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"I won't grow up! You can't make me!"


I am casting about a bit this morning for something to say... I don't want to write about anything heavy today, as I have awesome new boots on (that I am breaking in for a costume so they are nice and soft when I need them), and I'm just... I don't know, feeling rebellious against all the bad things of the world.  I don't want to be an adult and talk about them.

I know this feeling is not unique to me; most of my friends have the same feeling of not being the age they are.  We still collect silly things, and, of course, we all still play dress-up. 

I'm not talking about the kind of childishness that refuses to be responsible when the need arises, just the kind of childishness that point blank refuses to put certain things aside because "you're too old for that kind of thing".  Sorry, Jesus, but I never put away my childish things and became a (wo)man.

*pause for bolt of lightning to strike from above*

*pause*

Okay then.  I don't feel my age.  I know I am my age - I have little lines all around my eyes, grey hair (I track the condition of my roots), softer skin on my chest, and all the aches and pains that come from a body well-used (my right knee tells me the weather - and when I've been sitting cross-legged too long), but I don't feel it.  In public, I can put on a good show - I sit upright, I am polite, and I'm well on-top of my job, but at home I still curl up on the sofa, sit on the floor, dance when my favourite songs come on, and play with toys.

Okay, most of the toys are antiques, but I want my dolls and doll houses, even if the dolls are weird alien babies in tubes, and the doll house is planned to be a Tudor replica, but the most important thing is that I know I'm not alone in my childishness - I think most people feel this way.

In a way, this is the tragedy of the generation gap - teenagers can't conceive that adults are still amused and interested in new toys and fun that comes along, and adults can't understand that when you're young, all you want is to be able to grow up and do whatever you want, like adults do.

When you're young, being older is the most important thing of all - I used to lie about my age (26 seemed like a very grown-up, glamourous age when I was 15) all the time.  Adults think of teenagehood as being free of all responsibility, but actually, it's a time of endless requirements - do well in school, do chores, get a job, clean your room, share with your siblings, set the table, wash the dishes, walk the dog, clean up after the cat - and that's only what your parents require of you.  Your school is pushing college ideas at you, and wanting you to join this club or that club, because extra-curricular activities look good on your application.  Your friends demand things from you, and peer pressure is a powerful thing at that age.  Add in the sexual component, especially for girls, and teenagehood isn't looking like such a hot deal, after all.  No wonder they're in such a hurry to grow up - you can't be free to really be a child until you're an adult.

Even young adults can't really take the time, nor do they have the self-confidence to let their inner child free to roam about and enjoy things.  But once you get past that time - once the "being an adult" thing is accomplished - the whole world opens up, and possibilities for play are everywhere.  Why else would cruise vacations be so popular?  What is camping, but playing house?  And who can turn down an afternoon running through the woods playing hide and seek with paintball guns?

I am not worried by my delight in toys and playthings - I am an adult, and free to be a child.  Free from the responsibility of being a "success", free from parental expectations, and confident enough to be free of peer pressure.  I have 60 acres and a stream, and if I choose to make mud pies, build a bridge, or hunt for turtlles, no-one is going to tell me I should be studying.

Playtime is good, and every adult should schedule it.  And then a nap.

Comments

( 41 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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cathgrace
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)
My Tudor doll house doesn't have any dolls, when my kids asked my why I told them it was because *I* live there, they thought it was very odd.....

I dance to ABBA while I clean because I remember my mother doing it, that's the best thing about being childlike - finding joy in almost anything!
cathgrace
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
oh, and I think we should make some of these for your farm

http://forestwhimsy.net/fairyhouses.htm
attack_laurel
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, absolutely. :)

We'll be down for the whole of next week, btw - if you want to come and visit, we'll be putting in insulation and drywall, but we will make time for play. :)
(no subject) - cathgrace - Jan. 15th, 2009 03:55 am (UTC) - Expand
_medb_
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Heh. My brother follows that exact rule- he spent all of Boxing Day playing with his new Star Wars Lego set that his wife got him. ;)
perilousknits
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
I once knew that a certain boyfriend was "not meant to be" because I gave him a Lego set and he just set the box on a shelf and went on with life. He didn't know how to play.
kass_rants
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:10 pm (UTC)
Another awesome and timely post. Thank you!

I'm currently reading Richard Branson's new book Business Stripped Bare. Here is a man who built an empire on being irreverent, having fun, and acting silly (while taking calculated but seemingly crazy risks and doing what his competitors wouldn't but what his customers wanted). And the man is a billionaire! Furthermore, his companies are billion-dollar companies!

How can anyone look at this kind of story and still believe that we should all "Grow the F**K up already!" Feh!

I learned this from the Dean of Engineering at my University: "Play. Work hard. But also play. Make you work into play. Never stop playing."

Now I'm going to go play with those sleeves... =)
pirategirleee
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
I have a rather impressive stuffed "animal" menagerie. Ok well mine include a flying monkey, an elemental, a cthulu, a life sized leopard...etc. I also have a sock monkey that I have a habit of cuddling with while laying on the couch watching TV.

Yes my name is PirateGirleee, and I refuse to "grow up."
soldiergrrrl
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Heeeee! My mom keeps asking when I'm going to get rid of all the stuffed animals that live on top of our bookcases. I take a look at the lemur, the Chibithule (a softer, kinder Cthulu), the Cthulu that guards the liquor cabinets and the others and proudly say....NEVER!
(no subject) - pirategirleee - Jan. 14th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - soldiergrrrl - Jan. 14th, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
stringmonkey
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
Corby once summarized the approach as "childlike, not childish." I think that pretty much covers it. And it works for me, too.
drmrsgal
Jan. 14th, 2009 01:33 pm (UTC)
Hi, My name is Drmrsgal
and I refuse to become old!

