Do you ever truly feel grown up? Is that a thing? Is it different, if you’ve become a parent yourself?
We had our work Christmas Do today, which consisted of sledding on snow tubes (mostly) and mulled wine after. If you’ve never gone sledding using a snow tube, which refers to the activity of putting yourself on a round, blow up rubber thingy (or the inner tube of a tractor wheel, if you have one handy) and haul yourself downhill on the snow (snow really is an essential ingredient), you’ve missed out.
It’s great fun. You wouldn’t have though that, had you seen us drag ourselves uphill for the first round, but we all got into it pretty quickly and made the most of our fun in this huge hall of artificial snow, where people would mostly come to ski.
We preferred the new-fashioned sledding. The run uphill after every race downhill turned into quite a workout as well.
Anyway, later on someone mentioned that the two young woman from the snow centre, who were looking after our group apparently thought it funny how childish this bunch of adults were behaving and how much fun we seemed to have.
Sledging is fun at any age, you don’t need to be a child to enjoy it. Plus, as adults we rarely get to actually let our inner child out. Don’t ask me why that is.
What is it that makes us so different from children? We’re older and mostly taller, those are the obvious points. We’re less agile, mostly less reckless and more scared. We’ve been burnt and learnt our lessons, but I find it a shame how we lose this fearlessness of childhood. I certainly miss it.
We know more, for the most part. We have so much more responsibility. We’re expected to feed, clothes and provide a roof over our heads for ourselves. We pay taxes. We’re much more accountable.
For all intents and purposes I am an adult. But have no clue what that feels like. Do I feel like an adult? Does it sound strange to me to be called an adult, or, heavens forbid, like someone who should be called “Madam” by the barista?
I cringe every single time they do it, or anyone for that matter.
I wonder if I will still feel like this in ten, twenty, fifty years. But I sometimes suspect that there are no true adults, and if there are then those must be very sad people indeed. To lose your inner child, means losing an essential part of yourself. The one that is capable of wonder and unadulterated joy. The part that still has a teddy bear that is almost as old as herself, because she has neither partner nor Greyhound to sleep in her bed.
That part that runs up a fake snowy hill to haul herself down it just one more time.
And isn’t it curious how we all of a sudden also have a child’s energy when we do childish things? We’re almost as invincible again as we were then, when we didn’t know any better.
Then there are those, who you grew up with and have known for twenty years. Friends you have never worked with, but went to school with and whom you don’t know as professionals, though they went to university and got degrees and may even be parents themselves now. But in my eyes they haven’t changed. They still look almost the same and they will for another ten years at least.
Or my second cousin, whom I’ve known since birth and who is turning 18 in two days time and I don’t know where the time went and can’t see her as an adult, probably never will, though she is likely going to become a mother before me, if ever I will.
I don’t see a need to grow up, not fully, not completely and I certainly don’t plan on giving up my inner child. Growing older, though, is inevitable and quite a different journey.
Life is strange, but what’s new.
Truth. You’ve described the way a lot of us feel, I think. Thanks for this. I often think about how joy disappears. I try to remain childlike, finding joy in watching water run over stones, or a funny twist of words. I hope I never lose that, even in the face of the lessons learnt that you mentioned.
The TED talk I sent you by Eve Ensler broaches a very similar topic about not only losing our inner child, but specifically, the little girl in all of us, men too, that feels compassion and has emotion. This blog reminded me of it very much. Don’t ever grow up, Wendy 🙂 Keep weaving your stories for the lost boys (and girls out there…) 🙂