An Adultitis Fighter is someone who rallies against rules that don’t exist and engages in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. Once a month, we shine a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against a formidable enemy.
Did you know that over 75% of the cars in the world are either white, black, or some shade of gray? What’s that about? (Hint: It starts with an “Adult” and ends in “itis.”) If we were asked about the color of our dream car when we were kids, I bet colors like purple, pink, neon green, and rainbow would have been among the top vote getters. Once in a while, you’ll see someone in a flashy red or yellow sports car, but those are rare.
What’s rarer still is a car covered in rubber duckies.
Yes, this is a thing, thanks to Jen Mulder, this month’s Adultitis Fighter of the Month. We read about her in an article in Madison Magazine and she became an instant shoo-in for the award. Here’s the blurb:
Jen Mulder’s Duckmobile is a sight to be seen. Covered by more than 300 rubber ducks of varying size and style, it’s now in its third incarnation. The first one hit the road in 2008.
Her reason for creating and continuing it is simple: “It’s to make people smile and it makes me smile,” she says. “I get so many notes under my windshield from people saying it made their day.”
And there are other benefits, too. “I never lose it in the parking lot,” she jokes.
It wouldn’t surprise me if other people have thought about doing something similar with their car, whether it involves ducks or just a whimsical paint job. No doubt that most of those folks decided against it after asking the question, “That’s ridiculous. What will other people think?”
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that “they’ll admire your courage and think you’re one of the coolest people on the planet” is one of the answers to that question.
We love the idea that Jen has put her car to work not just to get her from one place to another, but to make people smile every single day. And we lookin forward to seeing it out on the roads someday soon!
In recognition of their efforts, Adultitis Fighters of the Month receive a special mini-canvas hand-painted by Jason, along with a certificate of honor, a sweet patch, and other Adultitis-Fighting tools. We asked Jen some questions about how she fights the Big A and what advice she has for others…
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
Singing songs and changing the lyrics to match my situation – “I love paper work, I love paper work, I love paper work, but only when it’s green.”
Not focusing on things that don’t interest me. I choose not to spend my time with my fashion on a daily basis – I have tie dyed button-down shirts and I put one on with jeans in the morning to make my morning routine fast and comfortable, so I don’t have to think about these things.
When I get stressed or want to run screaming from life, I say, “shoot me now” and then hand a colleague a nerf gun and have them shoot me. This break in our day releases the stress (especially when I feign falling down in pain) allows us to laugh, take some time to pick up the ammo, and gain a fresh perspective.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
People who live in fear have been my greatest influence in fighting against Adultitis. To me, there is either love or fear. I certainly do feel fear, but I work my hardest to get back to living in love as quickly as I can. In love, anything is possible. Love, being a verb just like fear, is a way to live and give. It also makes forgiveness super important and easy – so more loving can happen.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
Experiment in making fun things – like costumes, art cars, fairy gardens, quilts, tie dye clothing. Trying new techniques and ideas – especially when I fail, that’s where I get my best learning. I was a girl scout and got to try a number of things as a child. As an adult, I don’t shy away from playing with and trying new things. I also encourage others not to give up on themselves too early in the experimentation process as we all get better with experience.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
Not letting them infect me is key. Empathy is love and understanding where they are and acknowledging their state costs me nothing. I use silliness to bring levity to life and hard situations. Something I remind myself always is to “thrive to be five” – that is to shift my perspective to that of a five-year-old. I often give hugs, or send “psychic hugs” on the internet, as that is pretty much all a five-year-old can offer another person for comfort. I know I can not solve their problems or challenges – but I can give them a little simple love.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
Take a moment to love yourself. Be alone and find a little peace for 5 whole breaths at least. Stop what you are doing and intentionally take 5 large inhalations and exhalations where you don’t think about all the “things.” You just breathe and come back to yourself – no matter where you are (keep your eyes open if you are operating heavy machinery). Count these breaths, and feel the fear and tension leave your body. You are an amazing spiritual being having a human experience. You get to choose your reaction to any situation life may throw your way.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Break the “rules” that you have imposed on yourself. You are limiting yourself by believing you are stuck, bored, inept, or alone. The only person you can change is YOU. That is where your focus needs to be.
Choose to smile. Sing silly songs while doing the paperwork, scrubbing toilets, or taking out the trash. Don’t take yourself too seriously and be kind and loving to yourself. This will make it easier
to be kind and loving to others and you will always reap what you sow.
Congrats to Jen Mulder, July 2018 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!