I Don't Want to Grow up

04/25/2013 06:00 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2013


America is the land where we can always start over again. You're an alcoholic loser? Go to AA, clean up and become the CFO of a large company. Owe thousands to the IRS? We'll help you pay that off in a jiffy and you can still keep your house. You're fat We'll staple that stomach up and you'll be dancing before you know it. Cancer? Don't even think about it. After the radiation and the chemo we'll have your hair growing back and you'll be out on the town dating and mating. There is nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it.

Not only can we start over again and become rich and pretty or lively and sexy again, we can also decide to become parents any time we want to. Not only celebrities but ordinary professionals are waiting to have kids until they "have enough money," or build up their careers. There is a smart age to have kids. It's the age when you will have enough resources to give your kids everything their little hearts desire and then the therapy they'll need because they were given too much. It's also the age when you can still play with them and enjoy having them. The best age for your body to have kids is in your twenties. Let's face it, having those kids before you hit thirty is just biologically perfect. You're just out of your teens so you are used to staying up all night. You don't need the sleep and you still have the patience. I had my kids in my twenties and I hardly ever regret it.

When I hit forty-five, they were flying the coop and it was time for me to start working on a career. That's the bad side of it. If you have your kids in your twenties, you can get caught up in raising them and find yourself playing catch up in your forties when you don't have the energy for building a career from scratch. Any way you slice it, having kids and a career is exhausting. But, we Americans like to think we can have our cake and eat it. We don't want to admit that having kids in your forties often sucks for you and for the kids. They have old parents and you don't have the elasticity of the body or the brain to adapt to the craziness.

And then of course, there's the big reinvention. We can go back to school. We like the idea so much there have even been movies about adults going back to the classroom. Americans like the idea that we can simply sign up any time we want to and start back to college. The community colleges, the state universities and now all the little pay-for-a-degree schools like University of Phoenix and National chime in with the possibility of getting a degree later in life. Trade schools like ITT promise a change of life. You were a loser with not a date in sight? Go with ITT, you'll have women oozing out of the woodwork to get their hands on your body parts. But many Americans don't have the money to pay for an expensive education. Don't worry! You're an American. With rights. Like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sallie Mae will make your dreams come true. The percentage of Americans who owe $100,000 or more on student loans is growing. What happens if you still owe Sallie Mae at the point you hit Social Security age? They can garnish your wages. They can take money from your social security to pay off Sallie Mae. Makes you think of Soylent Green.

We Americans want everything: Empire without consequences. Food without fat. School without debt. Class without style. We need to wake up and think about consequences and grow a conscience, but in the meantime, I'm still working on my student loans, and at the rate I'm going, my social security will pay them off before I hit seventy. Sallie Mae is carrying 180 billion in debt. There are kids in their thirties who just keep getting one degree after another. After all, it's better than growing up and getting a job. Isn't that the American way? We don't have to grow up; we can be juveniles on the planet. There is no climate change. There is no debt. If you say it often enough, maybe you'll believe it.