Growing Up Shouldn’t Mean Growing Lame


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I spent the time from my 23rd birthday, or college graduation, up through today (32 years old), doing a lot of cool stuff. I moved to Iowa and worked on the Presidential caucuses for a year, then continued on in the process with the Clinton campaign in 2008. I moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for close to a year. I’ve worked for five sitting U.S. Senators now, helped elect the first African-American CongressWOMAN in New Jersey history, and won elections for myself. I go to New York City close to once a week in my “down” time, go to Philadelphia almost as much, and get to the beach all the time. I probably get to 20-25 baseball games a year on average (20 already this year), several major concerts a year, a few other sporting events a year, and all kinds of other interesting leisure events. I do all this while getting to the gym regularly, seeing my friends from all the different periods of my life, and maintaining a good relationship with my family. I’m really happy with where my life has gone as an adult, even if it hasn’t followed the script of how many define success.

I do all this, and i’ve made more money, paid my adult bills off each month, and generally met my obligations within society well. I vote, pay taxes, and pay my own bills. I’d say my adult life has actually been fairly successful. In fact, being as how I’ve basically done what I wanted, for the most part, I’d say it’s been very successful.

There are a few things I haven’t done though. I haven’t bought a house, or even kept an apartment of my own consistently. I haven’t been married, or had kids, or even really wanted to have a domestic presence and existence. I haven’t made the conversion to wearing a suit every day, or even a sport coat, and frankly I don’t want to. Yes, I still buy my concert tickets to sit down “in the pit” in front of the stage, drink on Tuesday nights, and spend time on social media for personal, not professional reasons. I guess, by some measures, I’m a douchebag 30-something now, because i’m not “growing up.” I mean, I don’t even want to live like my parents!

I mostly laugh at these “this is what you should be like now” articles, mostly because they’re a joke. I don’t care what the lifestyle article, the “lifestyle coach” at work, or the pretty girl on Tinder say a “real man” should be, because most of them aren’t so happy. By my standard, here’s what a “real man” should be as an adult:

  1. Paying their bills and meeting their obligations on their own, whatever they have chosen in life to make those obligations to be.
  2. Honest with the people in their life and around them.
  3. Enjoying this one life they have to live. Be happy.
  4. Purpose driven. Action driven on the things they are passionate about. Goal-driven and ambitious.
  5. Realistic about who and what they are.
  6. Not at all moved by what society says they should be.

In other words, I really don’t give a damn what you think an adult’s life should look like. By no means are my saying you want to be the 35 year old still wearing his varsity jacket out, or the 35 year old getting in fist fights in every bar, or even just the really drunk guy making a fool of himself each weekend. Quite to the contrary, you should have your shit together. You should just decide what your shit is. If that means you’re forgoing “growing up” in the way traditional society says to, that’s fine. There’s not really any rush to sit on the couch six nights a week watching sitcoms with the wife who you married too soon, eating crappy food, and having no leisure life. Conforming sucks. Being lame isn’t what life is about. Spending 60 hours a week at your desk job isn’t how you should define your life. Just get the job done doing whatever you do.

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