When I was in elementary school, I viewed the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students as revered members of the student body. Their classrooms were in the air-conditioned wing of the school. They had their own field for recess. Their desks were stuffed with textbooks. They looked so wise in their graduation photos. They got to go on overnight field trips. They were tall. They were, basically, adults.
I had created this mystique in my head about them.
And then I got to those grades and my classroom was in the air-conditioned wing of the school. We had our own field for recess. Our desks were stuffed with textbooks. We looked wise in our graduation photos. We went on overnight field trips. We were tall.
Something felt off.
We were not the people I thought we would be. We were definitely not adults. We were just a year older than the previous year, sitting in a different classroom.
Surely, though, high school would be the land of serious and studious individuals, carrying around textbooks and worrying about the next test. Right?
In some ways, it was. In many ways, it was not.
They referred to us as “young adults”. The “young” shone through a lot. It felt like childish antics were on display every day.
University – I do not know what my expectations were. By this point, we were all adults. We all knew how to buckle down when we needed to.
And yet, I had so much fun. I felt like a kid, on most days.
From as young as five-years-old, I had this notion that, “By a certain age, I will be like this“. I am sure I am not alone in that. Call it the early days of us comparing ourselves to others, or using age as a guideline for where we should be in life.
One level of education after another, that notion was shattered.
I have come to realize that, in many respects, adulthood is childhood on a grander stage and the world is our audience.
Welcome to: Adults Are Children and Life is Professional Wrestling
What I ask of you, the reader, is to not take the title of this post literally, but take it seriously. I ask that you go along with me, as I lay out some scenarios and analogies, while bouncing back and forth between these interconnected concepts. So, pack a snack and join me on this journey of words.
Professional wrestling is all about getting a reaction from the audience. Whether they are cheering for you, or booing you out of the building, it does not matter. As long as there is noise, you are okay. Silence is death.
The bad guy (heel) wants to be booed. They will: insult your local sports team, refer to members of the audience as overweight, tell people to “Shut up and listen to what I have to say”, and then beat up the hometown hero.
The good guy (face) wants to be cheered. They will: give high-fives to fans as they walk to the ring, come to the aid of their friends, and challenge the heel to a fight.
It is crowd manipulation at its finest.
Take this general concept and apply it to life. Where is it prevalent?
Correct – social media. On social media, we play the role of professional wrestler and audience member.
One minute, we are showing off our muscles, the next minute we are yelling things with popcorn in our mouth. That was meant to be a comical statement, before I got to my actual comparison, but it is kind of true, is it not?
We say it all the time – Instagram is a highlight reel. We want to be liked. Literally and figuratively. We want to be cheered on. We want a crowd reaction. Our caption begs for it, sometimes. Even the struggles are twisted into a story of perseverance.
Classic, professional wrestling.
Then there are influencers. Hey, kudos to them for being paid to advertise products, or lifestyle. I am not hating. Make your money. I am just here to put in words what everyone is already thinking.
At its core, is “influencing” not a form of peer pressure? “Do this, buy this, be like this – everyone else already is.”
It is the adult-version of peer pressure, but because we are adults, we call them influencers, or salespeople, so it is okay.
Pfft, adults do not need to be protected; they are not children. Right?
And then there is Twitter.
Twitter, itself, is like a child that has been walking through mud all week at recess, but has never stopped to clean their shoes. The layers keep mounting, until the shows become unrecognizable.
In that forum, many adults take on the role of heckler. By doing so, the person they are heckling becomes the heel. It can turn into a mob mentality. People get so angry at a small collection of words and feel the need to yell back into the abyss.
he audience will support the people who support their opinion.
Classic, professional wresting.
Twitter can be used as Exhibit A for my claim that adults are children.
What do children do when they do not get their way? They whine. They complain. They argue. They yell. They cry. They want someone to feel sorry for them. They tell other people – or the other parent – their side of the story to try and win them over. They need an ally.
It is the ol’, “If I explain my side of the story, someone will agree with me” way of thinking.
Life is all about finding people that agree with you and sticking with them.
Sound familiar? It is Twitter. That is where adults reside – many of whom, express their daily disgruntlement toward anything, everything, and nothing at all.
Mad at a company? Tweet them. Tag them in the tweet. Let them know you are unsatisfied with their service. Shame them into telling you to send them a DM. And along the way, you let your followers know what you think of that company. You are swaying their opinion, if only a little bit.
Bam, we are back to professional wrestling.
Instead of sitting on the floor and crying until someone responds to them, adults go to Twitter. We like to complain, especially when we can make it mildly funny. That gets the “likes” and “retweets”.
Heck, we may even go viral! Oh, joy.
So much of Twitter is just the words we would say after, “Oh yeah, well…” during a battle of words with a foe.
Picture a schoolyard squabble between children.
“Your shirt is ugly.”
“Oh yeah, well your hat looks like it was in a puddle.”
“Oh yeah, well you are a puddle!”
Clearly, I need to brush up on modern-day schoolyard squabbles, but you get the point. There is a constant one-upmanship playing out.
On Twitter, the same thing is going on. No one ever admits they are wrong. No one ever changes their mind. There is too much pride at stake. There are too many old tweets that will become screenshots, should anyone dare to evolve their views.
Adults are children. Their actions may be different, but their behaviour is the same. It is, merely, manifested via an age-appropriate avenue.
