“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!”
When I was 16 I couldn’t wait to grow up. Growing up in my mind involved a series of steps that happened in a succinct order, that there could be no deviation from. Meet someone and go out together for a designated period of time that was socially acceptable & family approved (around 2-3 years), before moving out together. Get a dog together (around year 3-4), a trial period as such in preparation for children. Then buy a house together, get married and have babies (3-6 years) all by the age of 26-28. This plan provided time to establish careers, save money and it fit in with the normal progression I had grown up with in books, movies and on television shows.
For the past 9 birthdays I have celebrated turning 21. This automatically gives away my age, but age is after all just a number. I’ve been in love, I’ve fallen out of love, I’ve bought a house, I’ve sold a house, I had a pet dog and I’ve looked after other peoples babies instead. I’ve started university three times, with the hope of finishing third time round. I’ve travelled, but not enough. And I still climb trees. In other words… I haven’t grown up. But why should I or anyone for that matter have to? I used to be in a rush to grown up, until I started to realise that the version of grown up I envisaged for me, really wasn’t that fun. There’s no real adventure in buying a house. Just stress. And a whole lot of money.
One of the problems with growing up is that the adventure, the complete and utter openness to all that is possible seems to get sucked away. Even from the very small things. Children have the ability to enjoy each moment for what it is. They see a tree, they explore it. Finding bugs or possums in hiding holes, digging around the roots for worms and climbing to the top of the branches to swing like monkeys. Every part of their day becomes an adventure as they notice the little details of life, that as grown ups we so easily miss. Except it is more than missing details, it’s ignorance, self-absorbed in careers, houses, bills and just plain not paying attention. Imagine all the tiny adventures each day that could go unnoticed simply because you weren’t paying attention. There has to be a balance between grown up and not growing up. I haven’t found it yet. But then I’m quite happy to sprinkle a little bit of pixie dust and fly off to explore… where ever the adventure should take me.