Was life easier back when you were younger?

  1. Just something I've been thinking about. It just seems that in the 10 years since I left graduate school life and started working life has been more diverse and challenging but also more stressful and less happy. I wonder if anyone else felt that way.

    Don't get me wrong, like many I've grown tremendously as I've faced various difficulties and had to learn new things. I'm much more capable now than when I was a college student. But I have to say, as a junior or senior in college (or for that matter, in high school), I remember having less stress and unhappiness then I do now.

    I wonder if anyone else has had this experience, because I know it can vary with circumstance. I was lucky in that growing up I didn't really have any family conflicts, financial difficulties, or serious illnesses to deal with. I know that those who had such difficulties may have a different view on this.
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    I've been waiting for Marla or Jnette or Zoe or rnwriter (someone very articulate and insightful) to answer this one, lol!

    Joe, I'd say for me it's just different now.
    More complicated in some ways, but then I'm not as naive.
    I guess I'm growing up.

    I don't feel I'm obligated to do certain things/act a certain way.
    If I don't want to do something, I choose not to do it.
    I try not to live to make everyone (but me) happy.
    I still think I'm a thoughtful and caring person.
    But I've learned to draw a line, define a limit, and maintain it.
    Which contributes to my definition of happiness.

    I enjoy my work.
    I enjoy my play.
    I enjoy my downtime and crazy time as well.

    Hope that helps.

    Things will probably continue to change for you, as you change focus from being a full-time student to being a full-time employee (RN).
    Then if you have a relationship with a significant other, and you both decide to commit to each other, things change again.
    Then, if little ones come along, things change again.
    Oh, we're changing jobs or moving: change comes again.
    New friends, new hobbies, health changes, etc.

    Life is about change.
    Ya just weather it and keep on!
  4. by   Sabby_NC
    That is what life is all about eh?

    I think the sadness may come from what you see, read and hear on the TV apart from your own personal experiences.

    For me life has been a huge blessing and I have been through the pits of dispair. Ex walking out on a 24yr marriage. Oh what a horrid time for me but a wonderful learning time about who I was deep inside.

    Tough lesson but a wonderful growth time for me.

    If there are certain things that make you less happy try to change those.

    It is at times when we are going through a lot in our personal lifes that we question all of these things.

    You are going through studies, more responsibility with that lies directly on your shoulders. It is up to you to get through and no one else. Pressures from every day life and concerns can make us uneasy or unhappy.

    I think as we grow we get those increased responsibilities and worries. We get older and look at life differently than we did when we were in high school.

    When we are young we don't tend to have a care in the world and live life like there is no tomorrow. The older we get we look at life and start realizing it is not forever.

    Life in the 21st century is full of stress. Busy busy busy all the time.

    Step back, smell the roses and as Dinah said life is about change.

    Hate to think you are less happy though.
    Don't make me want to come and beat you with a feather my friend
  5. by   nyapa
    No, not for me.

    But along with the changes, I've developed strengths. I've been through a heck of a lot. But my way of coping is, I've got through it, and I don't have to look far to see someone worse off than myself...

    Nursing has become harder though. Patients have become more aggressive (at least in my sphere), and there is less respect for us as ppl. Has the legal emphasis increased in the US over the period of time you specified?
  6. by   traumaRUs
    Hubby and I were talkiing about this the other day. For us, a sense of humor has taken us thru some terrible times. We have been thru illnesses with both sons, stressful family situations, etc.. I think it makes you what you are. I am far more compassionate now than I ever was at 20 because I've needed that compassion sometimes. I also understand and am not so judgemental of other's choices. May not be what I would choose, but I try to respect them. We are so fortunate at this point to be able to give back to our kids and grandkids and for that we are grateful.
  7. by   TheCommuter
    I am one of the rare people who finds adult life easier than my younger years.

    My father was addicted to crack cocaine during my early and middle childhood years, which placed stress on the family finances. Also, I was neglected because he was too busy indulging in drinking and drugging. The refrigerator was often empty, the rent was always paid after the due date, and my mother's car was repossessed. Also, my father could be verbally abusive to me at times, and my mother condoned it. I simply had no control over my home situation when I lived with my parents.

    I have been living on my own for the past 4 years, and I love it. My family acted as the "crabs in the barrel" who attempted to pull me down whenever I tried to climb into a better situation. I feel free now that I am no longer under their control. I like having control over my own life and finances. I love coming and going as I please, without anyone questioning my motivations. I now enjoy middle-class comforts that I never had in early or middle childhood, such as a single family house, newer cars, money, and vacations.

    I am only 26 years old, but I would never wish to return to my childhood or adolescence.
  8. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I am one of the rare people who finds adult life easier than my younger years.

    My father was addicted to crack cocaine during my early and middle childhood years, which placed stress on the family finances. Also, I was neglected because he was too busy indulging in drinking and drugging. The refrigerator was often empty, the rent was always paid after the due date, and my mother's car was repossessed. Also, my father could be verbally abusive to me at times, and my mother condoned it. I simply had no control over my home situation when I lived with my parents.

    I have been living on my own for the past 4 years, and I love it. My family acted as the "crabs in the barrel" who attempted to pull me down whenever I tried to climb into a better situation. I feel free now that I am no longer under their control. I like having control over my own life and finances. I love coming and going as I please, without anyone questioning my motivations. I now enjoy middle-class comforts that I never had in early or middle childhood, such as a single family house, newer cars, money, and vacations.

    I am only 26 years old, but I would never wish to return to my childhood or adolescence.

