Has anyone else noticed that prices don’t make sense anymore? I mean, I remember taking a quarter to the store and being able to buy candy. And a dime would make a phone call.
YES, I am going to get all old-timer right now. It’s the holidays and I can get crankily nostalgic if I want to.
A dime for a phone call. That is nearly nonsensical now. Even rest stops on the highway don’t have payphones anymore. I took a photo of the empty phone booths on the 15 highway on the way to San Diego once.
I took the photo with my phone.
What is going on? And look at this! Macaroni and cheese costs a buck fifty. How is that possible? When did a dozen eggs cost 3 dollars?
I go to the store and feel like I’m in a foreign country with an unfavorable exchange rate. I remember having this same feeling in Denmark. Holy Crap! That’s what a loaf of bread costs? Well, I have to pay it because it’s even worse to get food any other way. Cheese sandwiches in the hotel are the cheapest it’s going to get.
However, I am in the twilight of my 40th year. It occurs to me that adulthood is a foreign country I haven’t gotten the hang of.
All these expectations. “You didn’t know? You haven’t tried? You haven’t read? You haven’t been?”
Have I? Would I know if I had? What does that look like? If I was there, would I have recognized it? I think I was supposed to be further along by now. I think I didn’t do the homework.
On the whole, I like being an adult. I look at my 4 year old daughter, and I see her chafing against all the ways she doesn’t have control over her life.
I have more control. I think. And then I look at all the ways my peers don’t have control over their lives. Do they have more control than I see?
What is the story we are telling ourselves? Am I here because I am afraid of all the other imagined alternatives? Am I here because this is my choice, my preferred life?
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, says that it is far happier to be happy and know you are happy.
So too, with choices. It is far better to know I make the choice to get up at 5 AM every morning because I choose to go to work and have this kind of life. I choose it.
My daughter does not choose her bath every night, resists that bath EVERY NIGHT. It is an unnecessary struggle, and a very predictable one. That alarm clock can be a predictable struggle too.
Awareness, also called mindfulness, makes these unfamiliar and seemingly unmovable life constraints my own. There are a lot of choices that I would choose and re-choose every day. Personal grooming, yes.
Then there are those others, which, once I become aware that they are choices, I might do different.
And that makes all the difference.