On Being an Adult   1 comment

Where were you at 21? How does that reflect in your writing today?

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Grown Up

These days, a lot of young people are not anywhere near being adults at 21. I’ve noticed some of my daughter’s friends are still relying on Mom and/or Dad when they’re nearing 30. Certainly that’s common with my son’s age group of 23.

When I was 21, it was common for young people to be out on their own, holding down jobs, sometimes having kids, definitely paying their own bills. Even those of us who were going to college had bills to pay and usually worked at least in the summers. My mom didn’t make a lot of money. She owned a daycare center and that hadn’t yet become a license to steal. Her major goal in life (besides living indoors) was for me to graduate from college, so she and I worked out a deal. I would work for her running the errands a daycare provider finds difficult to do and that would pay my rent and board. I was an adult in all other ways. I paid my own tuition, I provided my own transportation, and bought my own clothes. In order to do this, I worked a full-time job plus a part-time job in the summer and a part-time job in the winter, plus running those errands for Mom all year long. Sometimes I’d step in at the daycare and give Mom a break, There was no internet back then, so errands had to be done in person (the US Postal Service was not quite as dysfunctional as it is today, but close enough that Mom didn’t trust it to pay in-town bills). Along with helping in the daycare, that usually worked out to about 10 hours a week. I studied to the squeals of small children in the living room. I took as many of my classes early in the morning so that I could head back to the house in the afternoon to help for an hour or two. While I did socialize, I couldn’t really afford to waste my time because it was limited and I really couldn’t afford to waste my money because that was hard won from 60-hour weeks.

Consequences

How does that affect my writing today? Everything we do in life has consequences and we can’t help but put a little of ourselves into our writing.

My main characters tend to be hard working people who don’t rely on others unless they absolutely have to. They’re the kind of people who face giant tasks a bite at a time without despair because they know hopelessness won’t get them very far. While some of them can be dragged down by major events, you’ll rarely see a main character of mine who doesn’t eventually climb out of the pit and start working toward their goal again. And they very rarely whine that their circumstances were someone else’s fault.

It’s how I was raised by my Greatest Generation parents and it’s how I have lived my life. My favorite characters are people who have a bit of myself or someone I admire in them.

I have a full-time job and produce at least one, sometimes two (and during Covid, three) books a year. I wouldn’t say I’m a workaholic because I would being writing regardless if I made a profit or shared it with others, but I do like to keep busy and I find I am happier and healthier if I have stuff to occupy my mind. I guess I could read more books instead of write them, but I enjoy writing too much to give it up.

Posted March 29, 2022 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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One response to “On Being an Adult

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  1. I think it’s imbued in us from the older generation to work. My mother told me that ‘people like me don’t go to University’ and I was expected to get a job. This was in the days before Mickey Mouse subjects and the only people who studied for degrees were doctors, lawyers and teachers. My two boys both left home at the age of 20 and secured an apprenticeship with day release to college. They’ve done rather well despite having not one degree between them.

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