The Resources We Have to Give

A lot of us, when we’re just starting out in the world as New Adults, find ourselves in the position of accepting a lot of resources from other people. We move to a new city and friends help us carry our furniture. Parents slip us checks, or boxes of carefully-wrapped dishes, to get us started.

I’d say I haven’t been a New Adult for about six years, and I count that from the first year I was able to fully support myself on my own income. (Yes, I am 33. Do the math.) But it’s been troubling me, lately, that now that I’m at a stage where I could — and should — be using what I have to help other people, I still have very few resources at my disposal to give.

For example:

— I do not have an apartment that is large enough to host people

— I do not have an additional bed or sofa for someone to sleep on

— I do not have a car, so I cannot give people rides or contribute to carpools

— My apartment does not have a kitchen, so I cannot bake cookies for people or bring homemade food to an event (I can bring store cookies or bottles of wine)

— Although I can sew well enough to hem a pant leg (a necessary skill if you’re short) I am not particularly crafty and do not knit or otherwise make handmade gifts

I don’t even have extra stuff, in the “Oh, you need a thing? I’ve got an extra thing, please take my thing” sense. I have nothing I can contribute besides what can be given with cash: pledges to crowdfunding projects and rounds of drinks.

Six years ago, none of my peers had anything extra to give. Now, I feel like I missed an important part of adulthood. I want to be able to host people and cook for people and share my extra things. Of course, I need to get some extra things first, like a bigger apartment and a guest bed, and I know that isn’t going to happen for a while.

What about you? Do you ever think about what you can offer your friends, and whether you feel out of step with what everyone else has to offer? If you are on the other end, do you notice when some of your peers have less to share than others, and does it matter? Do you ever survey your own resources and think “this is what I have to give?”