Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Oh, Grow Up

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  • Paul Campbell,

    There was a point where my son was about 3 when he suddenly realised that one day he would die - he suffered an obvious existential crisis and got really really worried, which was eventually solved a few days later by talking through "it's going to be a very long time from now".

    The mortality thing is probably more a "I'm going to die soonish" for some more or less worrying value of soonish

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    ".... a pit of their own filth when we leave them on their own for three weeks."

    From where I'm sitting, with two 15-year-old males (Boys? Nah. Teens? Vaguely patronising and with bad connotations) at home, that goal seems very, very, very far off. They cook very well, play music, write songs, chop wood, speak multiple languages, write books, surf and are emotionally literate, but man are they filthy. So much so that we have negotiated one day a week when they don't HAVE to shower: "filthy Friday", a treasured ritual for the pair. God knows why, but then I have never been a boy.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Can you believe that these days I get the mortality thing and the "not really a grown-up" thing? Am I weird?

    Same. Pimples and wrinkles, without a gap between.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    suddenly realised that I wasn’t the only person who felt like they were faking being a grown-up, and at some point I was going to get called out on it

    That realisation took place around the time that my fear of flying became kinda crippling. Because if *everyone* is faking it, then the fucking pilot is faking it and therefore WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE. (I'm not saying this is logical. It's just how my mind works.)

    we have negotiated one day a week when they don’t HAVE to shower

    Oh god. I can't handle the intermittent bathing thing AT ALL. Skipping a day is the *worst*. I know a lot of people do it but... I find it gross.

    (I have just realised that this post makes me sound like the most neurotic person on earth. Oh well.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Inside every pensioner, there is a teenager asking what the fuck just happened?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison, in reply to Danielle,

    Because if *everyone* is faking it...

    Everyone feels like they're faking it, but I think in reality, most of us are perfectly capable and competent at what we do. At 37, I've managed to train myself to ignore that sinking "oh shit, I'm out of my depth" feeling when I recognise it, by reminding myself of all the previous times I've felt it, and how it turned out I was able to cope just fine. I still get it, I just know it's not worth listening to.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Adulthood, as far as I'm concerned, is realising that the buck for your life stops with you. All those skills like cooking and driving are just various reflections of the willingness to take responsibility for yourself, to whatever extent you're capable of it. I'm at an age where a lot of people are transitioning between acting like adults and not doing so, and the ones who don't seem like adults are the ones who still expect their parents or other people to take care of things for them, or just break down in the face of difficulty.

    The problem is that doing it and getting other people to recognise you've done it are always the same thing. I've noticed this very much in the US, where moving halfway around the world to undertake postgraduate studies doesn't get you much in the adulthood stakes, despite the attendant difficulties, but being married, which is comparatively falling-off-a-log like, is an automatic passport to the status - at least in some people's eyes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Danielle,

    I can't handle the intermittent bathing thing AT ALL. Skipping a day is the *worst*.

    Fifty shades of grey has an entirely different meaning in this house.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    OMG, I'm not the only one! I'm having my second 21st birthday next year and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up... In five or ten years, the kids will be moving out, and then what? Time for an OE perhaps...

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Gregor Ronald, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Yep, Angus, you're right. I'm 65 next birthday, but my brain still thinks I'm 25-30. Shame about the body...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Gregor Ronald,

    Shame about the body…

    bloody knees

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Danielle,

    the most neurotic person

    nope, not at all.

    And the not bathing thing????? In summer two showers a day is required ... if ladies glow and horses sweat, buggered if I know what my sweat glands think they're up to!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Hebe,

    Oh Hebe, Filthy Friday, how hilarious!

    I feel a lot more like a grownup now I realise everybody’s just doing the best they can, which is often not that great. And we’re all one mis-judgement away from epic fail.

    As a teen I used to think adults must be all so competent and not just making it up as they went along. Now I know better, lol.

    I remember a 50ish man telling me, when I was in my teens, that he still didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up. I thought he was kidding.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And the not bathing thing????? In summer two showers a day is required

    I guess it helps if one lives in a relatively dry climate like Canterbury ... one negotiated shower-less day out of seven days makes the other six days easier to manage -- sometimes it becomes Stinky Saturday or Sunday if out-in-the-world forays are required on Friday. I must stress that this only applies to the boys, not the adults in the house!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    What is most challenging for parents (I reckon) is when your children know more than you do about certain things, when expectations are that parents are The Font Of All Knowledge. My daughter (18) is fluent in Japanese and my son (26) knows more than I will ever know about graphic novels and has read Proust and Joyce, Humbling, really.

    I think you really appreciate your offspring as adults if you are an older adult yourself.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    What is most challenging for parents (I reckon) is when your children know more than you do about certain things, w

    I find that awesome rather than challenging. I have long ago ceded authority in new Zealand history, bird identification and knowledge of the subtleties of test cricket to my lad (13).

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You realise we are officially in a situation of drought??

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Thank you. I’m sorry, I chickened out. Also, I need help.

    Awesome, now I'm an adult.



    /blink.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Hebe,

    I guess it helps if one lives in a relatively dry climate like Canterbury …

    I am less concerned about sweat and more concerned about the residue of... other things. Gah.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to David Cormack,

    I see Damian has helpfully defined what a young person is in his blog post.

    Well, yes. Sort of. Having just this week had the last birthday I'll have before I turn 40, I'm grappling with the same issues as everyone else - a refusal to admit I'm a grown up, it would seem. All the while paying a mortgage, raising a child, managing people and all those other grown-up things. But dammit I still wear sneakers!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    when expectations are that parents are The Font Of All Knowledge

    I reckon one of the few things I've got right as a parent is frequent use of the phrase, "I don't know. Let's find out!" So yeah, now my kids think google is the font of all knowledge.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I want to be able to say to her, “It’s never going to be that hard again. Adults don’t behave like that.”

    Sure, they do, but you're generally not forced to share a small room with the ones who do, for hours at a time, day in, day out, without legal recourse. If you are being forced to do that, congratulations, you're in prison.

    School is cruel punishment if you're unusual.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • kalypso,

    This

    An adult should be able to say “Thank you,” “I’m sorry, I fucked up,” and “I need help.”

    And this:

    I want my kids to be kind in their dealings with others, but also to be able to stand up for themselves.

    Everything else is just details.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2010 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    This question is kind of huge for me at the moment, having begun my second undergraduate degree at the age of 41. Nearly everyone else is a pimply teenager. It's quite a strange feeling to have the same mental age as them, as pertains to the subjects we're studying, but 20-odd years more life-experience. In some ways that experience feels all unreal.

    Curiously, despite being assured that I look my age, or perhaps a little older, by most people around my age (the people who should know), I'm now routinely being mistaken for a 20-something by other students. The context is clearly so odd, and I wear the student mantle so easily, that they just can't see the obvious.

    I don't actually have an opinion on what it is to be an adult. Is it something like being an employee? Seems to make the same demands on behavior. And it seems we live for the moments when we don't have to be adults. In other words, being an adult is work, and if you do it all the time, you're like one of those people who never leaves the office.

    This possibly explains why bosses are often childish. It's one of the big perks. You get to make the adults run around doing shit for you, and to have tantrums if they don't. When was the last time life was like that?

    I tend to think I'm an adult, but then I get a memory hole at a party, and can only presume I was not acting responsibly at all. As a teenager this would not have alarmed me, so perhaps there's some kind of adulthood now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to kalypso,

    Everything else is just details.

    Yup. Can anyone else pick the origin of this philosophical phrase?

    "Be good, be kind, in whatever you say and do, and keep cool until after school".

    Words to live by.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

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