I have some confessions to make (don’t worry, it’s nothing traumatic)…
…..I still like to play Nintendo.
…..I would build cities and machines with Legos if I still had mine (they “disappeared” when I went off to college).
…..My music playlist still includes Milli Vanilli…and New Kids On The Block.
…..I have the DVD set to “Beverly Hills 90210″….and I watch it.
And I still write stories. My hair is still long, and I still wear comfortable jeans and a comfortable shirt. I never started wearing makeup. And if I hadn’t been diagnosed as (severely) gluten-reactive/gluten-intolerant (Celiac Disease, no less), then I would still be making Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches for lunch. (Well, I do still make the PB&J sandwiches, but they’ve had to undergo a few changes, such as using only gluten-free bread.)
I liked all those things then. I started making sandwiches when I was 3 (on my own, and heaven help the babysitter who didn’t think I could do it by myself and tried to make one for me!). I insisted on comfortable clothes (such that I only wore corduroys until I was about 10-11, experimenting–often abysmally at first–with jeans to “fit in” with the other girls in Grade 5). I’ve liked Milli Vanilli and NKOTB since I was 11-12. “Beverly Hills 90210” aired when I was 13, and I was instantly hooked. From there, I progressed to “My So-Called Life”, “Beavis & Butthead”, and then “Daria”. I have the DVD box sets of all of the above and yes, I watch them, too.
I’ll be 39 at the end of the summer.
And other than the gluten-laden bread that I used to use for making sandwiches, I don’t see a need to change a single thing listed above. I don’t feel compelled to change something just because I’m progressing through the artificially-constructed and socially-engineered demographic age groups.
If something I like or something I do isn’t harming or inconveniencing anyone else (except maybe the developers and marketers of the next new hot fad, since I don’t automatically cling to fads or trends), and I still like the music/TV shows/hobbies from my childhood, why abandon them? Why set them aside?
Sure, I’ve added to my TV guides, playlists, and hobbies over time, especially where music is concerned, but I haven’t subtracted much; my tastes have mostly grown and expanded.
I see no point in giving something up, changing one’s food menu, dumping part of a playlist, or cutting/changing one’s hair just because they get older. This runs very contrary to society. I’ve been asked, “aren’t you going to cut your hair when you turn 40? I mean, how long will you let it stay long?” My answer was probably pretty plain. I didn’t have to say anything; the shocked expression on my face probably said enough.
When I regained the ability to speak, I gasped, “why??” I mean, is there some mythical demon that invades your hair follicles on your 40th birthday and turns your hair puke-green and frizzy unless you chop it off first? At what point in society did this become “expected”? And have I ever been one to follow societal or cultural norms Just Because?
(Hint: NO. Not just “no”; Hell no.)
I’ve vaguely picked up on the notion, over time, that when we “grow up”, we “put away childish things”.
My answer again is, why? Why should we?
When observing kids, these same adults sigh and say, “oh, to be young again.”
Is this because when we’re young kids, we feel better, have more energy, don’t care as much about appearances or social/cultural norms, and instead let loose and PLAY?
(The answer to that question is: YES. Hell yes.)
Had these people never made the connection that one of the main reasons kids tend to be happier and more carefree might–just might–be because they PLAY? And also because they don’t care as much about what other people think? That they’re happiest when allowed to be kids?
Had these adults honestly gone through life and never made the connection?
I understand that adulthood is made up of a series of “have-to”s. (I don’t just play Nintendo and listen to 1980s pop music all day. 🙂 ) I have to eat a good breakfast because I have to interact with clientele and my brain has to be fully functional. I even have to drive to the office and back in order to do this. Then I have to pack for this weekend, because I’ll have to be out of town, because I have to attend my final class in order to learn new information and qualify for my upcoming certification.
But even my work life has been designed around my Special Interests, the ownership of our own small business, the setting of our own hours, and the writing/creating of our own policies and procedures. My specialty is also self-chosen. For an adult with as many “have-to”s as I do have, I’m a pretty happy and well-adjusted one.
And there’s absolutely nothing prohibiting me from playing with Legos and watching “Beverly Hills 90210” DVDs on the weekends.
I don’t care if I’m almost 39.
I’m going to be the 40-year-old woman with the long hair, standing in the corner with a friend, eating gluten-free PB&J sandwiches, and subtly pointing and giggling to ourselves at the other “grown-ups” who hacked off their hair, failed to follow their dreams and make them into a career, and instead lived by someone else’s unwritten social rules, all the while sighing, “oh to be young again.”