Baby Bird Syndrome

Ah, the wonders of nature. A little baby bird emerges from an egg, it is fed and nurtured by its parents, and then one day, it grows its feathers all over and becomes too big for the nest. So, what happens? Does it watch its parents closely so it can learn how to fly? Does it hop along on a branch before finally taking wing? No! Mom and Dad shove their little son or daughter right over the side. How’s that for encouragement?

And most of the time, the little baby bird either flutters a little and finds the wind under its wings, or it plummets to the ground and chirps for days, until it finally figures out how to get itself out of this mess.

Now, you might think, Wow, rude, Mom and Dad! You wouldn’t even allow it to pack its stuff? Or you might think, It was time. Everybody has to grow up, and nothing helps you to grow up like the fear of falling out of the nest.

But what happens when that scenario hits a little closer to home and that little baby bird is actually a full-grown adult college graduate?

This is a situation that we are seeing more and more with our tanking economy. Students return to their home base before making their way out into the world because it’s all they can do to stay afloat with collegiate debt. And in nationwide polls, most parents have said that they don’t mind that their child has come home to roost. I mean, if your parents are anything like mine, they usually don’t mind the company. They like the extra help and someone to schlepp around with.

But the weight of it all for that little baby bird or human well…it weighs on you. You feel like a loafer. You feel like a mooch. And worst of all, you feel like a fat baby bird who refuses to fly and would rather sit in the nest watching Jerry Springer! at all hours of the day. There’s this awful guilt that you aren’t living up to your full potential because you’re grounded, in a way.

Which is why bird parents and human parents sometimes push their children out of the nest at some point. It absolutely forces them to make a decision, and the baby is able to start his or her life on his or her terms.

But there are also parents who would rather see their baby’s feathers fully grown in before they’re  encouraged to fly. Which is okay, too.

The point is that it’s fine to do either. It’s okay to strike out on your own and it’s okay to just strike out. As long as everyone is happy with the situation, then you need to feel like it is acceptable too, guilt or not.

Just remember that if you’re feeling a bit like you’re taking up too much space in the nest, think about what it will feel like to you and your parents when it’s empty. Enjoy the time you have together.

Winning the Lottery is a Great Way to Die

Yes, if you haven’t heard, the Powerball Jackpot is up to a whopping $500 million dollars.

And if you really haven’t heard this news, then it’s probably because you haven’t been watching the news, or it’s because you’ve been fantasizing about what you’ll do with all of the money.

So, what will it be? Pay off your debt? Buy a new house? Move to another country? Own a yacht? Donate to charity? Get a sporty sports car? Quit your job in the most dramatic way possible?

Of course, this is not to mention all of the things that you’ll have to do when you hit it big: hide from relatives, remain anonymous, donate to your alma mater, squirrel it all away or blow it one shot, enroll in therapy to cope with your losses.

See, the problem with winning the lottery is that it is completely life-changing (says the girl who has only won prizes out of a claw machine and knows nothing about actually winning the lottery). But, sans experience, if you really think about it, if you think about coming into a lot of money, you’ll find that there are a lot of parallels to dying. No, seriously:

  1. There is a formal announcement. (People who aren’t your relatives may cry. Your relatives may cheer.)
  2. Everyone pretends that they know you. (And show up at the most inconvenient times).
  3. You have to disappear for awhile. (Whether you come back is really up to how much you win and how much debt your relatives are in).
  4. You have to give up your current lifestyle, sometimes unwillingly. (Which is exactly like death because, well, you know, you’re dead.)
  5. Relatives have to sort through your belongings. (And decide what to move into your new castle).
  6. You realize that it was your health that mattered all along. (Again, death sort of puts a stopper on anything “health-related”).

And so what do I mean by all of this? More money is the way to solve my problems, you say. And it is in some ways. I’m not about to sit here and tell you that my student loans have gone away because I have been wishing on every 11:11 I see.

But there is a price to receiving gobs and gobs of money. What everyone doesn’t realize is that when you receive it, you have to give up a lot, too. You inevitably experience a sort of death in society, as it were. And it really isn’t a happy demise. (If you need specific examples, google every single celebrity ever.)

Let’s face it: you have to give up your sense of anonymity because everyone knows the person who won 500 mil at the office, drug store, mall, etc. You have to give up your current life because everyone is going to call you a cheapskate if you don’t buy a mansion, and everyone is going to whisper when you pour every cent into a new Ferrari. But most of all, you have to give up your sense of humanity. Sure, you can donate to charity, and it will most likely make you feel good. But you’ll never be able to really empathize with the struggles of the common man or woman ever again. You’ll be a ghost, looking in.

The point is, if you say that you need more money in your life, you are simply looking to deaden yourself to the world. You are simply saying that you would prefer to disappear. What you really need to be saying is that I need more love in my life. And when you have that, you begin to realize that all of the best things in life are truly free.