I don't wanna grow up

Greg Behrens

adult kid

There's a common question that will inevitably be asked by anyone who ever meets me. Teachers, parents, friends, my wife, judges, employers, and even my pediatrician, all say the same thing, “When are you going to grow up?” To which I often reply, “If you're speaking of the physical, I believe the pinnacle of my maturation has already been realized, so you must be questioning the content of my unaffected, spontaneous, without-airs demeanor, in which case you are a stupid jerk face.”

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People come in all shapes and sizes. Race, religion, creeds, political views, and beer preference all define us as individuals, but also categorize us into factions based on our differences. Yet no line is more rigid than that which separates adult from child. “That's kid stuff” and “Act your age” are often called out to anyone who still embraces the whimsical pastimes and general tomfoolery of youth. Is it so awful to want to have fun and live a life of youthful exuberance? That's what the stuffed shirts of grown up society would lead you to believe, as they scoff from behind their monocles, twirl their canes, and swim around in their gigantic bank vaults full of gold coins. I'll never be like you Scrooge McDuck! Never!

A child traverses each day in an unending state of learning. “Don't touch the stove when it's hot,” “Don't pull on the mule's tail or it will kick you in the face,” and “that is not the mule's tail” are just a few of the invaluable lessons that will no doubt surface among the myriad of discoveries to be found during your wonder years. But for some reason a lot of people reach a point in life where they assume that they know it all and feel they are somehow above watching a man-child wearing an ill-fitting suit argue with his talking couch, or to help an overweight Italian plumber eat mushrooms and kill turtles in an 8-bit reality. If that's what it means to be an adult, no thank you. I can't just set aside the joys of my youth in favor of the stale banality of so-called “adult responsibility.”

Why would anyone expect you, at a certain age, to all of the sudden abandon all the great things that taught you everything you know? Are they no longer capable of teaching you anything new as you transfer into the next phase of your life? Of course not. The things we see and revere as a kid are what mold us into who we are as an adult, but we aren't supposed to stagnate once we reach our physical climax. You always have time to learn something new. Were it not for <em>Sesame Street, I would have never known my AB3's and 12C's, or that there may be angry monsters living in the garbage can, so now I always look. If it wasn't for He-Man, I wouldn't have the fitness goals that push me into the gym every morning. And who can forget the Nintendo? Duck Hunt's laughing dog help to improve my marksmanship, The Legend of Zelda encouraged me to cross small canals with the assitance of a short ladder, and I easily passed my road test in less than five tries after obtaining the automobile piloting knowledge only countless hours of RC Pro-Am could provide.

All of my childhood nostalgia aside, even at the tender age of 35, plenty of things that have the stigma of, “for kids,” cast upon them are still offering up life lessons on a daily basis. Just the other day I watched The Empire Strikes Back for the 11,000th time and I had a revelation. Defying his master Yoda, Luke foolishly feels that he has accumulated all the knowledge that he needs in life and rushes off to face his nemesis Darth Vader. By thinking that he has already learned all that he could in his youth and pursuing the finality of scholarly adulthood, he encounters a devastating truth about his father. Plus he gets his hand chopped off. So all I'm saying is maybe you shouldn't slough off the idea that you could still learn something from “kid's stuff.” Play a video game, watch some cartoons, maybe grab some legos.

There's plenty of time to not enjoy life when you're dead.

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