Through the Eyes of a Child
I may not be a teenager anymore, but you can bet your sweet ass I still babysit whenever I get the chance. It’s an obvious life choice: claw your way into your local circle of rich moms, sacrifice the occasional Friday night and receive payout equal to, like, 20 hours at your regular job. Most recently, an evening spent watching four kids covered the cost of my Kanye West ticket almost in its entirety. All glory to Yeezus… the most high!
In most instances, a non-relative or non-teacher adult ever rolling with a squad of 9-year-olds is, in a word, questionable. Luckily, my unthreatening nature works to my advantage and parents have deemed me a qualified part-time guardian (?). This is great news because on top of the dolla billz, babysitting keeps you young. Not in the way that your friends do, but in the way that reawakens a sense of wide-eyed-ness.
One disappointing thing about getting older is noticing the mystique of things that used to excite you fade. Coming into the real world is met with its fair share of challenges, and the temptation to let this harden you is accessible; perhaps it’s autopilot to become jaded. To have a hopeful outlook towards the state of the world, towards your passions, even towards life at times, takes a conscious effort. The reality is you witness (and sometimes find yourself in the middle of) a lot of crash and burn scenarios as you grow up, and it is really easy to let ugly truths cloud your perspective.
The onset of cynicism has innocent roots. For me, it stems from humor.
I grew up in South Florida. If you haven’t had the great displeasure of spending more than one week in America’s armpit, I would advise against it. Don’t get me wrong — there are awesome things about South Florida. The beach, Cuban culture, Publix… Thanks for reading my list of awesome things about South Florida!
I dealt with my bizarre teenage years the same way I deal with delusional people, Trump’s candidacy and most other poopy things: making fun of it. Making fun of it is a wonderful pastime and a timeless coping mechanism. Making fun of it is like a warm Chai latte on a brisk fall day. Making fun of it can also turn you into a real asshole.
A few months back, a friend (Ally Willis, TFY co-founder and great person) and I were babysitting on the same night on the same street. The neighborhood kids are friends so we took the opportunity to join parties, aka hang out while the kids did whatever-the-fuck in peripheral view. Ally and I sat on the back porch while the kids ran around in the back yard. I couldn't tell you what game or sport (?) they were playing, but they were clearly having the time of their goddamn lives. It was a familiar sight but also a distant sight. "When was the last time you were that excited about anything?" we pondered. It's hard to say.
One of my favorite memories is the time my mom hosted a Christmas party, and all the kids played capture the flag around the exterior of the house. This was South Florida in December so keep in mind that we were dealing with a chilly 78-degree evening. At one point I was scaling some bushes and the bottom of my foot was punctured by a Christmas light. Despite the blood, I still remember thinking surely no one had ever had THIS much fun before and surely no one ever would.
I don't know why these experiences were so amazing in the moment, but I'm sure it has a lot to do with not analyzing them so hard. When you're a kid you don't think about why you enjoy what you enjoy, or what you should enjoy, or feel skeptical of what you do enjoy. You just enjoy it. For this reason, I encourage you all to babysit. Tax-free income meets enlightenment. Can I get a resounding hellllllll yeaah?
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]