“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” Oscar Wilde
After a Mops meeting I had a few weeks ago I have kept thinking about one of the questions from our “ice breakers” game. “How have you changed since you were 18?” Tough one, right? My immediate answer was the most obvious to me, “I was a slob and now I’m a glorified maid.” Yes. An honest to goodness didn’t care about my bed being made, my apartment being picked up, the dishes being washed S-L-O-B. I didn’t give a rats arse (yes, saying it the British way makes it sound so much better) about any of that junk. But I think back and realize that everyone, minus my neat freak friend (you know who you are) was the same way. Cleaning just wasn’t something a lot of us busy college student/full time employees/social bar hoppers took seriously or cared to waste our time on.
At 19, I lived in my own studio apartment scraping up nickels to buy food because every cent I made at the daycare and babysitting went towards my rent and utilities. No joke. On Tuesdays was McD’s $.29 hamburgers so I was able to eat once a week off of just my coins in the seats of my car and the bottom of my backpack. And on days that I worked at the university daycare I planned my classes around their meal times. I made sure I was working during breakfast, lunch and snack every day with my classes in-between. The lead teacher was a softy and if I didn’t make it on time for whatever reason, he would save me a plate. That man saved me from starvation. Thanks Dan! xoxo
When I started working at Bennigan’s we were provided a $2 menu (I even found that price tag a tad high at the time compared to McD’s) and would eat before my shift (I could have hooked myself up to a feeding tube of their baked potato soup) and then used two of my forty dollars in tips to order a “To Go” meal before I clocked out. That’s how many of us independent college kids survived. My arteries AND my liver definitely took it’s toll back then. 😉
I was a broke student surviving like so many of us had to.
Funny thing is, I’m not ashamed of any of that. What I’m ashamed about was my reckless stupidity. Once the sun set, all I cared about was partying and getting free drinks at some place one of my friends or I were hooking up with a bartender. I had no business even being at a bar at that age. And seriously? There’s NO WAY those bouncers didn’t see right through that caked on make-up to a 19 year old who looked 16. Looking back at what a careless teen I was scares the crap out of me to now know that sometimes the “what ifs” turn in to a reality for so many and that I’m on the road with my kids with idiots like “her”. I want to take my young self, slap her across the face and say, “WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING, DUMMY!?!?” Who did I think I was? Invincible, I guess.
And after the discussion, a couple of us chatted about whether we were going to make our kids move out of the house at 18 or not. My answer was a quick “HECK NO!” because it was so difficult and I was irresponsible. HOWEVER, now that I’ve had a chance to think about it I would say absolutely, but help them out financially. Looking back I see an 18 year old making some bad but mostly good decisions, learning from them, staying off drugs, restraining myself from using my credit card unless it was to pay for ANOTHER car problem (which allowed me to learn about fuel pumps, batteries and carburetors) graduating and living to tell the tale. I also made life long friends and memories during those times that happened ONLY because I didn’t live at home. And boy can I stretch a buck!
So yes, my kids are gettin’ the boot at 18 as long as they aren’t moronic numbskulls. They need to have those same experiences that I did in order to grow in to responsible adults. The only difference will be the monthly drug tests I’ll administer in their dorm rooms to not only my own kids, but their roommate and 5 closest friends. No exceptions.
What about you? Are your kids gettin’ the boot?