I just returned from a lovely weekend camping with my family. Having my children home from college is always such a treat, and the thoughts below are in no way a reflection of bad behavior on their part; it just is a question that popped into my head as I was watching my son one night:
At what age does “get to” turn into “have to”?
“We get to go to Aunt Beth’s” becomes “We have to go to Aunt Beth’s.”
“We get to build a fire” might someday be “We have to build the fire.”
“We get to eat out” turns into “We have to eat out.”
I wonder if the transformation is at all related to time. Once people determine an activity to be one that takes time away from what they would rather be doing, it is hard to think of the activity as something they “get” to do. Or is it that we are simply tired, and all these events require more of us than we have the energy for? These actions are no longer perceived as fun. And I’m afraid I am guilty- just once- of the statement, “I have to post a Slice” instead of “I get to post a Slice.”
But like others who realize how lucky they are to “have” to do things with and for those they care about, so I understand this time to write as a gift. Those who cannot see the “get to” of life miss much of its richness. Many men and women would kill to have the chance to build a fire, visit a loved one, have someone else cook for them, or even share their thoughts through words with a supportive community. These “have to” moments allow us to “get to” understand happiness.