I am a recent graduate with a full-time job. At this time in my life, this is the oldest I’ve ever been (obviously) and the first time that I’ve ever felt like an adult (not so obvious). But am I an adult? Truly? You tell me. I wear a blazer, I drink tea daily, I complain about bills, I come home exhausted. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.
So, how did you know you weren’t a kid anymore? Did you realize it the first time you moved out (right before you moved back in)? Or did that familiar sense of dread and responsibility wash over you the first time you had to call and make your own doctor’s appointment? (Truly horrific.)
In many species in the animal kingdom, a child becomes an adult when it has reached sexual maturity. But in form, the adult is just a larger version of its younger self. Or, as Dylan Moran so poetically puts it: “You’re not really an adult at all. You’re just a tall child holding a beer, having a conversation you don’t understand.” And he’s absolutely right. On all parts. Except that height thing. I’ve always had a little bit of trouble with that.
So, really, I am a child of a height that is similar to a child’s actual height, holding a cider, (I don’t like beer) having a conversation that I not only do not understand, but I am not interested in.
How do I know this? How do I know I’m not an adult? Mostly because I have spent the last week absolutely ecstatic for the premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2. I’ve listened to the score for 4 hours straight today, and I have teared up listening to it at least twice. Sure, all children’s movies are sort of designed with adults/parents in mind, but not enough to warrant me going to see the sequel at midnight, without a single child in tow. And if this were the only instance in which my immaturity has shined through like a lighthouse on a dark, dark sea, I might entertain the notion that I am working towards adulthood. I’m not there, but I’m getting there. I’m going out to sea.
But I’m not sure I want to keep going if the goal is adulthood. And you shouldn’t want to, either. I want to keep the shoreline in my sights.
I’m not here to pass judgement on you. I’m sure you enjoy your black coffee, and I’m sure you enjoy making your Excel spreadsheets. But when was the last time you truly felt something? Or were passionate about something? And I’m not saying that you need to like kid’s movies in order to be a kid. You simply have to acknowledge that you feel strongly about something. You simply need to put your own needs before others, just for an hour or two.
Don’t get me wrong; I have had positive experiences so far in “adulthood.” I get to go to bars, I get to call and order things from infomercials, and let’s not forget that I get to do what I love and get paid. But I’m not convinced that this is adulthood. I’m not even sure that true adults exist. I think people who are adults in every sense of the word aren’t really living, and therefore, they can’t exist.
The truth is, if you keep one foot in childhood, if you keep your sense of curiosity intact, if you keep your passions present in your life, you won’t really grow up. Not in the Peter Pan or Michael Jackson sense of the expression, but in a sense that matters.