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.
Shelley Storhoff is the Queen of Follow Through! In her email signature she has chosen the quote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. . . it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” It’s obvious through her stories and insights shared here that this is truly how she lives her life. What an model Adultitis Fighter! Shelley first heard Jason speak ten years ago and the amount of initiative she’s taken since then is amazing. As you’ll read, she has taken the “Finding Marty/Pokey” game to a whole new level of awesome, one that she and her family will treasure for a lifetime. This May marks their 10th Annual Pajama Run, which has grown each year into something that has impacted so many families. Her life is proof that these little ideas we share are just a spark of potential; the real magic is in what you do with it!
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 Shelley 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?
One of the first lessons I learned from hearing Jason speak was to be careful about using the word “busy.” I regularly challenge myself to remember that we always have time for what is most important at that time. Everyone is given the same 24 hours per day to prioritize how they choose. Staying true to this belief helps every day stay better balanced.
Another theme that I have learned from Escape Adulthood is to make memories! On a road trip to Florida in 2010, our family made what was going to be our final stop before arriving at our destination. We were at a gas station in Georgia, and my husband and I made all four of our children (then ages 11, 9, 7, and 4) get out of the car and do jumping jacks. The older kids were a bit horrified at first, but when we reminded them that none of the people around us would ever see us again, we all did some jumping jacks and made a very special memory for that trip!
Just before that trip was the first time that I heard Jason speak. An idea he shared turned into a ‘game’ that our family has played for almost nine years! While at Disney World during that trip, we purchased a small stuffed Mickey Mouse to hide around the house. It’s the “Hide Pokey” game. One twist that we added was to write down who hid Mickey, who found him, and where he was found. We have a binder that documents the progression of our children’s handwriting throughout the years, as well a written record of the numerous places that Mickey has been found! I love going through that binder with the kids and reliving those memories!
Another ongoing activity that we participate in is our school’s annual Pajama Run. We started with a small group of Moms and kids, and have expanded into families – a group of about 50 people who go to Wendy’s after hours (after getting Wendy’s to open up just for us!) and have some treats. Each year there is at least one new family that participates, and many families have come to the majority of the years! This May will be our 10th Pajama Run!
Other ways I have tried to fight Adultitis include: having our family picture taken in a cornfield, displaying that picture on a table in my office, along with two Little Miss Chatterbox figurines and a smurf playing the French Horn (which was my first band instrument).
I also have a crown on the dashboard in my truck, with the now-faded words “Princess for the Day” on it. (Many friends, as well as my own children, use the crown to identify my vehicle with certainty – since they are reasonably confident that no one else has a crown on their dashboard!) These little visual reminders as part of my daily routine help me to smile and keep life in perspective.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
Jason and Kim have been a huge influence! Taking the time to read their information regularly feeds my motivation to stay in control of my own choices. My belief that everyone has choices has also been a huge influence in my fight. On a recent car ride, our family was asking questions from the Chat Pack, and the question came up: “What is your biggest pet peeve?” I asked my kids what they thought my biggest pet peeve was. In unison, they answered, “Poor me, poor me!” I considered it a proud moment to realize that they know I have little tolerance for playing a victim, and that I instead encourage them to choose their role, and their response, in all situations.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
PLAY! I feel fortunate to work in the Early Childhood field, where I am regularly surrounded by toys, arts and crafts, and creative minds! Also, our family enjoys playing board games together, which helps bring everyone back together even when their current ages suggest that their lives are all going in different directions.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
I like to invite others to participate in upcoming activities to encourage them to have fun and make some memories with us! If I am unable to assist them in their battle against Adultitis, I try offering genuine sympathy. Sometimes people really don’t see a way out of their self-defined miserable “grown-up” life, and for that, I am genuinely sad for them. This is another situation where it is important to remember my own choices. Seeing someone in that battle does NOT mean I have to become caught up in their struggle. I can support them or offer them sympathy without needing to unnecessarily take on anyone else’s challenges.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
Be patient, and be kind to yourself! Take a deep breath and refocus on what matters. I might plant the seed to consider what decision will matter in five years or ten years, not only right now. Sometimes we let the urgency of “now” overwhelm us, and it can shift our focus away from our priorities and our long term goals.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Stay grateful! My faith, family, and friends encourage me to stay grateful in all situations. From a child’s health crisis or a difficult family dynamic, to a child reaching their next milestone or a thrilling family celebration, all situations can be approached with gratitude. It might take some time to figure out WHAT to be grateful for, but I believe that it is always worth it to take the perspective of gratitude in life! Staying thankful when the world wants you to get angry has been a reliable method for me to battle Adultitis through the years!
Congrats to Shelley Storhoff, February 2019 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!