Outside of social media, we see more examples to support my claim that life is professional wresting.
In wrestling, there is a saying that, “The title does not make the man/woman, the man/woman makes the title.”
Which is to say that it is the actions of the individual, that makes the championship important and prestigious.
Just because someone holds a championship belt, does not mean they automatically acquire attributes befitting of a champion. The powers are not transferred via osmosis. It is who they are, that makes the title mean something.
Are there world leaders who think that because they are the elected leader of a country, they can ignore the advice of their colleagues, and say anything they want?
I will let you answer that.
What about on a smaller scale? Do people give themselves a title, yet fail to put in the work that would make them worthy of it? Yes, all the time.
“Oh, I am a blogger!”
No, sorry, you post once and then go on hiatus for a year, before repeating the cycle. Do you really think you deserve that title?
Heck, I feel uncomfortable calling myself a blogger, or writer, at times. I do not feel like I am doing anything special. I am just writing words.
I went running about a dozen times (give or take) last summer and have not gone since. Does that mean I can call myself a runner? Or can I only call myself a runner if I exclude that last part about not running since last year?
Why are we so concerned with titles? To fill a resume? To stroke our ego? To make it look like we are busy? To tell the relatives something about ourselves during Christmas?
Deep down, we just want to be important. Is that it? Dig deep in your soul. Look in your subconscious if you need to.
Titles give us self-importance. They are things we can point to and associate with our identity. Professional wrestlers also have titles – nicknames, if you will – that are associated with their identity.
The Man – Becky Lynch.
The Legit Boss – Sasha Banks.
The Big Dog – Roman Reigns.
The Viper, The Apex Predator, The Legend Killer – Randy Orton.
The Reigning, Defending, Undisputed, Universal Champion – Brock Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar’s mouthpiece – advocate – Paul Heyman, would announce him to the ring like that every single time during his championship run.
The more titles you put in front of your name, the more important you look.
Life is professional wrestling.
The global pandemic we currently find ourselves in has offered many examples that prove adults are children.
Remember when adults were hoarding toilet paper? Children do the same thing with crayons in the classroom.
Yes, the situations are vastly different. However, at the root of it is the mindset of, “I need this. Everyone else made need this too, but I am not sharing.”
Again – different actions, same behaviour.
Then there is this whole thing about adults refusing to wear a mask. The sheer defiance is Case 0 for “Adults Are Children”. No matter how many times you tell them the benefits of wearing a mask, they will not listen.
I feel like I do not even have to give a specific example of a child refusing to listen to instructions because this comparison is so transparent.
Insert an, “Oh yeah, well children are wearing masks while many adults refuse to” here.
What about quarantine? For a little while, people did really well at staying in one spot. Now, in some places, we see people acting like the pandemic is over just because they got tired of staying home.
They are out and about, frolicking in the sun, and mingling with strangers, acting as if the rules do not apply to them because they have chosen to live their life.
This is like a child in kindergarten who wanders away from the reading circle on the carpet because they cannot sit still. They want to do something else.
I may even be underestimating children a little bit. Perhaps, none of them wander away from the carpet because staying in that one spot is the best thing they could do at the moment.
Especially since it is probably a picture book. Even if one kid wanders off, they will turn around when the page flips, just to see the next picture.
A few days ago, a woman in Toronto entered a hospital and started filming, when she was told she would be turned away, if she did not put on a mask. She refused to wear a mask and was escorted out by security.
What are we doing here?
The hospital requires everyone to wear a mask because, let me just check my notes, oh yeah – we are in the middle of a pandemic.
Why do the rules not apply to you? What is it about putting a mask on your face, and protecting those around you, that makes you so mad? Why do you not understand?
The defiance is baffling to me.
And then to pull out your phone and film the staff – the heroes – thinking it will garner sympathy online. Talk about a power move without any batteries.
You would think an adult would be able to have a level of understanding and put aside their own beliefs. No. Could not do it.
We always hear that children do not know any better. Well, adults know better, and they still find a way to act like children.
If you are wondering why I wrote this post, then allow me to wonder with you.
At times, while reading this, you probably thought, “Not all adults!”, or “Not all children!”, or “Not all situations in life are akin to professional wrestling!” Or maybe you thought that adults acting like children could be a good thing times.
Yes, to all of that.
I think the point of this was to show that we are all the same – on some level – no matter the age, and that life is something we make up on the fly. Therefore, it is useless to set expectations or guidelines for ourselves based off of what someone else has achieved at the same point in their life.
Now, more than ever, it is so easy to look over into the next lane, and figure out where we measure up in the marathon of life.
That is a mouse trap.
Getting caught up in it, only plants a seed in our head and provides a false representation of what we can expect.
We do not know what it is like to be 20-years-old, until we are 20-years-old. We do not know 25, until we are 25. We do not know 30, until we are 30. We do not know 40, or 50, 0r 65, or 80, until we are those ages.
It is like buying a couch – you may have an idea what it feels like, but you have no clue until you sit on it.
The Smashing Pumpkins sang, “Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave, without leaving a piece of youth.”
Maybe the point of this is realizing that adults hold onto pieces of their youth – the good and the bad – and life is something we cannot easily predict for ourselves.
Thus, adults are children and life is professional wrestling.