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.
Terry is a leader in the Escape Adulthood movement. We have been blessed to get to know Terry over the years through the EA Summit, Wondernite, and various other local events and every time we walk away from a Terry encounter, we are better people for it. He possesses a magical combination of “old-soul” wisdom mixed with childlike playfulness that brings a richness and depth to his already delightful personality.
One of Terry’s superpowers is that he has the ability to make meaningful connections with people of all ages, which enables him to also learn from all of these people, which he does receptively. He asks really good questions – and genuinely listens – and values the people he is with. His healthy perspective on life is refreshing and inspiring. Terry and his mom Kim are the first ever mother-son Adultitis Fighter duos and it’s safe to say they are a force (for good) to be reckoned with. I dare you to spend an hour with them and not be a better person for it. Adultitis hates these two!
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 Terry some questions about how he fights the Big A and what advice he has for others…
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
I like to ensure that I leave time for self care and always remind myself not to take myself to seriously all the time. During training for graduate teaching assistants, we had a workshop and we started by writing down how we prioritize our time. My first two things were sleep and food. Everyone else laughed, partly because no one else had even thought about writing sleep or food, or basically being able to survive, ahead of classes, homework, and other responsibilities. I see young adults, my age and younger, getting to caught up in what they “have to do” that they forget that they need to, quite literally, live.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
My greatest influence in my own fight against Adultitis has been the early introduction to the problem and also solutions and reminders to keep fighting against it. Many of my friends think they’re too young to worry about Adultitis. I disagree though. It is easy to see it slowly creep into people’s lives from the moment they leave home and start college or living on their own. I think that fighting back early and hard has been the best tool in my fight against Adultitis, personally.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
Something I loved doing as a child (maybe not so long ago…) that I still do today is definitely car singing. If a favorite song of mine comes on then there is no stopping me. It does not matter who is in the car with me, where we are going, or what we are doing. I am just going to have to sing along.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
I typically will try and work my quirkiness in and around them in little bits and pieces. Quite often people might smile, or chuckle. Every now and then someone genuinely does not want any part of tomfoolery and openly get upset. I tend to just shrug my shoulders and take my fun nature to people that might prefer my company.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
My advice would be to try and shift and rearrange your priorities. Perhaps instead of stressing about a work load or deadline, it might be best to step back, have fun, relax, take care of yourself and come back to what “has to” get done at a later point in time. I find that with schoolwork piling up on some days that I will be more productive by going home, relaxing, getting proper amounts of sleep, food, fun, and relaxation before returning to working on the same projects the next day. I have found that I am able to do the same amount of work in maybe 60% of the time by going home and enjoying myself in the evenings and returning the next morning mentally and physically refreshed. In short, your number one priority in life should not be the work that seems like it must get done before you can do anything else.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I recently gave one of my extra copies of “A Chance of Awesome” away to someone that I could tell needed and would appreciate the book. The same evening I gave it to them I got a text that night saying “I’m reading [A Chance of Awesome] before I go to sleep and it’s really really nice, thank you so much for giving it to me. I had a weird/tough first week of class and this is cheering me up/helping put things in perspective.” I just wanted to share this with you because it was just so nice to hear back. It’s just always fun to spread your message and share with others something they might need or want to hear and see. Thank you so much!
Congrats to Terry McMillan, October 2019 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!