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Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Grim Reckoning

At what age did you become what you now think of as a responsible adult? What are some markers you'd cite to support your belief? 

Until a few months ago, I would have been confident saying I became a responsible adult soon after I graduated college at age twenty one. My markers would have been the usual, i.e. I no longer lived in my parent's home and my work fully supported my lifestyle, however spartan that lifestyle was.

But since watching the spring breakers frolicking in Florida in March, my confidence in my young adult bona fides has eroded a bit.  Because, had Covid-19 exploded in 1971 instead of 2020, Pat would have been one of those shirtless dunces that many of us tut-tutted at when this health crisis began its headlong rush into history. Although I'm not proud saying so, adolescent recklessness was my norm well into my late twenties. As late as when my second niece was born, I recall how I still relished thumbing my nose at authority, the exact behavior those beach revelers displayed. I cringed watching those dunderheads, probably like my parents cringed watching me lurch through the years that were supposed to signal my entry into responsible adulthood. 

But, there is good news to counter this grim reckoning with my foolish past. Although at least 50% of the credit goes to my wife, I must have modeled some solidly responsible behaviors raising my only child. Ever since her 2011 college graduation, she has been a responsible adult. And I'm proud to say her reaction to this unprecedented event has been more measured than her Father's would likely have been.

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