Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Worst-Kept Secrets of Adulthood

I can't get the Happiness Project lady out of my mind.  You know, the one who is on a daily quest to make us all a generation of smiling, happy people.  She almost had me.  She almost convinced me into thinking that happiness can be found in the musings of a New York City-dwelling writer who has no idea what makes me want to throw open my window and scream, "Good morning, Sunshine!"  I'm a firm believer that you can't force or fake happiness.  It's not something that has a formula which, once discovered, will ensure that you are always on the sunny side of the street. This woman seems to believe she has a firm grip on it, though.  She posted a couple of nuggets of wisdom on her website that I found particularly hard to swallow: "Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy" and "You're not happy unless you think you're happy".  Huh?  I'm fairly sure that if I keep reading those sentences back to back, my head will explode.

Even though I can't quite get on board her train to Blissville, I did find the "Secrets to Adulthood" mildly amusing. (I'm not sure they were meant to be, though).  Some of her secrets are simply common sense, such as "Soap and water remove most stains" and "Don't be afraid to ask for help".  However, there were a couple that made me bristle with anger: "Don't let yourself get too hungry" and "It's nice to have plenty of money".  You think so, huh?  Don't we all want to have an endless supply of cash?  I'm sure that a hardworking, single mother with three kids and barely enough money to keep them all from being the next homeless statistic would love it if  she and her children never got "too hungry". 

This list started the wheels turning in my brain as to what Secrets of Adulthood I might impart to the younger generation.  My friend, Aimee, who has a well-honed sense of snark, offered up a few of her own to get me started:

* Scrapbooking is stupid.  Don't waste your time because your kids are just going to chuck it some day.
* Never turn down a man who offers to buy you a margarita. (My personal favorite)
* If you don't make your bed, you might as well go outside in your pajamas.  Bed-making is an essential part of having a good day.
* Iron everything. Wrinkles make you look sloppy and hungover. (Okay, I added that last part.)

After a few minutes of serious thinking (and Facebook surfing, and coffee drinking, and toenail painting), I came up with these Secrets of Adulthood that might enlighten the Red Bull and Axe spray set:

1. Algebra really does suck.
2. You're going to end up drinking skim milk eventually.
3. Regularly staying up late is only fun if you aren't gainfully employed.
4. Know how to calculate percentages if for no other reason than proper tipping and shoe sales.
5. You'll wish you had time for a nap.
6. Smoking as a teenager doesn't make you look cool.  It makes you look like a felon-in-training.
7. Dance like no one is watching only when there really is no one watching, especially if you've been hitting the tequila.
8. The Tooth Fairy sometimes forgets to go to the ATM.
9. Your parents were right.
10. Having children really does change everything.
11. It's okay if you don't like people you are related to.
12. A tan doesn't make you look skinny.
13. Don't stop believing in Santa Claus.
14. Use the word "like" half as much as you usually do and "totally" even less.
15.  Never buy sushi on sale.
16. You probably won't find happiness in a New York Times best selling book.

Or something like that...


  1. What you found doesn’t seem surprising…writing self help books is one of the biggest scams out there. How to be happy, how to stay healthy, and my favorite - “This is really, really the right diet for you”. Most of them that I’ve run across seem to have little value beyond making money for the author.
    You’re good at spinning tales – you could certainly get in on the action. You could branch out your blog into a self help website. Everyone in America needs homespun advice from yoga moms with keyboards.

  2. Dave, I don't think any self-respecting human wants advice from a slacker like me!Unfortunately, plenty of other moms with keyboards haven't come to that realization yet. :-)

  3. You should make your list into a poster and sell it on-line. I'd buy it, frame it and hang it my office. My favorite -scrapbooking. What a mommy scam that is.

  4. So true! It's all I can do to keep a clean house, clean kids, and everyone fed and at least marginally happy. No way do I have time to think up a cute caption and design a snappy little background with appliques for every snapshot of their lives.


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