Dear Adults Who Use Coloring Books & Play Candy Crush, Grow the Freak Up

adults need to grow upI'm sorry, adult coloring books -- I don't get you. Maybe it's because you were never high on my list of favorite activities as a kid -- what with my mom and teachers insisting on that "stay inside the lines" business and all. So, I don't see how you've made this recent comeback. But don't worry; you're not alone. Would-be grown-ups seem to be embracing more and more childhood pleasures, and I think I know why.


I mean, I get it. Who doesn't want a little downtime to space out and forget the responsibilities of day-to-day adult life? Whether it be work or financial stressors, caring for children and aging parents, or relationship woes, the average person has plenty on her plate.

But is spending your 45-minute commute playing Candy Crush the answer? While initially I'd say "no," based on the number of people I watch pushing their thumbs to the keypad, I'd say I'm wrong.

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Sure, at first, it seems like a stress-reliever, but many's the time I've been seated beside a man in a tailored suit who's reduced to punching his own thighs in rage when his Floppy Bird doesn't cooperate.

I have to bite my tongue not to say, as I often do to my 10-year-old, "It seems like this game is upsetting you. Why don't you turn off your device, take a deep breath, and go outside." Except, wait, this is a grown freakin' man -- on a train!

What happened to reading a book or just simply staring into space? 

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And then there are vision boards. Have you seen these? Adults are getting together (sometimes they even pay upwards of $40 to attend a session) with stacks of old magazines to cut and glue pictures to a poster board. Why? Because these pseudo art projects are supposed to help them "get clear" on their hopes and dreams for the future.

From career goals to your yoga practice, if you envision it, and then paste it to cardboard, surely you can achieve it! (Said no one ever.) I'm all for setting goals, and if it helps to put them in writing, go for it, but you can't pretend that this doesn't bear a striking resemblance to decorating your high school locker. You've just traded in your aerosol hairspray for a glass of Malbec and Seventeen magazine for Robb Report

Believe me, I understand what it's like to want a break from adulthood. I remember shortly after I had my first child, I saw a teenage boy peel out of a Burger King drive-through with a Whopper in one hand and a cigarette in the other. As crazy as it sounds, I had such envy in that moment. Here was a guy who didn't care about his lungs, his cholesterol, or his safety -- considering he was steering with his knees. It's not that I wanted his burger or his Camel light, but rather his "I don't have a care in the world" attitude is what I coveted. 

We all find ourselves at times wishing we could dodge the burdens of being a grown-up. But it seems like some adults are forsaking the once-cathartic physical exertion of a long run or in-person chat with a friend for a few moments alone with their smartphone and Clash of Clans.

Can returning to crayons and glue sticks really offer comfort amid the chaos of our day-to-day lives? Or, should we take a moment to figure out what's causing us to seek solace in these playthings of the past? For many, it seems like they they'd happily return to the days when the only thing to battle and potentially outrun was Ms. Pac-Man. 

I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that these activities are becoming more widespread and beloved, but if my financial adviser asks me to create a diorama of how I plan to spend my retirement, I can't be held responsible for my actions.


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