Remember when you were a child or teen-ager and you couldn't wait to grow up? Remember how you thought being a grown-up was all about having lots of money and being able to do whatever you wanted to?
Where did that go?
In my reality, being a grown-up involves more responsibility than I could ever have imagined. It's not just making sure the girls are happy and healthy. In some ways, that's the easy part.
It's all the other stuff I never imagined having to handle. Retirement planning? Huh? My parents worked for companies with pensions. Even my banker Mom didn't sit down and talk to us about retirement planning when we first started working. It wasn't a part of her reality. For her generation, you went to work for a good company and stayed there until you retired. The company rewarded you with a pension.
College savings? Have you even looked at those college savings calculators? The cost for two children is nearly overwhelming. We've taken the easy route and taught the girls the Alma Mater, a song from our alma mater the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. We figure we'll be able to pay for them to go to a state school. If they want to go to a private college, they better start excelling at some sport or academic specialty that will earn them a scholarship.
Add in to the mix taking care of a house, finding time to squeeze in the ocassional date night, making sure the vehicles are properly maintained, looking after aging parents, worring about various and assorted health issues, and I'm not feeling the carefree freedom I thought adulthood would bring.
I know it sounds like I'm whining, but I'm really not. We're all healthy and happy. We have good jobs, live in a nice house in a good school district, and have great friends and relatives. All is well. Really.
It's just that once in a while I want to find that adult reality of my teens where I would have complete freedom to do what I want when I want, and enough money to fund all of it.
Knowing what I know now is the key reason I keep telling the girls, nieces and nephews not to grow up too fast. Once you are an adult, you are an adult forever. You can never go back to those carefree days when you're only worry was how long you could play in the backyard.