The Rules

Being an adult is better than being a kid. Yes, there are more responsibilities and bills and taxes and all that jazz. But there is also one big thing that makes all the difference: natural consequences.

Let me explain.

As a kid, if I wanted to eat ice cream for dinner, the answer was always no. If I wanted to stay up until midnight to watch a movie: no. If I wanted to go for a walk after sunset: no. If I wanted to say a bad word: no (and here is some soap for that mouth).

As an adult, I can do all of those things on the same day and still not be grounded. Now I’ll have a stomach ache, a headache, probably trip over a curb, and feel guilty…but those are all natural consequences rather than some enforced law and order.

Now as adults, there are rules that we still need to follow. Some of them are like the 10 Commandments (do not murder, honor your parents, keep a day of rest, etc.). When you look into those rules, they are each for the benefit of the person following them as well as for those around them. Like the commandment to not steal. How could I have friendships with people I was stealing from? Or how could I ever feel safe with my own possessions if at any moment someone would come barging through the door for my precious collection of Gerald & Piggie books? (seriously, read them).

In spring 2020, we are all experiencing the social distancing rules related to Covid-19.

  • Keep 6 feet away from others.
  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often.
  • Wear a face-mask when you are in public areas.

I follow those rules to help out those around me. No one is going to punish me for not washing my hands all the way through “Happy Birthday” or for being only 5 feet away from someone on the sidewalk. But maybe those details will keep someone safe, or at least feeling safer than they would otherwise.

When it comes down to it, the rules of our world can all go back to the basic one written on a sign in my living room: “In a world where you can be anything: be kind.” Kind to self. Kind to loved ones. Kind to strangers.

And in case you are wondering, not quitting is kind too. It is a kindness to Future You.

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