AMA Q8: What’s the first adult thing you ever had to do?

(As a reminder, this is a question I received in my first blog-style Ask Me Anything.)

Kelly Manfredini asks, “What’s the first adult thing you ever had to do?”

One of two things.

First, when I was still young, maybe 10 years old, my mother got sick with pneumonia. While she was sick, I had to take care of myself and my sister—including cooking, which was strange and new and scary at the time. I grew up a lot in a short time dealing with that, and I guess it was the first time I had real adult worries for someone I care deeply about.

The other thing that comes to mind is all the training and studying I did, and the ultimate performance for, my Bar Mitzvah. That was the first time I ever did anything that took over a year of work, and culminated with myself on stage in front of hundreds of people—singing, no less (and I have a pretty bad singing voice, as anyone who knows me well can tell you. I sing, just not very well).

It was scary and very real. But I did it. And I was proud I did it afterwards.

They tell young men after their Bar Mitzvah that they’re “men” now. I don’t know if that’s true or not, as I don’t think I was really an “adult” for another decade, but it did something to my psychology to think so, made me take responsibility when I might otherwise not have. A good learning experience. And while I disliked the ritual and religion aspect of it—organized religion has always had a bad taste for me, even the one in which I was raised—it sure did affect the course of my life in a positive way by giving me the confidence of having overcome that hurdle. I often thought back to those moments later in life, when I was trying to do something hard.

Still do.

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