How being a kid is like being a parent

Being a kid is similar to being a parent in that someone else usually dictates and/or influences many of the decisions you make.

As a child, you answer to your parents and abide by their rules. As a parent, your spouse and kids exert a major influence on your choices.

Either way, your flexibility is limited, as other people in your life play a chief role in your overall lifestyle.

Things are markedly different in our late teens/early 20s, however, as we transition into young adulthood. For most people, the college years are the only time in our lives where we're responsible for -- and answer to -- no one but ourselves.

I don't look back on my childhood fondly. My parents got divorced when I was only 3, and my father was extremely overprotective of me. Having to go from one house to another each week was not fun in the slightest. Middle school and high school were largely forgettable.

College, on the other hand, afforded me the opportunity to reinvent myself. I relished the freedom to create my own schedule and chart my own future. It was the only time in my life where I had the flexibility to do virtually anything I wanted without having to consult anyone else.

Now that I'm married, things are a little different. I have to run things by my wife, and most of my decisions affect her just as much as they do me. And let's not forget that as adults we also answer to our boss at work.

I suppose one goes back to living a more carefree life a la college in retirement, once the kids have moved out for good. But not really, as one worries about the well-being of their kids every day for their entire lives.

Do you agree that, in some ways, being an adult parallels childhood?

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