    Commuter-
    I'm so glad for you!. (((((Commuter)))))

    I also have to agree with you. I think I was an old soul trapped in a young person's body. While I had nowhere the hardships growing up that you did, I was not a happy kid. I had almost no friends. I was pretty isolated. My mom was crazy(and angry); especially after my dad died.

    I'm so much more comfortable in my own skin. I have friends I can trust, an awesome family, a job that (for the most part) I love. I also have support to do the things I want to do without the criticism dragging me down. I really like being thirty. I don't feel like I have anything to prove. Are there people more accomplished than me? Yep, I'm happy for them too. Do I wish I still had the luxury of my paycheck being disposable income rather than earmarked for bills with very little leftover? Absolutely. Are there things I still want to accomplish? Uh-huh, but I'll get there. I refuse to beat myself up.

    Do a search on Marla's (mjlrn) posts on aging and personal growth. I want to be like her when I "grow-up."
    Last edit by NurseyBaby'05 on Nov 12, '07
  9. by   Joe NightingMale
    Well, it seems that the consensus is that life is equally as good or better now than in the past. In some ways I'm surprised...I hear most people say that their high school or college years were the best for them. But in some ways I'm not...I know that while some things may have been easier when I was younger I can't honestly say life was better then.

    I think part of this may be due to the common experience of grief for things that are no more, like people, places, youth, innocence, etc...in fact I'm feeling that kind of loss right now. But in spite of the fact that I now have to worry about bills and careers, I know I'm a better person and that I'll find a way to work things out eventually
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    My husband LOVED high school, especially football. He would go back in a minute. But then he had a great and normal family life. This little community in the late 60's/early 70's would be like "Happy Days" and he would be Richie Cunningham.

    I think because of my family, I'm like Commuter. Happier now. In high school, I'd be the girl in the song "At 17" by Janis Ian.


    "At Seventeen"
    I leaned the truth at seventeen that love was meant for beauty queens
    And high school girls with clear-skinned smiles who married young and then
    retired.
    The valentines I never knew, the Friday night charades of youth
    Were spent on one more beautiful. At seventeen I learned the truth.
    And those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces,
    Desperately remained at home, inventing lovers on the phone
    Who called to say, "Come dance with me," and murmured vague obscenities.
    It isn't all it seems at seventeen.
    A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs whose name I never could pronounce
    Said, "Pity, please, the ones who serve; they only get what they deserve.
    The rich relationed hometown queen marries into what she needs.
    A guarantee of company and haven for the elderly."
    Remember those who win the game lose the love they sought to gain.
    In debentures of quality and dubious integrity.
    Their small-town eyes will gape at you in dull surprise when payment due
    Exceeds accounts received at seventeen.
    To those of us who know the pain of valentines that never came,
    And those whose names were never called when choosing sides for basketball.
    It was long ago and far away; the world was much younger than today
    And dreams were all they gave away for free to ugly duckling girls like me.
    We all play the game and when we dare to cheat ourselves at solitaire.
    Inventing lovers on the phone, repenting other lives unknown
    That call and say, "Come dance with me," and murmur vague obscenities
    At ugly girls like me at seventeen.***********************


    Not that I haven't had very hard times as an adult too - divorce, family members on drugs, etc. It is just as a kid, you don't have a lot of power.

    steph
  11. by   Joe NightingMale
    I can relate to that...my friends and I were the "nerds" who liked chemistry and read science fiction. Not exactly popular (actually, had never been popular in middle school or even elementary school either).

    Some of my friends to this day have bad memories. As for me, once I got over the shock of adjustment and became an upperclassman, things got better: I had a circle of friends, better grades, and a job...at the library, of course . The librarians said that I spent so much time there I'd have no problem learning the job! :spin: Actually, it was a good job--not too hard, not too many hours, good supervisor, generally good co-workers.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    as a child/teen, when life was rough, i knew it.
    but.
    when life wasn't rough, i still anguished (as a teen).
    everything was so much more dramatic and devastating.

    these days, i am totally comfortable with who i am, and so, am totally comfortable with others, and who they are.
    i have tolerance and respect, for myself and man.
    i appreciate and embrace the individual in every one of us.
    i can now sense the relationship between myself and our universe.
    even when life is bad, life is good.
    couldn't always say that.

    leslie
  13. by   UM Review RN
    I'm a much happier person now than when I was a child. Someone said it before, most of my misery was rooted in the powerlessness of being a child.

    Not that my parents didn't care for me, they did, but through the greater part of my childhoood, they were verging on divorce and life was not pretty at home. I was sick a lot. Teachers at school and nurses at the hospital showed me that somewhere, someday, life could be sane.

    Now, from many years later, I can honestly look back there and not hurt. Life has its problems, but deep down inside, I'm happy with my life now.

    I often think that if I had to go through it all again just to get to this place, I would.
  14. by   GooeyRN
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I am one of the rare people who finds adult life easier than my younger years.

    I also find adult life easier than my younger years. I have the choice in what I do in my life now. If I choose a job I don't like, its my fault, and I can change jobs or careers. I chose to get married. I chose to have children. These things are stressful, but they are my choices. No one gets to tell me I have to eat meat or be home at a certain time or do chores or anything. I can serve Cheerio's for dinner if I choose. I can play online until 0200 if I feel like it. Yes, I will be tired in the am, but it is my choice. I enjoy having freedom to make my own life choices. My parents were quite controlling. So for me, life is easier now, even though I now have a job, bills, my own kids, a husband, etc.

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