What Happened to Goldbug and Where’s Waldo?

26 Oct

As a kid, I used to enjoy finding things.  There was red-and-white-striped Waldo and his crazy companions.  There was teeny tiny Goldbug in the Richard Scary books.  And there was all kinds of hidden objects in my sister’s Usborne Puzzle books.  Real world application was put into practice nearly every day when my brother couldn’t find a certain Lego piece among the thousands of plastic pieces spread out on the living room floor. 

What they don’t tell you as a kid is this.  Adult problems are no different than kid problems, they are just more complicated and may involve adult situations.  But really, they are just bigger, nastier, longer things built on the same annoying building blocks you struggled with as a kid.

Bullying?  Still happens!  Just now it is your boss or your peer or the neighbor down the street.  And you can’t use fists or avoid them or get your bigger brother to act as your bouncer.

Finding things?  Still happens!  Just before where it was a game “ooh, who can find Goldbug first?” and then “Check. Done.  Mission accomplished.  Move on to the next task.” it is now been replaced by finding phones and keys and work badges and people to babysit your kids and certain ingredients for that special cake that someone requested for their birthday tomorrow.  And maybe there is still a sense of accomplishment when you find the hard-to-find thing, but really, there’s no time for a pat on the back because you have to find more things.

Poor communication?  Still happens!  Just instead of your parents being annoyed because you respond in grunts because saying “Ok” and “Fine” didn’t seem to appease them, you now have to deal with spouses and kids and coworkers and classmates and gas station attendants and telemarketers.  None of whom appreciate grunts either.

Writing your name at the top of the piece of paper?  Still happens!  Except now, you have to do on every single piece and include your Social Security Number and then give away your hard earned money in the form of taxes.  And you must do this every single year.  And fill out a lot of other numbers as well.

Speaking of numbers, remember addition and subtraction?  Still happens!  Remember the cruel day when you learned about fractions?  The day you learned about long division?  All building on that easy-peasy addition and subtraction you had nailed?  Now you get to handle mortgages and gas bills and how-much-time-do-I-need-on-my-phone plans and budgets and guesstimates on car repairs and Long Term Care insurance and medical copays.  And it is really, really fun and every day you’ll think “Wow! I’m so glad I mastered long division because that was so boring compared to this.” Not really.  That was a lie.

Discipline and conflict? Still happens!  Except instead of a timeout or a punishment from a parent who loves you and who completely forgives you, you now have bad performance reviews, nasty arguments where people rehash every other argument you had in the past, disgruntled employees, friends offended by your busy schedule, people who think you are capable of slashing bike tires, overly dramatic and clingy in-laws.

The only real change is that adulthood doesn’t include naps.  Ever.  And resting your eyes and attempting to not think about stress and conflict and numbers and taxes is not the same as a nap!  But no one will tell you this.

So enjoy each resolution, each step forward, each building block achieved.  Because there is another big, bad, taller, higher, worse building block to be climbed.  And I probably should delete that last sentence and leave on a high note.  But I’m not.  Sorry.

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