Michael Kwan explores the many exhausting roles he plays in adulthood that go beyond just ‘freelance writer’.
Growing up is hard to do. As a teenager, you have to deal with bullies and hormones, but you’ve still got your whole life ahead of you. In college, you may struggle with your studies and your social life, but you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. At your first job, you fight to learn new skills and earn the respect of your colleagues, but you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Then, before you know it, you’re an adult and those new TPS reports are due tomorrow.
It’s not really something that happens overnight; you just don’t notice it happening until you’re already there. For those of you who are already feeling the crunch, this is hardly news. For those of us new to the “sandwich” generation, it can be quite the shock. I’m certainly starting to feel the squeeze, even if I’m oxymoronically being pulled in every direction.
Let the Real Work Begin
For the better part of the last decade, running my own business has been a primary point of focus. This is my livelihood, after all, and it’s what keeps a roof over my head and food on the table. Work is always on my mind, especially since I have no set work schedule. I am a full-time freelance writer.
After getting married a few years ago, my perspective on responsibility has also changed. My wife and I are both complete individuals in and of ourselves, but we are also much greater together than we are separately. Her needs, wants and preferences are just as (if not more) important as my own and I need to take these into consideration when making any decisions. I am a full-time husband.
When we decided to buy our first home together, I was the primary point of contact with our realtor. I was the one who set up our appointment with the mortgage broker. I was the one who set up our viewing times. I now have the responsibilities that accompany home ownership, like dealing with property taxes, maintaining the yard and fighting off the wasps. I am a full-time home owner.
Go Home and Be a Family Man
Last September, my life was irreversibly changed when I became a father for the first time. My day-to-day is filled with diapers, baby wipes, changing tables, dirty bibs and teething toys. My life is consumed with taking care of the baby because she is absolutely my top priority and she has utterly changed my outlook on everything. I am a full-time dad.
Most recently, I’ve also shouldered a wealth of new responsibilities after my dad passed away. I handled a good deal of his final arrangements and I’m still helping my mom deal with his estate. It’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of back-and-forth. While my mom is perfectly independent, she deserves my assistance and support during this trying time and I must be there for her when she needs me. I am a full-time son.
The Intricate Complexity of Adulthood
When I tell people that I work as a self-employed freelance writer that is only providing a part of the picture. We are not wholly defined by our occupations. I’m not only a full-time freelancer. I’m a full-time a lot of things and that has ultimately left very little time for myself. I don’t watch nearly as many movies or as much television anymore and I have played practically zero video games in the last year. I simply don’t have the time, because there’s always something that needs to be done.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. What I will say is that this (beyond) full-time “adulthood” is positively exhausting. I fully recognize that it is not just about me anymore and this has instilled me with a greater sense of purpose. But I am tired, so very tired.