It's not that I refuse to mature. It's just that I refuse to believe that I've worked so hard and grown so much emotionally that I have to give up those things that have made me whom I am. It's like entering into a relationship with someone and changing who you are to fit with their likes and dislikes. Not healthy! I've entered into a grown up and responsible relationship with me. And I like me just the way I am. Responsiblity and carefree has to be balanced to give us the stability in life that we need. Ooooooohmmmmm...... *giggles* Shhhhhh, don't tell anyone that I'm secretly deep. *giggles*
reasdream
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
I have a collection of Action Figures (not dolls!), most of them girls, cuz i like them. And I still drool at the lego shop/website.

Mostly, tho, I like to watch Sesame Street and Caillou. Children's programing (esp on PBS) is so much more sensible and comforting than adult tv shows. People apologize and remember to share. I think Congress out to have nap time and snack time and screen Sesame Street during snacks.
perilousknits
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Children's books are also more sensible than adult books. I love to read YA and children's fiction. It covers the same problems and challenges as the stories in adult fiction, but without all the angst and sex. Current favorites -- anything by Tamora Pierce.
(no subject) - xrian - Jan. 15th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - albreda - Jan. 17th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - perilousknits - Jan. 17th, 2009 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
lorebubeck
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
First off we need a picture of the boots. Really now. Don't be a tease.

I agree with the fun factor. For me it tends towards the creative stuff - coloring, painting, playing in the dirt. =) All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl after all...
etinterrapax
Jan. 14th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
It was when my mother-in-law asked me disparagingly why I still read children's books (that I already read before) that I truly began to pity her.
attack_laurel
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I have the books I read as a child, and still re-read them frequently. I think my favourites are the "Dark Is Rising" sequence by Susan Cooper (the movie absolutely murdered the first book - making the kid American??!!). I find it's written in a very literate style, and has very adult themes of loss and redemption through it. I've read adult books that were written in a less adult style.
(no subject) - kass_rants - Jan. 14th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - reasdream - Jan. 14th, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xrian - Jan. 15th, 2009 04:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - perilousknits - Jan. 14th, 2009 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
elizabethnmafia
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
I often find the most profound wisdom in books and movies directed at children. I find myself return to it more and more as I grow older. There was a simplicity to my childhood that I am really trying to recapture in my adulthood.

Btw, I sent you an email to your home account.
jljonsn
Jan. 14th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
That's a cool thing about having sons: I'm going to HAVE TO play with their toys. Toys for boys these days are so much better than they were when I was a kid. (Except for the lack of lawn darts)

I'm in a job that deals with blowing things up - just like my favorite teen activities. But it's cool, because it's the job, right? But since I'm supposed to be all serious and a proper manager, I keep a fairly mature display at the office - explodey things (that are really just kewl toys). Except for the Optimus Prime guarding my desk. One more grade level and I can become outwardly eccentric, rather than stealth crazy. :) Then, watch the "toys" proliferate!
perilousknits
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
I think Hearthsong carries a toy that is a lot like Lawn Darts, but without the possibility of impaling your friends.

I regularly get Hearthsong and Magic Cabin catalogs. There are no children, other than myself and my husband, in my house, so I'm sure the mail-lady is confused.
cbellfleur
Jan. 14th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Am I really that old?
Being back in the job market puts a different look on age. Is a company going to hire someone new of the age most people are counting the years to retirement? I probably won't be in exactly the same field, so there's not the years of experience to tout. That's why I'm taking classes with kids my son's age.

I don't feel my age, either. Maybe 20 years younger.

Speaking of toys, before we had kids I was getting Jeb the castle Lego sets. It was a long time before the boys were allowed to play with those!
midnightpeapod
Jan. 14th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
I'm 26, but I have way more fun when I hang out with my parent's friend's kids who are all between 8-18 years old. In fact I spent New year's Eve with teenagers instead of with the adults (same party), I'm not creepy - I date guys my own age.

Anyway, my mom is always trying to get me to get rid of some of my stuffed animals and dolls and toys from my childhood. I can't bear to part with them, they all have names and live on my bed or bookshelves. (I still have my Original Rainbow Brite - although she is naked.)

I also have 3 rubbermaid tubs full of children's books that will move to bookshelves when I get my own place (again).
(Anonymous)
Jan. 14th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
(I still have my Original Rainbow Brite - although she is naked.)

No, you're not creepy at all. >:0

Bob
(no subject) - midnightpeapod - Jan. 14th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 14th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
perilousknits
Jan. 14th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
I was quite stubbornly childish right through my teen years. Many people said I was emotionally mature for my age, so I did "grow up" in that respect, but I also carried crayons to class and played with dolls.

I actually built a dollhouse with my Dad's help, the summer between eigth and ninth grade. It was so funny how all my high school friends had put their own dolls into storage, but then they would call me and ask, "Can I come over and play with your dollhouse?" We all need our 'fix' now and then. I still play with dollhouses.

I also travel with a doll in my pocket and I pose her next to monuments and take pictures. I've been amused by the reactions of other adults, some people look embarrassed and some people offer my doll a sip of their tea. It's been a great way to meet kindred spirits in the big world.
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