I've been thinking a lot lately about my relationships, and why I get along so well with some people, and why others make my teeth itch. I finally came up with an answer. Those people I get along with best are Adults, Grown-ups make my teeth itch.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking, "Rauðbjørn, those words mean the same thing! Don't they?"
My response to you is "No." In a word, the difference between an Adult and a Grown-up is responsibility.
Now then, any schmuck can take responsibility for himself. Those who don't are easy to spot, just sit in on a day's worth of arraignments down at your local courthouse. Of course there are sometimes a few Adults and even a Grown-up or two mixed in, but by and large, the docket is a hit parade of 30 year old adolescents. Those too impressed by their own fart-smell or the size of their Johnson to have a care in the world, or if they care, are too broken to be able to follow the rules without a post-hypnotic suggestion and a Quaalude.
A Grown-up is someone that pays his bills, meets his rent, saves for the future, keeps his nose clean and to the grindstone. They have a dog and a white picket fence 2.3 kids and barbeques on Sunday. He is John Q. Public.
An Adult is more than this.
An Adult does not only meet their quota of responsibility, he actively picks up slack. An Adult is the guy that shows up in a flood zone, looking to help, but doesn’t live in the area. An adult is the person who, at the park, watches his neighbor’s kids along with their own. Firemen and Soldiers are excellent examples of Adults.
But it is not enough to simply help out others, to watch over them.
An Adult must constantly review what she does and why she does it. Because there is a fine line between the guarding that a soldier does, to stand vigil against the tides of oppression: and the guarding that a jailor does, standing vigil against those in need of oppression. An adult does not seek to oppress his charges, or control them. An Adult does not seek aggrandizement, nor power from his position. While they may be granted authority, it is authority born of service. As one long dead corporal once said:
I'm asking You God,
to give me what You have left.
Give me those things which others never ask of You.
I don't ask You for rest, or tranquility.
Not that of the spirit, the body, or the mind.
I don't ask You for wealth, or success, or even health.
All those things are asked of You so much Lord,
that you can't have any left to give.
Give me instead Lord what You have left.
Give me what others don't want.
I want uncertainty and doubt.
I want torment and battle.
And I ask that You give them to me now and forever Lord,
so I can be sure to always have them,
because I won't always have the strength to ask again.
But give me also the courage, the energy,
and the spirit to face them.
I ask You these things Lord,
because I can't ask them of myself.
And that is what an Adult is. One that values the safety of others more than his own, fears that he may not be up to the challenge, but does it anyway. Because he cannot ask another to do it for him.
We should all be adults, each and every one of us.