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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Age Brackets

We see the slogans a lot: “I can’t adult anymore;” “Wanting to grow up is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.” I’ve been guilty of saying “Welcome to adulthood" in a very sarcastic and “I told you so“ tone to Madi when she complains about some new hideous thing she has discovered as a newly minted adult.

I do feel guilty when I say it without the compassion I should be showing, but somehow I can’t muster enough emotion to fix it.

One time I heard a woman who lived in the apartment below us, complaining that she has to go to work to pay for the groceries that she eats and then has to find the energy to work off the calories of said groceries. It’s a vicious cycle, but it pretty much sums up aging.

Most of the time, I pride myself on the effort I make to remain positive and to see the silver lining in things. But lately there’s been a little dark cloud over me. The cloud of adulthood.

The whole jury duty thing is STILL going on; I had to visit the particular hell that is the DMV; had that lovely case of Covid that should be over and yet landed me at urgent care this past Monday morning with head to toe hives – something only a select few get blessed with. I have been a little “Woe is me.“

Until today…

This week I am teaching eight hours of improv to fourth graders at a nearby elementary school. Given what I saw today, I don’t think I’ll be complaining anymore about adulthood.

Kids have it tough. Yes, they do have it good as well. Parents to look after them, feed them, clothe them, pay the bills, shuttle them around. But before you start resenting them too much, there’s another side.

Let me tell you, fourth grade is a hot mess. No one ever quits talking long enough to allow others to carry a thought to its conclusion. Teachers yell at everyone, even the ones who weren't talking or running or fidgeting or whatever the teacher is yelling about. There’s no autonomy; someone is always telling you where to sit, stand, walk (this is sounding a little like prison minus the shivs ). They’re too young to come close to seeing the big picture.

At any given time someone is crying or throwing up or spilling something. It’s a cesspool of germs that you can’t escape. No one has control of their bodies, so the resulting flailing and spastic moves usually end in someone getting poked in the eye. It really is a hot mess.

So in short – adulthood is hard, but so is fourth grade. While growing old is not without its issues, I think I’ll be happy where I am. At least in my age bracket, after a hard day, I can have a big slab of chocolate without someone telling me I’m going to ruin my appetite.

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