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Cat Poop in Your Sink and Advice on Being an Adult from Other Adults Who May or May Not Be Qualified to Give It

A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend to check in and see if she was doing okay. She responded that yes, she was fine, just overwhelmed with things. I said something like, “Dude, fucking life, right?” and she said something like, “You know, when I’m drowning it doesn’t make me feel any better to hear people say, ‘I’m older than you and I’m still drowning.’ That doesn’t make me feel any better at all.” And I thought you know what? That’s very true. When you’re struggling to keep your head above water, you’re not exactly thrilled to see another person popping out intermittently from between the waves to throw you a high five and hear them shout, “I’ve been at this longer than you!” above the wind.

“It Gets Better for a While, But Then Gets Worse, Or Sometimes It Doesn’t, But Then It Does, And Sometimes You Get Home from the Worst Day at Work to an Overdraft Alert from Your Bank and Cat Poop in Your Sink – That’s Right, YOUR CAT POOPED IN YOUR SINK – And That Will Totally Become a Metaphor for Your Very Existence in That Moment,” is not quite as catchy or uplifting as “It Gets Better.” Nor for that matter is, “Let Me Know If You Figure Out Whether It Gets Better.”

On the other hand, lengthy explanations about how things are from people who, everyone inherently recognizes, don’t know jack shit more than anyone else aren’t particularly helpful either. A different friend altogether recently declared an eternal moratorium on Advice for Women in Their Twenties articles, and I agree, not that I’d be qualified to write one anyway, since the only definite prerequisite to writing one of these ubiquitous pieces seems to be to have survived all the way through one’s twenties, which is a feat I have yet to accomplish, and that isn’t what I’m going for here. It seems like the first issue is that, as we grow older, we feel compelled to dismiss the concerns of those younger as somehow simultaneously exclusive to the age of the other person, or universal concerns that everyone experiences, as if either of those circumstances would make a problem less weighty. The second issue is that no one ever really knows what the hell they’re talking about.

However, I have three pieces of useful advice I’ve received in my life from people who may or may not have known what the hell they’re talking about.

The first is most useful for academic and artistic pursuits, and came from a lecture by Luc Sante that I had the privilege to attend a couple of years ago. At the end of his presentation, when he asked for questions, one person raised his hand and asked, “What advice would you give your younger self?” and I practically sprained my eye rolling mechanism because who actually asks questions like that? But the answer was enlightening. He said that what he would tell his younger self was to stop fucking around with surrealism and start paying attention to the world around him because what is happening in the here and now is important, even if it doesn’t feel important right now. To me, this requires that I strive for an understanding of the ways that my own life and experiences are important, and the ways in which I am a part of a much greater narrative than I can ever fully appreciate in the moment.

The second was from my mother, who, in response to my feelings of hurt over some perceived slight in high school, sighed and said that the truth was that there would always be someone better than me at something. At the time I felt like that was probably the least uplifting or helpful thing anyone had ever said to me, but the truth is that acknowledging this fact takes off a lot of pressure. I am never going to be the best at everything. Very few people even get to be the best at one thing. There’s no reason not to work toward being as great as I can be at any given thing, but there sure as hell isn’t a reason to beat myself up over some arbitrary standard of what constitutes success according to anyone but myself.

The third and final piece of useful advice I’ve ever received is courtesy of my middle school track coach, who yelled at us every day before practice, “Don’t do dumb shit.” In that context, it meant don’t do anything to get yourself injured or kicked off this team, so help you god or you’ll have me to contend with, but it’s pretty solidly applicable to most areas of my life.

And when your cat poops in your sink, there’s nothing you can do about it because trying to discipline cats is a futile endeavor. Clean up the poop, scour the sink, and move on with your life – except maybe sometimes refer back to the incident in an article on the internet about how much being an adult kind of blows.

By (e)Kelsium

Kelsium lives in Southern California with her partner and collection of almost (almost!) kill-proof plants. She enjoys the beaches, but finds the lack of acceptable bagels distressing. She considers herself an expert in red lipstick and internet rage.

13 replies on “Cat Poop in Your Sink and Advice on Being an Adult from Other Adults Who May or May Not Be Qualified to Give It”

Nope, that was, unfortunately, me… fucking cat.

Kelsium, these are all excellent tidbits of advice. “Don’t do dumb shit”… I think I need to make this a t-shirt later. It really is a gem that applies to pretty much everyone.

One thing that always stuck with me was my freshman year of high school, my friend and I met somewhere and we were both wearing pretty much the same outfit. We were horrified that people would think we had done it on purpose. An older friend was with us and she said “Seriously, you guys? People have better things to worry about than what you are wearing. Not everybody is looking at you.” I always try to remember this when I am embarrassed by something. People have better things to think about. Helps me be less self-absorbed.

And yeah, If someone can figure out a way to actually change a cat’s behavior, I’d love to hear it.

I have tried to impress that idea on my teenagers when they are being overdramatic about things like acne. The average high school student is so concerned with who is looking at their zits that they hardly notice other people’s spots.

And our version of “don’t do dumb shit” is “quit fucking with shit.”  It covers most situations nicely.

Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it’s great. I think this is why I try to enjoy the hell out of the little things that make me happy. Profoundly wonderful days are few and far between, but you can have a cup of coffee just the way you like it every day. And if your cat poops in the sink, sometimes the best you can do it laugh bitterly at the absurdity of life and grab some bleach.

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