[pullquote-left]“By the definition of today, I’ve been adulting since I was about 12.”[/pullquote-left]If you’re reading this column, chances are you’re in the city, fricasseeing your body in the triple-digit heat.
It’s that time of year when the car never cools off, when all errands need to be done by noon or after sundown, and when it stays light until nine at night, but it’s too hot to sit outside and enjoy those long evenings.
Anybody that can is cooling off in the mountains, or catching an ocean breeze, or traveling the planet.
So what are the working stiffs to do? That would be those who are “adulting.” Huh? It’s the slang term coined by a subset of millennials who still live with their parents. They enjoy a fully-stocked fridge and full-service laundry, all while dinking around on social media whenever possible.
They use tweets like, “Stopped binge-watching on Netflix to go job hunting, pick up groceries, and run errands #adulting.” Or somebody who grew up on SNL skits and headbanger music tweets that they are no longer renting: “Dude just got a mortgage, #adulting now.” If it pans out into bringing home a paycheck, going to kids’ birthday parties, and barbecues in the backyard, they’re — sigh — adulting full time, while faceplanting on their cellphones to tweet about it is also full time. If the nanny is gone, Mom might tweet, “No help. Driving kids all week, turning into soccer mom #adulting.”
By the definition of today, I’ve been adulting since I was about 12, when I used to have to rake leaves and bring home decent grades or else be grounded and lose my allowance. I started babysitting and working in a dress shop after school when I wasn’t going to camp or doing something that showed I could account for my time. But then, I was raised by parents who lived through the Depression.
On my pile of books to read while I take a vacation from adulting and the Dallas heat is Ben Sasse’s new book, The Vanishing American Adult. I’m awfully glad I don’t have to parent in the age of social media. Going to take a vacation from that, as well, but I digress. What about those actual adults who will stay in the Swelterplex in July and try to survive? Besides air-conditioned movie theaters and sports venues, what else is there?
The heat leads to lethargy and ennui — the blahs. Still, it is possible to take a mini-vacation of sorts by changing the scenery right here at home. Why do we travel? For recreation. To recreate that old feeling of youth, possibility, and play. For refreshment and stimulation. With a little imagination, it can happen in the Dallas broiler.
Exercise. Try it if you’re not doing it; vary your routine if you do. If aerobics or jogging is your thing, try swimming or kickboxing for a change of pace. If step class or yoga gets you going, try Pilates or weights. Using a different set of muscles not only makes you aware of your body, it also stimulates mental alertness. Feed your body in a different way. Try Middle Eastern or Thai food, cook a Greek recipe, or revisit the farmer’s market to see what fresh produce makes your mouth water. Whip up some gazpacho, ratatouille, or peach cobbler. Try bridge, mah jong, or poker, or learn a new language by watching foreign films.
Vary your spiritual routine as well, or open yourself to the possibility of one. Pretend you’re from out of town and go to church in a different neighborhood from the one you’re in. Try the service of a different denomination or even a different faith. Learn what brings comfort and solace to other people, and try to expand your vision of how big the universe really is. Challenge your comfort zone and grow.
What do tourists do when they go to Europe? They go to museums. Dallas has fabulous ones. The Meadows Museum, the Holocaust Museum, the Bush Library, the DMA, the Crow Musuem of Asian Art, the Nasher, the Perot Museum, and the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza come to mind. Travel west a bit and the Amon Carter, Museum of Modern Art, and the Kimbell with its Impressionist exhibit from the Phillips Collection at the Rienzo Pavillon in Fort Worth are not to be missed. Several have free parking and free or discounted evenings. Discover Bishop Arts, Plano, and Southlake. Go across the bridge or up the road. Pick blueberries in east Texas in Edom, or discover Ben Wheeler, Mineola, and the rodeo arena at Grand Saline while going to the Canton Flea Market and Farmers Market.
The good news is that nothing is very crowded in the high heat, and there are alternatives to channel surfing and playing Candy Crush on your phone.
Dallas #adulting with imagination.
Len Bourland is author of Normal’s Just a Cycle on a Washing Machine, and can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website lenbourland.com.