Perpetual Adolescence

I have noticed within my relationships with friends, co-workers, and other individuals in my community that there is a growing acceptance of what can best be described as perpetual adolescence.

Technically speaking, adolescence is a fairly new concept. Most experts agree that the word itself was not commonly used until the turn of the 19th century; but that it now defines the period of our development between the ages of ten and nineteen.

These days, there seems to be significant upward pressure on the boundary that signals the end of adolescence. Many adults now suggest that adolescence extends through the end of college or later, when a young adult secures a “real” job and moves outside of their home permanently.

My adolescence was mostly a time of disorientation. My transition to adulthood was rough and painful for both me and my family. As a teenager, it was hard to balance the flexing of newly developed emotional “muscles” and style of self-expression with the consideration for my parents’ needs as well as the demands of other people in authority. My life between the ages of twelve and nineteen years old was awkward and lonely. I was play-acting my way through most of my roles and relationships with the hope that I would come out a “real man” on the other side of my second-rate performances.

As a result, at the age of nineteen I found myself farther from the person whom I had hoped to be than I had ever thought possible. Thankfully, my father gave me an unequivocal indication that it was time to put an end to my adolescence. Doing so meant that I would have to take responsibility for all of the outcomes in my life. I remember him saying to me “Son, I am pushing the boat out; now you are going to have to row it!” Once I accepted the pivotal role in constructing my future, my life changed dramatically. The battle to become responsible and trustworthy was hard-fought but from that point forward I resisted all inclinations toward easier or softer routes to success.

Having said that, I admit that there are times in which I am tempted to retreat from my looming responsibilities of being a husband and father; to reunite with a more carefree and fun-loving approach to life. I presume that most people experience this same impulse from time to time. I am appreciative that I have been able to resist the temptation. It has been good for me to remember that there is always a price to be paid for adolescence and I know that my parents and I have already paid too high a price for mine.

As an adult, I have kept my wits about me. I realize that recreating with alcohol or drugs would certainly dull my will power and good judgment, diminishing my ability to be a good husband and father.

I stay focused while I am at work because I realize that my career accomplishments will have a direct impact on the financial well-being of my family.

I care for myself physically so that I can deliver on my key responsibilities at home and work. Daily I am reminded how a twenty minute workout can improve upon all the other outcomes of my day.

I avoid social media, video games and other trivial distractions that rob my family of the attention that they crave from me. I realize that very few people really care about when my plane landed, where I had dinner or any other mundane detail that I could choose to post to any number of internet sites.

I have avoided golf trips or guys’ weekends. I don’t play in golf leagues or weekend softball tournaments either.

I take comfort in knowing that this uber-busy phase of my life will eventually yield to a time in which my wife and children will require less of my “A” game and it will be then that I might indulge more in my own pursuits and passions.

I admit that in my reading of what I have written here, it seems as if my life is far too disciplined and rigorous. This is where the concepts of HAVE FUN and BEL FAR NIENTE (discussed in earlier Cruxes) challenge me to maintain good balance in my personal life.

I also realize that I risk sounding boastful or preachy. This is far from my intent. It is just that I don’t have the luxury of free time to major in “minors” these days.

That is to say that I choose not to be consumed by thoughts and activities that distract me from my primary responsibilities. I recognize that raising a family is serious business and I accept that I am point man in the effort. The love I have for my wife and children inspire me to more earnestly embrace my assignment. Staying balanced and focused keeps me centered, so that I can better discern both the subtle and more obvious obligations that come with being husband and father. They rely on me and I want to deliver my very best for them.

Thomas “TD” Dierker

Live like you’re dying….cause you are!

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