I went to the dentist the other day to get my teeth cleaned. At the end, as the hygienist prepared to polish my teeth, she asked, “Mint?”
“Actually,” I said, “Do you have bubble gum?”
“Yes!” She exclaimed. “We have cherry and raspberry, too.”
Judging by her reaction, my request was on the rare side, but she was happy to accommodate me.
I have nothing against mint, but when did it become the official dental polish flavor of adulthood? At what age is bubble gum no longer an “appropriate” choice? (If I’m being honest, grape would be my first and last choice all day long.)
Yet another rule that could have easily made my last book: Adults shalt only be allowed to receive mint tooth polish.
I bet most people either don’t care or just go with the flow, assuming they will be looked down upon for choosing a less “sophisticated” flavor.
Too often, we are too overly concerned with how “adulty” we appear in the eyes of others. We want to be taken seriously, seen as responsible and mature, and don’t want to be outed as someone who kinda sorta really likes having fun.
And so we settle for mint.
Meanwhile, the dental polish company analyzes annual sales and determines that once again, mint is their most popular flavor. Let’s make more!
It’s not just flavors; there are certain colors that have cornered the market on adulthood. No child has ever requested the beige option of anything and yet it is the official color of adulthood (narrowly edging out gray).
I was delighted that the new tool cabinet I bought for my art supplies came in yellow. It makes me happy every time I see it. The other option was, of course, gray, which I’m sure was more “popular.” I’m also sure that gray is similar to beige, in that it never made anyone happy. Ever.
Whether it comes to colors, flavors, or ways you like spending your free time (I’m looking at you, kid lit readers, gamers, cosplayers, and people who love the swings at the park), don’t allow yourself to be enslaved by the opressively stifling choice desert that accompanies modern adulthood.
Life should get more fun as you get older, not less. You know more things, have more money, and can make more decisions on your own. Instead of living life with a big box of 64 crayons at our disposal, we regularly settle for the wimpy 8-pack, with the red, blue and green crayons replaced with gray, beige and mauve.
If the default option sounds boring to you, ask for more options. You don’t have to settle for the status quo.
If you find yourself wondering, “Is this all there is?,” assume the answer is “no” and set out to find something better.
You can always ask for more fun, please.
More times than not, you’re likely to get it.