Being an adult is hard. Expectations force us to do things we’d rather not; responsibilities require us to participate in activities we’d prefer to avoid; obligations compel us to behave in inauthentic ways.
Oh for the days when my biggest challenge was trying to sound esoteric in my term paper on Existential Neomarxism. (Side note: While the subject alone smacks of esoteric leanings, it’s no small task trying to impress a PhD professor who made her life’s work the exploration and exposition of a political philosophy that applies Marxist thought to modern problems.)
Nowadays, my biggest challenge seems to be applying simple logic to the world around me. I have grown weary of the state of the politics in the US. I have felt saddened in the knowledge of those fleeing their homes abroad. I have spent countless hours wondering what sort of planet I am leaving to my children.
The level of anxiety and stress can lead to depression and self-abusive behaviors for many. I’m not concerned that I will return to my former vices, but there are days when it would “just be easier” to escape into numbness. I’m not one who is prone to depression, but there are times when I feel so awful I wonder whether I’m finally on the verge of a legitimate nervous breakdown.
All of this to focus on despite my good fortune?
As soon as I realize how–in a relative sense–I have nothing to complain about, I scold myself for having ever thought myself in a position to feel anything at all about any of it.
And then, I picture the ostrich. The largest land bird on our planet. It’s shape and appearance make me think about the ostriches’ long since departed relative, the dinosaurs. I imagine an ostrich kicking up clouds of sand in its wake as it runs away from a lion and then pivots to kick its predator in the face.
Even with its ancestry and bravery, on occasion, it dives its head into the sand. What an image that is: near total sensory deprivation. An escape from the world.
While I’m sure there is a reason for this bird’s behavior, I don’t really want to know. It’s enough for me to wish I could do the same. However, I cannot. I am an adult regardless of my wish to be a large flightless bird running over the hots sands of the African savanna.