Adulting in the Age of Coronavirus
Merriam-Webster defines adult, when used as a verb, as “to behave like an adult, to do the things that adults regularly have to do.” My second favorite “dictionary”, the Urban, defines adulting, the gerund of adult, as,
To carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off that credit card debt, settling a beef without blasting social media, etc.). Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.
Ouch. Less than 50% of the time? Don’t know my exact batting average on that, but I would take 50% every day and twice on Sunday. I just tried to “adult” and teach my eldest son how to determine the area of a triangle (base x height divided by 2). It did not go well. Mrs. Yell, my teacher in fifth grade, taught it to me so simply and effectively that I was able to regurgitate the equation, without pause, to my beloved fifth grader. Unfortunately, somewhere between my mouth and his ears it got lost in translation. Some of his responses to my attempts were as follows:
“Why do I divide by two?”
“What do you mean base x height? I know width x length.”
“That doesn’t look like a triangle.” (In reference to my poor attempt at drawing)
“That doesn’t look like a square.” (Once again, in reference to my poor artwork)
“Why are you yelling at me?”
“Where’s Mom? I’ll ask her.”
“You’re not making any sense.”
This all occurred in less than two minutes. Total, complete and abject failure in my ability to “adult”. Now under normal circumstances, the task of teaching this to my son would fall upon his excellent teacher, just as it fell upon my excellent teacher close to 30 years ago. Ouch again! That hurt to type. Let’s say 28 years ago. There that feels a bit better.
Regardless, there is no doubt that adulting now is quite different than it was six weeks ago. Instead of “paying off that credit card debt” or “settling a beef without blasting social media” (which I hope we all did before the virus) many of us are being asked to accomplish much more. In addition to that of a teacher, in the last few weeks, my beloved wife and I have worn the hat of chef, home healthcare worker, logistics coordinator, horticulturist, financial planner, loan agent, carpenter, audio/visual technician, fireman (don’t ask) and immunologist to name but a few. All of that on top of our actual jobs of being a children’s minister and attorney.
There is no debate that many of the tasks we formerly delegated to and/or relied upon others to perform have now fallen upon us. Nevertheless, the question I now wrestle with is whether this is actually a bad thing? Not the Coronavirus. That thing is terrible. No. I’m talking about the changes we are now experiencing as a result of the Coronavirus.
Yes, there are some negatives. Eating out 3-4 times a week or (honestly) more now appears to be a bygone luxury. I enjoyed going to Target, Barnes and Noble, and other big box stores more than I thought I did. Despite being a bit of an introvert, I miss connecting with others in-person. I loved, or at least thought I loved, the routine I was on before Coronavirus.
That being said, I now look forward to doing the yard work I previously reserved for weekends (or never). I now know how my coffee maker actually works. It has been ten years since I’ve been in better physical condition. I know my wife and my kids on a much deeper level. My walk with the Lord has greatly improved. I’ve probably received more sunlight in the last five weeks than in the last five years altogether. I’ve actually been far more productive at work than I was when going into the office every day. I get to blog more than once every two years!
The question of “Do I want things to go back to the way they were?” was recently asked of me by a close friend of mine, Jay Savage. (Sorry, Jay. I had to drop your name for some street cred.) I, without hesitation, unequivocally answered no. Yet I was caught off guard by my quick and definitive response. Why would I answer so when I now have more responsibilities than I had before Coronavirus? I had a pretty good deal going before this didn’t I? Work was steady and bills were getting paid. Starbucks loved seeing my car in line almost every morning. I got to come home from work, see my kids 2-3 hours then put them to bed, and watch tv and play on my phone the rest of the night before bed. As I type this, that life now looks so bad. No. Not bad as much as sad. What kind of life was I really living? Was that a life?
I think now, more than ever, we must ask and answer this question for ourselves. Do I want things to go back to the way they were? Please don’t misunderstand me. I know things cannot continue the way they are going now. In many circumstances no matter how hard one “adults” that credit card debt is not going to get paid off this month due to lack of business, a job loss or furlough. The mighty “American Economy” must and will eventually recover, which means a return, in some form or fashion, to what was. But does it have to be a complete return? How many lessons lost will we sustain if we simply go back to the way things were before the age of coronavirus?
I hope you will reach the same conclusions that I reached. That the joy and satisfaction one receives from succeeding (or in my case trying) to teach their child or, in simpler terms, living a full-time life rather than job, far exceeds that received from living as a part-time parent, spouse, lawyer and, above-all else, Christ-follower. That adulting in this difficult time can be infinitely more rewarding than it ever was when life was mundane, and we could simply go and do as we pleased.
On another note, I’ve come to realize that these blogs have a mind of their own. The initial goal of writing this was to explain how it is very difficult, if not impossible, to wear the hat of a licensed attorney. To convey to the reader that a will or trust found on the internet is not the same as one prepared by a lawyer. To qualify that getting a will or estate plan put in place does not have to be painful and is the very definition of “adulting”. All of these things are true, but if you take anything away from this blog let it be the reflections from above.
Nevertheless, to help everyone out with the estate planning side of things, I am lowering my price for preparing a will, durable power of attorney, durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will from $750.00 per person to $250.00 per person. I plan to keep this price plan in place until things go back to “normal”. I can do everything, including document notarization, via videoconference. Please contact me by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions.
Legal disclaimer time…No representation is made that the quality of the legal (or blogging) services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal (or blogging) services performed by other lawyers (bloggers). The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements (or quality of the blog).
God bless you all!