Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Being Grown Up Isn't Half As Fun As Growing Up

Props to the Ataris for this insightful song lyric, which is definitely spot on. I'll take it a little further and say that I think growing up is overrated, and I have a lot of questions about the concept. Do we ever really completely grow up? If so, how do we know when it happens? Is there a set age or a stage in life where we become a grownup and there's no turning back? Is it within our power to refuse to grow up?

I am 23 years old. I've graduated from college, and I have a full-time job. I get a paycheck, and my own health benefits. I'm about to move in with my boyfriend of almost 4 years. I join the hoards of commuters each day as I make my way to and from work. A frat party no longer has any appeal for me. So, am I grown up or am I still growing up? I choose the latter. I'm only 23, this is only my first job, I'm just starting out on my own, and I still have a lot to learn and experience.

I don't think we have to grow up completely if we don't want to, and it might be better for us to keep our inner child alive. I just listed a number of reasons why I could be considered a grown up, but there are plenty more that prove the contrary. I'm not ashamed to say that I still sleep with stuffed animals. Sometimes when I need to de-stress, I color. I'm very easily amused and I love toys (my desk currently holds a swirly M&M dispenser, a mini blow-up Bozo punching bag, and a Minnie Mouse whose skirt spins and lights up). I still depend on my mom and dad for support (of many kinds), I love when they take care of me when I'm sick, and find fulfillment in making them proud. I like to be goofy and use my imagination. Playing on playgrounds still makes me smile.

So grown up or not grown up, that is the question. And for me, the answer is neither. I think the best thing to do is find a balance. Be a grown up when and where you need to be, but let yourself have fun, let loose, and release your inner child. Growing up is an ongoing process of learning and experiencing new things. It can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun.

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