Observations – Teenage-People, Child-People, Adults

Some people are born teenagers.  This is not to say that they don’t age and grey—sometimes with unfortunate clothing and very heavy make-up—but only that they have a certain kind of self-centeredness that focuses their whole lives.  They want what they want with little apology, their sense of entitlement profound enough to smother most glimmerings of guilt.  They can be antic and fun, spoiled and indolent.  They are pretty good at “moving on” from sadness and loss, less good at moving on from a perceived offense; a certain narcissism (which is different from self-confidence) makes the offenses of others feel pretty serious, also making forgiveness come hard.

Some people are born children; usually “good” children.  As good children, they  crave approval so much that the absence of it (a simple silence) can feel like implied castigation.  Child-people want to feel taken care of, by a benign fate as well as a loved one.   (Often, this doesn’t happen; the child-people are concerned enough about pleasing that they tend to do a fair amount of caretaking.)  Even so, always in search of signs of such care, they look for “silver linings,” justifications, explanations, nuance.  They can hardly bear not finding what’s “right” about something wrong, and go through endless convolutions trying to make it right.   This convolution makes it difficult for such child-people to make decisions, an abstract difficulty magnified by the obstacles child-people have identifying their own needs.  A sense of entitlement not natural to them, they need “permission” to satisfy their needs.  Because others may not be paying close attention to these needs  (the teenage-people in their lives, for example), the child-people may have a hard time getting this permission.

Some people are born adults.  They can make thoughtful decisions, understanding the concept of cutting losses.  They are happy to help others, but also understand the airplane rules of the dangling emergency oxygen mask (put your own mask on first.)   They also understand the limitations of help (i.e. that the helpee must be willing and able to be helped.)

Each of these types of people can be happy, indifferent, troubled, content.  (Well, I don’t know about content.)

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