Daily Prompt: All Grown Up When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
Strangely enough, I can remember as plain as day telling my mother on my sixth birthday how happy I was to be the wonderful age of six and all grown up at last. Too bad I don’t recall what her reaction was to that. But six to me was such a magical number, so incredibly more mature than 4 or 5. I would soon be going off to school with my big brother. I would learn how to read what the people in comic books were actually saying to eachother without making any of it up. How could life possibly get any better than that?
My daughter had a similar epiphany at an even earlier age. She made a simple announcement one day. “I can tie my own shoes, and I can blow bubbles with my gum, and when I get some hair in my nose I will be all growed up.” Who was I to argue with her criteria? These things are different for everyone.
I don’t remember my son ever making any such great declaration about adulthood, so maybe it’s just a girl thing. Whenever W talks about his own childhood we’re left with the impression that he was born grown up, since he vows he never did bad or childish things and never once, even as a teenager, disappointed his parents. I’m certainly glad he got a little more interesting later in life.
The funny thing about having felt grown up so soon is that it has given me more time than most to realize I might have been wrong about it that first time, and just as mistaken at all the different stages in my life where I’ve believed (however briefly) the very same thing. Graduating highschool, going to college, getting a real job, being in a serious relationship, getting married, having children, and asking myself with every new experience, now have I learned everything there is to know? Have I left childish things behind? Am I living my very best grown up life?
The older I get the less I care. Growing up is no longer one of my lofty aspirations. There are days when being a grown up really bites and I think how much fun it was to be that deluded little six-year-old. With less visible nose hair. Age and wisdom and maturity are not always all they’re cracked up to be. It’s silly to be in such a hurry to grow up and take on all the hard stuff that life is going to hand you.
For some reason or other, growing older is what has finally taught me how amazing it is to see the world through the eyes of a child. And the older I get, the more I want to act like one. I don’t mean the crying, foot stomping, temper tantrum moments (although every once in a while those can be wonderfully therapeutic). I mean experiencing moments of pure delight and wonder and joy, being happy with the simplest pleasures, playing and laughing and loving and holding nothing back.
So if some serious stick in the mud adult rolls his eyes at your antics and tells you to grow up, don’t do it. Just say no. You don’t have to stick your tongue out for real, but imagine in your head how great actually doing it would make you feel. And then go ahead and feel exactly like that.