix. At least I have been sleeping in last year’s Halloween costume for the past week. 😉

  18. Hello Wil, I work in a bio lab which is surrounded by some woods. Most days it feels like I work in the twilight zone surrounded by unique individuals. My friend and I always comment on how we would hope that you would come and save us from this other dimensional realm that we find ourselves in. We would like to believe that there is this portal in the woods with which you are the gatekeeper to provide us safe passage into a place to escape. With the apocalypse upon us, (Friday the 13th and a full “honey moon”) we will be seeking refuge through the portal. We will bring some liquor. Please save us and end this nightmare.

    oh, the power of imagination to help us get through this game called LIFE.

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