Did I mention how young I was?
Sigh. The hard truth, of course, is that being a "grown up" is quite a bit more complicated than it first appears to nine-year-old eyes. Yes, you certainly can stay up 'til 2 in the morning, should that be your wish, but morning rolls around at the same time on the clock as it does on every other day and mortgages don't pay themselves just because you want them to, so rise and shine, sunshine. As far as that goes, you certainly can eat rich junk food day and night, but there are consequences to that choice, too. For example, yesterday was the Super Bowl, which is one of those rare days where I stay up past midnight on a school night and allow myself to snack gloriously. The trade-off is that it only happens after making sure my grading and other chores have been accomplished before the celebrations commenced. Moreover, I now have many days when I wish someone would tell me it was time for my nap!
I want to grumble that being a grown-up was supposed to be more fun, and then I catch myself. Because it is more fun. I'm part of the planning, rather than the planned. I write my own permission slips now and I make my own choices.
FryDaddy and I have made some choices that are hard now, but (we both believe) will pay off down the road a bit. It's not total fun having a weekend marriage, even with technology that lets us message and talk during the week. He's putting over 600 miles on his ever-faithful car every week to go back and forth to school and then come home to me for slightly-less-than-48 hours each week, all while knocking out five classes towards his degree. Summer calms down a little, but he'll be taking one course up at school during the first part of the summer while I'm teaching here and then he'll take another during the second half of the summer from home. Even when we're together, we've had to figure out that the weekends are not simply cake and holiday - both of us have work to do to keep this house running and to keep our respective careers on track. And once this is done, it's on to the Master's and Ph.D. work, which will take him farther away to best maximize opportunities - hey, if we're going through the frustration and occasional pain of doing this, we'd best do it right.
In short, it's not easy. But it was a choice. And, as choices, go, it's easier than being a military couple - I have a friend who recently moved to Germany with her kids and had to deal with packing up an entire house and having it shipped, switch the kids' schools, etc., etc. because of her husband's posting. Sure, she sends me cool pictures of her family cavorting in the Alps, but it's hard on them. And let's not even talk about the families of those who are deployed to hotter zones than Germany.
After years spent as a careless grasshopper, making the transition to responsible ant wasn't seamless - my natural inclination for many years was to say, "But I want! I want! No, I don't want that - want that! I'm special - give it to me!" The world rolled its eyes and I had to learn some hard lessons in hard ways - the only way I would learn back in those days. And, let's face it, this adult thing is hard. Deferred gratification is hard, especially in a credit-driven society. Do I think it's worth it?
You bet. Every day that I open an e-mail love note, every day that we chat and I hear about something in one of his classes that has caused his mind to catch fire (metaphorically speaking, that is), every time I hear the pride in his mom's voice and every day that I know I have a soft spot to land when work gets a little crazy. In short, every day, multiple times a day.
Doesn't stop it from being what it is, but it's important to look at the whole package, not just one side. And I wouldn't change it for a gold monkey.