“You know you’re an adult when . . . you get excited about a new microwave.” Well, that’s what the Best Buy appliance installer informed me this morning. I instantly guffawed at his comment. Chortled loudly, just shy of snorted. He’s lucky I didn’t laugh so hard that I spewed a hot beverage on him.

I loved this young man’s witty words. Of course, I’m excited about my new microwave! My old one was close 30 years old and may have been an original in my 1972-built house. Even a toddler, school-age kid or teen would be elated over my shiny Samsung 1.9 cu. ft. Over-the-Range Microwave with Sensor Cook.

As our 2022 closes, I wonder what other things we adults can smile and do a happy dance about (or the latest TikTok dance). Trust me, this adulting thing gets old sometimes, and we could all use a boost whether it’s a loud chortle or a microwaved snack cooked evenly and quickly.

Perhaps these adult-sounding words by architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright will inspire us all to end the year well and look forward to a fresh start in 2023.

you're an adult when

A More Beautiful Life

Outside of weathering some tough seasons, are you finding overall that life becomes more beautiful as you age? What nudges you with an affirmative to my question? What holds you back from discovering beauty unfold as the years age with you?

You know you’re an adult when you can look back on your younger years and scratch your head at times wondering how you made it through. Or, you know you’re an adult when you put aside worrying about the mundane distractions every day tosses your way.

Here’s another poignant quote that relates to embracing adulthood well. “Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” Thank you, businessman and poet Samuel Ullman for this profound perspective.

During the activity-full holiday season, it may feel overwhelming and disheartening at times to keep up with all the hustle and bustle. You know you’re an adult when you’d rather shop during the week and skip the weekend crowds. Or you prefer to let Amazon do the heavy lifting of gift giving for you.

Yet it’s one thing to lower expectations and step out of the busyness of Christmas and quite another to wrinkle your soul when you give up enthusiasm. Hmmm . . . what can zap our enthusiasm this time of year and beyond? What is nibbling away at your enthusiasm right now? I might have a solution for your enthusiasm slump.

Fueling Your Enthusiasm

I recently attended the memorial service of my dear 87-year-old neighbor. Ilse lived such a full, make-every-day count life. Born in a German farming village northeast of Berlin, she survived the unthinkable hardships of World War II. While her father was a prisoner of war, Ilse and her mother and three sisters worked the farm and fields alone. They even provided for a Jewish family that they hid in the barn.

Ilse eventually made it to American as a 20-year-old in search of a better life. She settled in Philadelphia with her oldest sister and her brother-in-law and worked in a bakery and as a housekeeper. Ilse met her husband, Herman, at a German-American dinner club and they raised three children and eventually settled in Colorado Springs.

What fueled Ilse’s enthusiasm over her almost nine decades with the last one at times hampered by dementia? I would say two words: faith, laughter. Ilse believed this life is not all there is and she was confident of her someday home in heaven. And, Ilse, loved to laugh. She cracked up heartily at the simple things. The antics of my collie girls. The antics of the Three Stooges. My beloved neighbor knew how to guffaw and chortle loudly, just shy of snorting.

Sharpening Your Focus

Perhaps best of all, Ilse, knew she was an adult as she was living the now. In the last years, as cognitive decline narrowed her worries and sharpened her focus on each day at hand, Ilse taught us all invaluable lessons.

  • The longer you live, the more beautiful life becomes in ways you never expected.
  • Never surrender your enthusiasm to soul-wrinkling worries or concerns.

When I use my spiffy Samsung microwave tomorrow, I will be thinking of Ilse and you and wishing us all a heart and spirit that enjoys our being adults who get excited with fresh enthusiasm at the everyday simple things. Just remember, you know you’re an adult when you can guffaw and chortle loudly, just shy of snorting at most anything. Even the unexpected, witty comment of a much-younger appliance installer.