Ndifreke Ekott

Thoughts, stories, ideas and programming

04 Dec 2022

Growing up, #Adulting, is like working at the circus

Photo by Yuriy Yosipiv on Unsplash

When you are young and still living at your parent’s house, you had dreams of when you will become a grown-up, move out, have your own place and do WHATEVER you want. The dream is real to an extent except, no one warned you of the responsibilities that come with that level of freedom. In the end, you get to do whatever you want, but the constraints are no longer placed on you by your parents but now by life itself.

I woke up today as usual to the exciting sound of my son ready to start his day. He is only 20 months old and living his best life. After our usual routine of begging him to eat his food, watching cartoons etc, I turned my gaze to the tasks that needs doing. I set out to accomplish a near-impossible feat of completing the house chores and while at it, I had other things on my mind.

Being an adult is also expensive, especially in today’s climate, and everything has a COST attached. I was thinking of money and the debt I need to clear. The debt I acquire is good debt (so don’t panic) as you really can’t afford to blow all your cash on things so a planned debt is a good thing. I was looking at our finances, looking at where money is going, coming and what debt would be cleared first etc, it just felt to me at that moment like I was in a CIRCUS.

You go to a Circus to be entertained but in adult life, you are the entertainer. I likened the things (responsibilities and all sorts) that are linked to me, to audiences at a circus.

As the centre of attraction at the circus, you are kitted out in the most vibrant and clownish outfit possible. Face painted with a broad smile and bright clownish eyes. While you portray this excitement, you are balanced on a spherical ball, juggling knives, and trying to get an untamed lion to do tricks to the amusement of the crowd. Every now and then you flop but get back on the ball, keep balancing and keep juggling those knives.

The most interesting part of this picture is then - Who are the spectators? Members of the excited audience will include - Your career, job, family, friends, the bank, the taxman, creditors, the car, the things in your life that need upkeep and maintenance, and your health included.

Each member of the audience has a different expectation of you. One may expect you to juggle the knives blindfolded while still balancing on the sphere. Others may find your act boring and want something riskier. You have to grow at your job, your career also needs attention and your partner needs your time, the kids want you to play with them 24/7. Tough crowd.

It all seems like a lot and you could go ahead and say - Pressure. You are right in thinking this is a lot of pressure. But while pondering over this picture of adulthood, I realised, the trick is not to satisfy everyone at once because that would lead to your own ruin. Instead, create different shows on different dates for the different calibre of audience in your life.

Knowing I have to create different shows for each audience brought back something my mum used to say when I was much younger. She said:

Every week, make time for the following areas of your life - Relationship, Career, Health and Spiritual. The part that gets the most attention will grow while the other will fade and will die if nothing is done about it.

It is difficult to regain an audience if you lose them. Best to keep them coming back as best as you could. However, it is also okay to lose some audiences i.e paying off your mortgage is an audience worth losing.

I feel I need to be doing more long house chores to come up with more deep philosophical thinking of this sort.