Although I am 56 years old, I can still remember what it felt like when I was a really little kid. One element of that vast sensation focuses on my very early opinion of adults.
I would look at them with wonder, as well as a sense of envy. My envy stemmed from the *observation* that these adults had life figured out. They knew what to say and what to do. Oh, how I can’t wait until I become one of them.
As I got older, I started to wonder what it would be like on the day when I became a “man” and an “adult.” What would be said? What would I think? What would be THE defining moment?
That moment wasn’t anything like growing hair in new places, my voice changing, being old enough to drive, vote, drink, etc. None of these hallmarks ushered any of this magical power into my life.
ON BECOMING A “MAN”
I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for something to happen that informed me that I was a “man” in the eyes of society. By my 30s, I decided that I needed to further investigate this idea of becoming a “man.”
People have suggested to me that being a “man” is defined as being a provider, protector, having a solid job or career, getting married, and raising children.
While I haven’t had a solid job or career [thanks, Autism!!!], I have done the rest. None of it gave me the sensation that I was suddenly, somehow, a “man.”
But I also had my own definitions, which were based on physical attributes. I figured that maybe I’d have wider shoulders, or maybe a square chin. Basically, I’d be able to LOOK in the mirror, see myself, and then declare, “Ah, yes, you’re a man now. And a sexy one at that.”
That moment hasn’t happened. I’m old enough now that I can easily accept the fact that it will not ever happen.
The concept of being a “man” is a shit social construct that is designed specifically for shaming males into being something they’re not and doing things they’d not typically do.
After determining that this is total bullshit, as I put little value in most social constructs, I decided to move to the other part of my concern.
ON BECOMING AN “ADULT”
As noted above, I have been a provider, I’ve been married, and I have raised children. None of this signaled to me that I was suddenly an adult. In fact, most of the time I feel like a 16-year-old boy who is bumbling through it all.
There is a clue in there.
At the same time, I felt like I was kind of an adult, sort of. A little sensation is better than none at all. What was the source?
A HORRIFYING REALIZATION
When I had a bad motorcycle accident in 1990, it meant regular therapeutic visits to my chiropractor, the late Darrell Takeo Yoshihara.
Dr. Yoshihara had become a friend. We would go out and sing karaoke at a local Chinese restaurant. We went golfing one time with Steven Stills. Darrell invited me to do that because he wanted someone there who would make him look good on the course. I had to laugh at that.
We even shared a Cuban cigar after-hours outside his clinic, after one of his more famous clients showed up with the cigars as a gift. I’m no fan of cigars, but it was an interesting experience.
For those who feel excited… no, having a cigar with The Terminator was NOT what gave me the sensation of being an “adult.”
When Dr. Yoshihara told me something, I took it to heart. He was almost like an unlicensed therapist who was guiding me through the world.
It was on August 18, 1990. The good Doctor opened up his office after-hours for me, as he often did for close friends and celebrity patients. I was receiving my regular adjustments, when I just blurted out the question.
“DTY, when will I feel like I’m an adult?”
That’s a question that I wouldn’t ask of almost anyone. Even as I type it, the question sounds almost stupid. But I trusted the good doctor enough. He had his own question for me.
“Why don’t you feel like an adult?”
I told him that my reason for not feeling like an adult was based on the fact that I had yet to experience any “defining moment” that signifies that I am adult.
Now, I suppose that some things, like graduating high school, provide some type of ceremonial process that can allow the person experiencing the event to gain a sense of adulthood via achievement. For some reason, I did not view high school graduation in this sense.
DTY said that my answer to his question could not be based on waiting for an external event. It had to be something inside me that was nagging me.
For reasons unknown, I began to think back to when I was that little kid who looked up to the adults who had it all figured out.
“I’m in my mid-20s and I feel as if I’m the only person who hasn’t gotten everything figured out yet.”
What this means is that I hadn’t figured out how to build a career, how to build credit, how to buy a house, or how to do anything that “adults” do.
Dr. Yoshihara laughed, possibly because his response to my statement was so easy and natural to him. At the same time, I had never considered this idea.
“The funny thing is, the more you live, the more you realize that nobody really has much of anything figure out. Everyone is trying to make sense of the world, even ME! That’s life.”
I told him that it seemed to me that he had it all figured out. He said that he just kept on trying and this was where he ended up. This part of what he said did not age well for me, for I kept on trying and I’ve got almost nothing tangible to show for it.
August 18, 1990 was the day I learned that adults don’t have it figured out and have no idea what they are doing.
I was now an adult.
THE IMPACT OF THIS REALIZATION
Before my realization, I was under the impression that I was the only one who doesn’t get it. But after this profound talk, I started paying attention to others. What I’d see was big people who have the appearance of being an adult, who act like children.
Today, we can watch hundreds of hours of videos on YouTube, featuring grown-sized human hairless primates who are doing and saying horrible, child-like things. They seem clueless as they go about their recorded business.
The impact of this realization was big and two-fold.
On the one hand, it alleviated my concerns that maybe I wasn’t ever going to “be an adult.”
But on the other hand, it gave me a great sensation of despair for Mankind. Life was profoundly more hopeful when I lived under the false belief that grown adults know what they’re doing, or that they’ll mostly do the right thing.
IN THE END
Hairless primates seem overly interested and concerned about the social construct of what constitutes a “man.” They will often times pass judgment on me because I don’t look, act, or sound the role to them. More feces flinging, so far as I am concerned.
I have found that I do not care one bit about their opinions. Besides, what they think of me is none of my business.
Those individuals who have judgments of this nature to place upon other individuals need to spend less time focusing on others, and more time working on improving themselves. Besides, pointing fingers is just a way of avoiding one’s own self.
So far as being an “adult” is concerned, I’ve heard people tell me that an adult wouldn’t invest any time in anything like musical instruments, playing drums or guitar, etc. This typically comes from people who have no musical abilities. I chalk up their judgment to a sense of harsh jealousy on their part.
I feel sorry for them. And, as usual, their opinion of me and what I do with my life and my time on this planet is NONE of my business. They’re wasting their time pointing at me.
Ironically, those people who tell me what I should do with my life and how I should live it, are the SAME people who would get very upset with anyone who said this to them.
IN THE END
When I was a child, I had great reverence and confidence in adults. However, as an adult, I cannot say that I still possess this positive feeling. In fact, most adult humans seem pathetic to me, in a general sense.
This is NOT a passing of a judgment on a specific person. Rather, it’s my view of Humanity in general.
When I was a child, I had reverence and respect for adults. At the same time, I had a hatred for children my own age. How ironic that becoming an adult, for me, meant realizing that adults are just over-sized shit children.
Generally speaking, of course.
It’s no different from my declaration that I have friends who are compassionate and intelligent, while simultaneously acknowledging that humans in general are stupid and lacking in empathy.
A person can be smart and kind. People are stupid and terrifying.
That’s not exactly the best note on which to end, so I’ll end what I’m writing with a song. I saw Dr. Darrell T. Yoshihara perform this song on stage at The Hollywood Bowl with the band Hiroshima. One of his cousins is in the band, and DTY himself co-wrote this song [he is listed in the video description, as “Composer, Lyricist.”
Thank you for reading.