Make happy those who are near, and those who are far will come.

~ Chinese Proverb ~

The Good News And Bad News Of Adulthood

December 6th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 40 secs

Sometimes it’s hard to see the good news.

Everyone always wants the bad news first, but the truth is, it’s mostly good. Being an adult entitles us to all sorts of things kids can only dream about.

Being a grown up gives you the freedom of choice to do big scale things. Like travel, have a family, carve out a career, pursue what you feel matters, and live more or less where it suits you. You can decide what you want to eat, what on, and when, according to your whim. Nobody is going to tell you not to stay up late, turn that light off, or compel you to do what you choose not to do. Though we take it for granted, the news is we have lots of choice. And that’s a nice thing to have.

But of course, the not so great news is that the older you get, the more your body rejects you. It doesn’t like to snap back into shape, forces you to stare harder at labels, and aches in ways you’d never expect.

Look too closely at your skin and you’ll find marks, cellulite, wrinkles, and who knows what. That’s the price we pay for living longer. True, these features are hardly anyone’s idea of good news, but then again, they’re not exactly cataclysmic.

Providing you don’t obsess about your appearance, or insist on scaling Mt Everest before lunchtime, the opportunity to live better, longer is pretty good. And the news is your opportunity to outlive previous generations is greater than ever.

On the flip side, with the good news there’s a price. It does get harder to see, hear, run, jump, keep your hair on, and have the same energy.

I used to wonder why older people would get into huddles and bang on about their gall bladder having had it, their back collapsing, or their teeth falling out. But now, I know why they did it. There’s comfort in talking over our troubles and a burden shared, as they say, is a burden halved.

Quite apart from the physical challenges later on in life, there’s also that little thing called responsibility, which bursts into full bloom right from the start. The moment you get your first pay all those teenage dreams of super cars, mansions, and the high life vanish with a wistful puff of disappointment as bills appear from nowhere and the cruel realities of credit cards kick in.

Young readers will either be horrified by these revelations or else bored to death. But it’s a commonplace fact that the blessings of maturity come packaged with challenges. But then again, isn’t that the truth of life at all ages? The good news and bad news of living go together at any age (balanced or not). Ask a teen what they think about life, or a young child. Drill down and they won’t mind telling you it isn’t all peaches and cream either.

So when maturing folk forget the good and habitually fixate on news that’s bad it only makes things worse. Whether we genuinely have more trouble on our plate than most, or we get over-used to complaining, the net effect is not only repelling it prevents the chance for thankfulness.

Why be thankful when things feel miserable? Because giving your self good news and bringing back some balance to your thinking is wonderfully uplifting. Gratitude diverts our attention from unhappiness and allows us to see what’s good. And that’s not just sensible, it’s enriching.

Perhaps the best news about maturing is that you can choose how you’re going to handle life. Though, funnily enough… you don’t even need to be grown up to do it. That’s one aspect we all get to pick from way back.

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