"I'll be glad when I'm grown up so people will stop telling me what to do," a kid complained recently, as has every kid since the dawn of time.
"Oh, really?" I thought -- and may have said aloud, since the filter between my mind and mouth wouldn't hold back a pine tree floating sideways. If that's what being "grown up" means, then sign me up 'cause that day has not arrived for yours truly. Granted, those of us over the age of majority can choose whether to follow the directives given, but I assure you, directives will come. In fact, everywhere I turn, someone is telling me what I should or shouldn't be doing.
I'm told to change my engine's oil every three months or 3000 miles, whichever comes first. Change the air filters in the furnace every month, or every three months if I buy the higher quality filters that keep out dust mites, pet dander, curse words and poor grammar.
Uncle Sam says I should file my taxes by April 15, unless I have a business, then by March 15, which is befittingly the Ides of March. Folks told Julius Caesar to beware the Ides of March. He didn't listen, and look what happened to him.
I'm told to assess my property with the county by May 1 each year. Pay my credit card statement in full each month. Have credit cards for emergency use only. Don't have credit cards at all. Change my passwords every 90 days, and don't use any passwords I've used before, which is good because I can't remember what they were.
I'm told not to eat processed food, which is everything in the grocery store. Don't eat bacon. Do eat eggs. Don't eat eggs. Don't even look at eggs. Exercise an hour every day. Or three times a week. Or just 20 minutes a day, if I'm otherwise active, which I am because I'm constantly changing air filters, engine oil and passwords.
Don't listen to loud music; it'll blow out your ears. Don't burn a candle, unless the wick is lead-free, and even then, don't burn one because the fragrance in the wax can cause your endocrine system to freak out and make you hormonal. The doctor says if I'm hormonal, I should drink soy milk because it has estrogen-mimicking qualities to help with hot flashes and reduce the times I strip naked each night. The husband says the doctor should leave my stripping alone.
I'm told to winterize the outdoor faucets in fall. Unhook the garden hose. Don't drink from the garden hose. Get eight hours of sleep. Get a vaccine. Don't get a vaccine. Get a vaccine, but don't get THAT vaccine.
So kid, here's the deal. Folks will never stop telling you what to do. But the day will come when you get to decide whether you're going to stay up late to write a story while burning a candle, blaring Merle Haggard and sharing another helping of Cracker Barrel bacon and eggs with your spouse and some friendly neighborhood dust mites.
You have my blessing. After all, I'm an adult.