A friend had recently called me in a panic to voice her concerns about the near future. I answered my ringing phone and spoke through the confines of a smile. “Hey, what’s up?”
“I don’t want to grow up.” I felt a slightly irrational sense of fear creep up from the other end of the phone. “Can’t we just sit on the floor and color?”
“I’m almost positive that you would have to find a job that would pay you to do that in order to survive as an adult,” I said.
She paused for a moment after my response to her calling attention to the obligations of a modern citizen living within the margins of traditional society. “These new responsibilities that come with adulthood are stupid.”
I couldn’t blame her. There was nothing fun about paying taxes and standing in line at the DMV for anything. Adulthood through the eyes of young people transitioning from college to the “real world” may seem daunting at first, especially with student loan payback requests coming out from their cold dark corners of big banks into your mailbox. But I knew that there were so many interesting and new experiences that would come with growing up.
“You know, we’re going to have to do all of this stupid stuff, but I’m sure there’s some pretty cool stuff about being an adult, like deciding what kind of city you want to live in, buying whatever you want (within your budget), and brunch.”
My friend listened intently to my response and calmly replied to my sentiments. “Brunch does taste great.”
I heard it before, but “the trick is growing up without growing old.” ― Casey Stengel
We’re still allowed to have passions, envision new dreams, and fight for a better future. Adulthood may demand that you pay bills and make decisions about health care and retirement plans, but you can also look forward to casually sipping delicious mimosas and planning trips while using your paid vacation days at your job. Homework no longer dominates the hours that follow when you think the day is done (unless you were a teacher), but rather, your hours can be spent enjoying the rest of your day with friends and family.
And I believe, as long as we keep in mind the visions we had when we were younger about what we wanted most out of life, that adulthood would end up being all right. We should focus not just on aging, but actually growing up and carrying what matters most to us close to our hearts. We can still find time to color with crayons, or if we’re lucky we could even get paid for it, but growing up doesn’t have to feel like the tail end of a wild rollercoaster as it’s pulling into the ending station position. Even with crayons aside, life after adolescence can be absolutely amazing.