Friday, October 26, 2012

growing up.

What does it mean to grow up? I've become the victim of this travesty , and I assume that it's normal since we all grow up at some point. But what does growing up mean? Is it the fact that years seem to impact us so severely, so that the older we are, the more grown up we are? 
Is it the fact that the more experiences we've had at earlier ages grows us, and that the more we "experience" the more we turn into adults? 

Or is it that we put away childish fancies and assume positions of adulthood that transform us into ripened, seasoned persons? 

I don't think growing up means what we normally tend to think it means. I don't think it means age. When people "come of age" to drive, drink, smoke, etc, it doesn't mean they are ready to treat those things with wisdom or discernment. On the contrary, so many people abuse the "privilege" of becoming an adult. 

I don't think growing up means putting away the things of a child and striving to become more direct and serious in your approach to life. 

I don't think growing up is the same as being an adult.

I think growing up happens without us really thinking about it. It's an accumulation of occurrences, emotions, decisions, likes, dislikes, reactions and thoughts. It happens when you don't expect it. 

It happens when you start accumulating new likes and dislikes concerning your opinions, interests, styles, habits...when you realize the good and bad things in life and how to make a choice based on your own opinion rather than someone else's. 

It happens when you think of others first rather than yourself and what pleases you. 

It happens when you take responsibility for your actions, and accept, perhaps with challenge, the outcomes of your decisions. 

Growing up doesn't mean you should stop being who you are and turn into a completely new person with new loves. Instead, I think it means adding to your list, and refining what you love ever so gently with each passing year. For example, I still like pretending that I'm another person and dressing up in ridiculous outfits. I still love Disney and children's storybooks with lots of illustrations and simple words. Jumping in puddles, making mud pies or running around slaying dragons will never become boring. Neither will tea parties or writing in a journal. But there are new things I've fallen for... having insightful conversations with people who are much wiser than I; people who are smart, the elderly, or those who have experienced the world. I love natural and rugged things, like camping and hiking and the great outdoors, but mason jars with candles burning on a front porch while snuggled up in a blanket make me happy too. I, of course, enjoy being comfortable, but I've also learned that I actually like being uncomfortable, being tested and uncertain, and having to make choices on my own. I like living in a county by myself with no familiar faces, and having to be independent, but I also love the things that make me feel five again. I like feeling confident because of new things that I learn; of experiencing a different culture, feeling like a grown up, drinking wine and being well mannered by eating delicacies and talking of the finer things in life. I also just like wearing sweats, eating greasy fried chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes, and like that I still, and will always, actually need and want my mom for many things.

Growing's a weird sensation. Good or bad? I think it's something that I'm learning to not be afraid of, something that I am slowly accepting and enjoying in my surroundings. However, I don't think growing up should hinder us from who we are. Does that make sense? 

I always used to be afraid of growing up. I felt like Peter Pan. Not even kidding. If I could have found Tinker Bell, I would have gladly flown off to that second star to the right and strait on til morning, because I wanted to be a child forever. What I didn't realize at the time is that children don't have the option of being adults, because they've never been there. When you're older, you have the choice to be or act younger because you've already been there. And that's where the fun is. 

However, I think that adults often get caught up with being adults and carrying on the cliché meaning of the word. They forget to have fun, they forget to be innocent because the world has robbed them of most of theirs, if not all; they forget to be carefree and not uptight; they forget to not worry and just let moments slip by without clocking everything. They forget to be kids.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 

- George Bernard Shaw

Don't stop playing. 

"When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves u free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind." 

- Patrick Rothfuss

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