Monday, April 11, 2016

When I was 18...

Me at 18, right before my senior prom.
This post is sponsored by as part of their #ItStartsWithMe campaign. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. 

I was asked to think about the nature of responsibility and how it has changed for me over the past 25 years (in honor of's 25th anniversary). That's like asking me to compare a scrambled egg and a leather recliner. The two things bear so little resemblance to each other that comparisons are hard to come by. Let's start by going over a few similarities and differences, just to warm up.

A couple of differences about me at 18 and me at 43
  • I no longer feel attractive while wearing shorts.
  • This is mostly because my ever-slowing metabolism can sadly no longer take 3,000 calories a day and turn them into a size 6 ass. 
  • If you offer me a cigarette, I will take it as an invitation to lecture you about making bad choices. 
  • I no longer pretend to like The Grateful Dead*, while actually wondering why all the songs are so long and everyone is dancing in circles with their eyes closed.
*For younger readers, in case you are confused The Grateful Dead and The Walking Dead are not related in anyway. Well... Wait. Never mind. They are a little alike. 

A couple of things that are the same about me at both 18 and at 43
  • Let's start with the obvious: socially awkward then, socially awkward now.
  • I feel strongly that the best food on earth can be found at Hoagie Haven in Princeton, NJ.
  • I dislike excessive heat and humidity.
  • Mosquitos bite me first. 
  • Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you will find me at the pool.
Now we can talk about responsibilities. When I was 18, I was not a responsible person. Or at least, I didn't feel like one. I got pretty decent grades and worked almost full time. I was a peer leader in my high school. My problem was that I suffered from an acute case of "I want to do what I want to do" disease and often that did not include things like homework, getting home before midnight, or telling my parents what I was up to.

But you guys, this was back in 1991. It was a different world then. There were no cell phones and parents didn't stalk their kids, fearful that everyone was a sex offender. We ran around our small town like we owned it and perfected the art of loitering until we were practically professionals.

A list of things I was responsible for at 18:
  • Getting myself to school so as not to get in trouble.
  • Going to work so as not to get fired.
  • Checking in with my parents so as not to get hassled.
  • Procuring food in large quantities, as was always hungry.
  • Getting rides places, as had no car or license.
  • Weekly baby-sitting gig watching my little brother, usually involved frozen yogurt.
  • Not being a jerk, so as not to be ostracized by friends. 
  • Finding out about and attending every party within the town's limits, so as not to miss out on anything good.
A list of things I'm responsible for now at 43:
  • Care and feeding of 3 small humans, all aspects
  • Care and feeding of 1 large male human (husband), some aspects
  • Care and feeding of large dog, most aspects
  • Care and feeding of self, all aspects done poorly
  • Management of home (cleaning, maintenance, laundry, etc), also done poorly
  • Management of big, white tampon of a mini-van
  • Paying bills, even stupid ones
  • Paying taxes, even though the forms are very confusing
  • Emptying the dehumidifier in the basement when it beeps
  • Organizing and sorting approximately 3,456 pieces of mail and paper that enter my home on a weekly basis, knowing what to keep, save, or recycle - while also not creating piles of paperwork that turn our home into a fire hazard
  • Completing all required tasks of professional job #1
  • Completing all required tasks for professional job #2
  • Fitness and "taking care of myself"*
  • Being a good friend and sister and daughter
  • Setting a good example and being a role model for my kids, even if the act of being an adult is overly challenging
  • Infinite other things ranging from going to the post office to bringing snacks for large groups of small humans to remembering when is library day to being able to teach people how to ride a bike without training wheels to knowing inexplicable grown-up things like when the chimney must be serviced. Infinite things. 
*Ha ha ha! That's a good one.

One list is a lot longer than the other, did you notice that? At 18, I craved freedom and independence, not realizing that there's a steep cost that comes with it. I was tired of being told what to do and looked forward to the day when I could do what I wanted without interference. But of course the joke was on me. Being independent means having to take responsibility for yourself and being accountable for what happens when you don't.

At 43, my life is defined by my responsibilities. I do what I have to, but to my great surprise it's also what I want to (except laundry). Despite the extra padding and the extra years, I wouldn't go back 25 years in time for anything. My responsibilities need me here.

Check out this new video "Responsibility Starts with Me" from

This post is sponsored by as part of their #ItStartsWithMe and #TalkEarly campaigns, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very proud to be part of the #TalkEarly blogger team this year. 

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2016

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