Ascending into adulthood? The extension of adolescence & what it means for our future…

I learned years ago when I abandoned the left to be okay with being on my own, for a bit. Over time I grew to prefer it. I’ve met some really lovely people since then who do not identify with their politics and treat others with the respect they deserve, regardless of their views.

I’ve also met and have been left dismayed with how many adults I meet who have extended their adolescence well into middle-age. They’re incapable of making adult decisions and behave at 35 the way I never did when I was 20, but then again, at 20 certain behaviors would have been expected. It’s an odd life these middle-aged children lead.

I was talking to a 24-year-old bartender at one of my locals a few weeks ago. He was trapped in the hard party life, he even had a skull-tattoo that he was strangely proud of. I asked him to look at his colleagues, some who are well over 40-years-old and still drinking their faces off to avoid being grown ups. I asked him, “do you want that?”

When I say they’re avoiding being grown-ups I mean they drink every night; get high every night, probably when they wake up even; they sleep with random people every night; order Uber Eats every night. Their entire lives are designed to never make adult decisions.

They’re constantly chasing a good-time, and to get there they abuse their bodies with substances that ravage their brains. 40-year-olds in the ‘industry’, as it’s called, have no achievements to be proud of. They live and breathe bar life, and even on their days off, they are getting drunk and high and ignoring responsibilities. I don’t know how they even function. They have drugs and alcohol coursing through their veins every day of their lives; that has a visible and negative impact on their emotional and psychological well-being.

Then they wonder why at 50 they don’t have a pot to piss in. I stopped having roommates when I was 24-years-old, around the time one should learn to stand on their own two feet. But these guys, well they’re well into their mid-30s and are living with 5 other people, because they can’t afford to live on their own.

They can’t find anyone to share their lives with, not one person. Well, quality people don’t want to date middle-aged men & women who are clearly addicts with no drive, ambition or goals. Only people like them are looking for people like them. This combination predictably results in chaos.

After I challenged the 24-year-old bartender to look at his colleagues and answer whether or not he wanted to emulate their lives at their age, he thought about it. “Imagine it,” I told him, “40, no savings, no ability to retire. Is that what you want?”

What I’ve realized with these types of individuals is that much like gay men they have a Peter Pan complex; they truly don’t envision themselves getting older. They never look to the future, they only look at how they can satisfy their urges, wants and needs right now, in the immediate.

No one at any age, with a good head on their shoulders, would see that and say, yeah that’s where I want to be. So, hopefully he will figure it out, but I was happy to learn that maybe he’s seeing that world the way he should. It’s not a grown up world, and ultimately it ruins them and everyone in their orbit.

One of the other bartenders at my local blames her behavior on her age. She says she’s 28 and she’ll figure it out eventually. When in conversation with her I can’t help but notice she’s morbidly obese, that she’s tattooed everywhere, has dyed her hair green to give the illusion that she’s ‘different’, ‘unique’, that she has a personality. What I learn is that she gets drunk and high on cocaine everyday, doesn’t go to sleep until the sun rises, only to wake up and repeat the same routine. Then on her days off, she’s right back at the bar doing the same thing again.

I’d also be remiss not to mention the poor diet many of these individuals partake in. They never make their own food, too much work! Best to order fast food at all times, and then blame their obesity on, well, genetics.

Now she says she’s 28, she’ll figure it out eventually; but I see no evidence that she’s putting in the work to achieve such a thing. When I was 28 I already had it figured out. I had a career, I owned a home, I was able to escape on weekends to a summer home. I knew that one day I may be lucky enough to turn 40, maybe 50 and then perhaps 60 — a time when I would want my body to rest and enjoy all my hard work.

In April last year I had one of these bartenders ask if she could come to the cottage for the weekend and I foolishly accepted. It was a horror show. For those of you outside of Ontario, cottage country is like the Hamptons for us. We go there to escape the urban rat race and to relax. Most cottages are on lakes, as is the one I am fortunate enough to have as a getaway. Well, for her it was all about partying. She was 40. I told her that’s not what we do here. We’re not 20.

As the withdrawal symptoms began to hit she revealed things. Like that she was $30,000 in debt. Now I’m not looking down on anyone who has debt. Maybe it’s for home renovations, or for school, or for vet bills, who knows, there are appropriate exceptions and explanations as to why someone would find themselves in that type of debt, but they create a repayment plan and learn to budget. Not her. She was attempting to find a way to declare bankruptcy to forgive the debt. I was and I still am flabbergasted by her lack of responsibility.

She blamed everything on the ‘system’ keeping her down. When I inquired how she acquired all that debt she revealed it was through online shopping. She simply raked up debt buying crap she did not need and then wanted to get out of paying it all back. This wasn’t a ‘system’ holding her back, it was her lack of discipline that was holding her back. It was her lack of impulse control. It was her depression probably manifested by her addiction issues.

But this lack of adult behavior is not exclusive to the ‘industry.’ I see it everywhere, all the time. Grown ass men and women incapable of being adults. Playing video games while their children crave attention. Coloring in adult coloring books as though that’s normal. Trying to protect themselves from opinions they find uncomfortable by controlling speech. Trying to get people fired from their jobs for having different views on social issues. None of this is adult behavior. But all of it has been normalized by a group of juvenile, infantilized adults in an effort to protect themselves from taking ownership over their lives.

I don’t know what it means for our future, but it does concern me, as I know it concerns many like-minded individuals.

Someone once commented on another post of mine that I was pretending to be intellectually superior to others. She has written more than one comment on my blog and always refers to me as ‘dude’ which is not only immature, it is disrespectful, condescending, patronizing and smug, which are common attitudes that come from the left. It does nothing to foster a reasoned conversation. After the third comment I went to her blog and one post of hers was about how she posted a video of her crying, and I thought, well, I can’t take this person seriously. Anyone who records themselves crying and then posts it online hoping for sympathy isn’t playing with a full deck. They are proving why posts like this are written by people like me.

Listen, I don’t think I’m intellectually superior to my peers, but I can’t help but wonder how I’m where I am and they are where they are. I grew up in a one-income working class, Roman Catholic, immigrant household with four siblings. I literally didn’t have a pot to piss in. But somehow, when I was 10 I knew I would hopefully one day be lucky enough to be 60 and so began planning accordingly. The one thing my barber dad taught me was to be disciplined, focused and to not get distracted by hedonism. He explained to me that material wealth meant nothing and so I never coveted clothes, or cars, or flashy items. What I learned to appreciate was the value of a dollar, good nutritious food and love.

I wish at times, for many of my peers, they had a dad like mine.

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