Responsibility is hard. A lot of you are right about that.
I think the lesson I am taking away from adulthood is the Vulcan “good of the many, not the one or the few”. I mean, I could take the five grand in my pocket and move into a dirt-cheap bedsit. I’m not employable, so eventually I’d end up back home, and I’d probably need food stamps as well as my current Medicaid.
Instead of throwing a massive “this family sucks” tantrum and moving out, or worse, leaving the country (like I could’ve done aged eighteen) I am staying put and getting degrees that will let me work. With accommodations, yes. With help to make a difference, but a difference that will help.
Adulthood means making it work. Turns out Tim Gunn was right.
You know my dad and I get on like oil and water, and that my mum and I sometimes have difficulties finding each other’s perspective. You should also know that we are all we really have on this side of the ocean. You know I’d rather live with Eleven, but Eleven’s partner is not comfortable with that, so instead of giving up, I focus on what we do have. These are the shapes my commitment and responsibility take.
I make the appointments I need to attend. I call the people who want calling. I hate doing these things. Look up “avoidant” in the dictionary and you may see my face. (I am aware that someday soon, bound dictionaries will be obsolete. This does make me sad.) I pay my bills. I… okay, I accrue student loan debt pretty steadily, but these days who doesn’t?
Adulthood means facing reality. A lot of people told a lot of well-meaning lies, and they probably weren’t even aware of the telling at the time. Dear guidance counselors: no, your students cannot pursue their dreams. You have to teach them that their parents fucked up the world and their generation will be the one to put it right.
Writers, if you are good, then you will eventually be heard. Will you be popular? Maybe not in your lifetime, but you’ll leave behind a solid body of work. Or you’ll be old when it happens. Or you’ll get lucky and your style will be what’s popular now. Singers, if you have songs to give, record them anyway. Again, your time may not come for a long time, if it comes before you die. Nobody really appreciated “The Rite of Spring” when it came out, either. Artists, filmmakers, hell, all you frustrated creatives, you know what I’m going to say.
Be you. Do you. But be us, too. Look at what I just said: our generation will put it right.
I can believe that if you make a deal with me, that you’re not just going to be in this life for yourselves. That you’re going to make community happen wherever you go. It’s hard. It’s also the best thing we can do as adults. We make community, we make change. We make change, we make a way for the next generation not to have to choose. We make it so maybe they’ll get their creative success before they die. We make a way for the next generation to contemplate success before they’re forty. All right, we’ve seen what individualism does when it forgets about community. Now we have to see what it can do when it remembers.
Help me help the world remember.