Never Grow Up

I am so young.

No. Really. I am only twenty-one years old. I’m almost done with my undergrad, but I know it’s just going to be the beginning of some more voluntary school work. Sometimes I feel like I am at the cusp of adulthood, however. Almost to the real world. I’m well over the age of official “adult”–but is there really such a thing? Are there really adults in this world or are we just a bunch of tall kids that pretend to have it all together? Does having jobs and studying big kid things and drinking coffee really mean you’re grown up?

I don’t think so.

I’m such a kid at heart. I love Disney and find pleasure in the littlest things. I try to hold onto that feeling of childlike wonder when I discover something new or witness something particularly amazing. I wear themed socks everyday. I call my mom and want her opinion on every aspect of my life. I read books like Junie B. Jones to take my mind off of this so-called “grown up” stuff. Dessert is my favorite food group.

Just because I claim my childlike quirks doesn’t mean I reject the idea of adulthood. Instead, I value the thing I think matters most–maturity.

Maturity doesn’t mean doing “adult things.” Just because a person has a job and drinks the coffee and acts professionally and participates in rather “adult” pleasures–if you catch my drift– on the daily doesn’t mean a person is mature. A person can do these things and still be mature, of course. But a person can be socially “adult” and be rather childish–in the worst ways, not the awesome ways–at the same time.

Maturity. What does it mean? The connotation, in my opinion, means handling the situations thrown at us in our hectic daily lives with a certain amount of poise and dignity. So you screw up? Take responsibility completely and apologize for your actions. You do something awesome? Take pride in your abilities, yet remain humble. Maturity can mean making those around you feel like they are on top of the world, not bringing them down to help lift your ego.

Of course, I recognize my need to work on being mature; no one is perfect, and all of us have those days where we want to have a little temper tantrum and call it quits. But being mature does not mean rejecting the thing that helps us be at our happiest–our childlike wonder.

Look at things from the view-point of a child. They are so innocent; they believe in the innate goodness of most things yet question anything and everything. Viewing the world like a child can be like viewing the world in a stark black and white and then transitioning to seeing in vivid Technicolor. A warm day doesn’t mean our electric bills increase. Instead, a little extra sun provides extra opportunities to feel the rays on our face and let the warmth soak into our tired limbs. An extra cupcake doesn’t always mean a few extra pounds. Maybe sometimes it entails a bit of frosting on the tip of your nose that you aren’t inclined to wipe away in self-hate. An old stuffed animal doesn’t always need tucking away in the back of your closet; it just might need a few little hugs here and there.

How about we try becoming mature, young-at-heart humans? Those who can handle things with a level of poised maturity and who celebrate life with a childlike innocence. Walt Disney would approve of this approach, I believe:

“Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re the people who don’t give a hang about what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought–sometimes it isn’t much either.” {Walt Disney}

Being a bonafide, socially defined “grown-up” is overrated. “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” {Walt Disney}.


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