I’m not a great fan of prompts, because I feel it’s someone else trying to elicit a response. However, once in a while one comes up that I feel strongly about, and this is one of them.
Being an adult brings on a whole lot of new responsibilities. Buying a house, getting married, and bringing up children. The problem is, when do we leave the child behind, to become an “adult”?
It is a question I don’t know the answer to. Personally, there is still the child in me, and he is very close to the surface, as much as I hate to admit it sometimes. I still laugh at a really pungent fart (mine or KB’s, though she would tell you she doesn’t), I love an ice-cream on a hot day, I still love fairgrounds and thrill rides (one of the reasons I am a pilot), and I love to watch children having fun (no, I am not a pervert). I think it is important to keep the child within, because it helps to keep a grip on reality. All too often we suppress the inner child in favour of the responsible adult, and I do not believe it is in our best interests.
Society today seems to want to downplay the child in us. I was severely chastised at our daughters’ school fair a few years ago, in the middle of the great “PC” revolution. The incident involved helium filled balloons. Needless to say, I could not help myself, and untied a balloon and inhaled the contents. I then proceeded to make fun of one of the teachers (in a very high Mickey Mouse voice), much to the absolute delight of the children. Unfortunately, one of her colleagues was standing within earshot. I was asked to desist or leave. My daughters were really upset. Where was the problem?
I am now on the higher end of middle age, but I still enjoy the really simple things. Holding hands, a cuddle in the morning, watching young couples start their journey in life. I have a fairly good idea of what faces them, and I genuinely feel for them. It is not easy making the transition to “adulthood”, especially when you are barely out of the teenage years. There are so many pressures, and somehow they have to learn to cope. In many ways, I am very glad those years are behind me, but in some perverse way I miss them. Now that KB and I are on our own, the child within seems to have withered, and I think I take stuff too seriously when I should just back off and laugh. KB would agree, I think. I am very lucky to have her – she has kept me from being too much the parent and too much the child. Now I just have to be “Grown Up”.
My take on being an adult is thus: be kind to yourself and to others, smile at people you don’t know, and treat others as you would like to be treated. Try not to criticize those less fortunate, and hold onto your moral values, because they define you. Don’t get me wrong, I have been guilty of not doing these things in the past, but time and experience are great teachers. As long as you take heed of the lessons.