Imagine for a moment that you are about seven years old. No arguing, now, just do it! Are you imagining? Good. Now, you’re running around outside with a bunch of kids from the neighborhood, kicking around a soccer ball, when all of a sudden you hear the dreaded words of the evening: “Sweetie, it’s time to come inside!”
You almost protest “but, Mom!” when you remember how that went over the last time, so you decide against the verbal protest. Begrudgingly, you wave goodbye to your friends and stomp towards home, making sure to overemphasize how disappointed you are by slumping your shoulders, slightly angling your head towards the ground, putting on the most convincing pouty face you know, and letting out a more-than-audible sigh every three to four seconds. “If only I was all grown-up and could do whatever I wanted to…”
Ah, there it is, the tell-tale song of every rambunctious young mind and rebellious stubborn teenager: the wish to be “all grown up.” When you’re seven years old, the image of being a grown-up probably restricts itself to the ability to choose your own bedtime and becoming a firefighter or an astronaut. As we grow, our ideas of what it means to be an adult tend to change as the things we want but cannot have alter and change as well.
At 20 years old, I may get to choose my own bedtime, but I find myself in a place that still reaches out towards the end-goal of growing up. In fact, the older I get, the more I’m beginning to question what really marks the transition from being below the bar of adulthood and rising over it. When I started having monthly bills to pay on my own, I felt like a little bit of a grown-up. When I started thinking outside of the realm of my parent’s ways of thinking, I felt like I had somehow stepped closer to being an adult. Even something as simple as me having to go to the post office and buy stamps made me feel like I was just a little bit more like the “grown ups” I look up to.
Then there are the moments when I think “when I can do this” or “when I can do that” I will finally be grown up. Always striving towards something that is greater than where we are in the present moment; that is the motivation behind wanting to grow up. If this is the true nature of this desire, then maybe I should go out on a limb and ask you this question: should we ever really want to truly reach the status of being grown up? What happens when we reach a place where we have no more desire to reach towards something greater?
Maybe I’m not thinking of this concept in a way that the rest of the world does, but when I look at it in this context I begin to wonder if I ever really want to grow up. I don’t want to ever stop reaching towards a goal, even though the goal in mind may be constantly changing and evolving as time goes on. I’m not saying that I don’t want to achieve anything or avoid responsibility; what I’m saying is that I don’t want to lose the ability to imagine and hope for the future like children imagine and hope for the future. I want to always be reaching for the stars, even if I never get the chance to actually touch them.
Comment Question: What does it mean to you to be “all grown up?” Have you reached this status, or is there something that you have yet to accomplish that you believe to be the key to finally growing up? I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on this, so start a conversation about it in the comment section down below!