I remember being patted on the head as a small child and told over and over again to enjoy being a kid while I could. I had mixed emotions about this. First I was smug–I had something they wish they had! Youth! Then I felt rather disgusted. I didn’t want to be a kid, I wanted to grow up and drive cars and own a computer so I could choose my own background.
Ah, the good old days when the only use for a computer was to play Reading Rabbit games and use paint.
I’ve come to realize just how clueless I am. Adulthood is weird and overrated. It makes me want to lock myself in my bedroom with an endless supply of tea and some black and white movies (a luxury I cannot afford because I have a roommate who might get rather alarmed).
Of course, I can’t do that. I have to open my own bank accounts and leave tips at restaurants and pump my own gas.
There are so many things they don’t tell you about adulthood. I wish I’d known someday I wouldn’t hate broccoli and I would end up drinking that disgusting dishwater called coffee. That I’d leave my little house on the prairie and actually miss the wind. That it’s not half as fun to pump gas at night as it is to sleep in the car and pretend to be out cold so as to get carried into the house.
I mean, I used to never finish my juice boxes. That was my biggest worry in life: whether or not I could down the rest of my juice concentrate before I spilled it all over the car.
Well, that and big costumed fur characters. (I firmly believe if my parents had taken me to Disney earlier than my sixteenth birthday I would never have ended up working for the Mouse. I would have been scarred for life.)
As a kid, it seems adults know everything. They’d traveled through the school system, pilgrims that reached the pearly gates of wisdom. Twelve years of school? What an awful lot. Seniors in high school were practically gods, you could see the healthy glow of knowledge surround them as they strolled down the hall with their grown-up boyfriends or girlfriends. By then, I thought confidently, I’d have it all figured out and I’d go to college. I didn’t know even really what college was, except that I spelled the word correctly during the Spelling Bee and won second place for it.
My little past self would laugh at me. I never wanted to move to Florida. Florida was for old people and cockroaches.
And I don’t mean to say I hate my life by any means. I adore it. I adore many things about the freedoms of adulthood and its lovely, sunlit sides. There are more pros than there are cons.
But just because I’ve passed 18 doesn’t mean I’m ready to grow up.
In fact, I refuse to grow up entirely. As Chili Davis once said, “Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.”
I’m taking those words to heart. Sure, I’ll have a lengthy conversation about leases and debit cards paychecks and college degrees and gas prices and other fancy things. But that won’t stop me from making pillow forts and buying dinosaur oatmeal.
In fact, working for the most Magical Place on Earth might just help stunt my growth into pure adulthood. At least, I’m counting on it.
Who’s with me?