My university is full of many benefits, and one of them includes the ability for freshman students to travel to another country for Spring Break for a payment. And it was when I left the bank after making a cash deposit in order to pay for the trip that I then began to realize that I’m getting closer and closer to being the one thing that I thought was years and years away: an adult. Instead of giving my parents a permission slip and sending it to the school with a check, I’m paying my own cash to visit another country. Admittedly, a good chunk of the money spent on the trip is being paid for by my university, but I’m making the decision to pay for such a wild experience with my own money and on my own time.
The thing that everyone gets excited for is the idea of growing up. This is an idea found everywhere, whether it be excitement for an upcoming birthday, excitement for the transition from middle school, or in my case, excitement for the transition of going from a child to an adult. At last, I’m living on my own, making my own decisions, and learning more about the world. But of course, this all comes with the huge hassle of trying to figure out the perfect balance between childhood and adulthood. More specifically, combining the idea and spirits of these two so that I can maintain the optimistic, childlike spirit I had lived with as a young boy with the responsible, mature, and realistic personality that is supposed to come with every adult. As someone who is stuck between not an adult, nor a kid, I feel that it has become more and more important for me to find that perfect balance before I turn into some dull stick in the mud.
Adulthood is a time where there are new challenges that need to be faced. Instead of worrying about whether or not you will have free time to go to a friend’s house, you have to handle a home, take care of mortgages, and keep up with the general housekeeping. Instead of having food in your fridge and running electricity all over your home, you have to pay to get hundreds of dollars worth of food and pay lengthy bills just so you can have a light bulb running in your room. Instead of relaxing and watching TV during the summer, you have to get out of bed early in the morning and prepare for another day of work in order to make ends meet. And this is excluding relationships, a career, family, medical expenses, and so much more.
In many respects, the idea of adulthood seems like a complicated and grueling task, but when one takes the first step and finally earns the title of “adult”, it becomes one of the most rewarding parts of everyone’s life. At long last, you are free from listening to what your parents and teachers have told you to do, and you now get to decide what to buy, what to wear, and where to work. You choose the people that you want to be friends with and who you want to live the rest of your life with. And yet the one thing that you aren’t allowed to choose, or at least you can’t choose without some sort of confusion from the peers you are surrounded by, is the idea of still owning and maintaining your “inner child”, or the spirit and love you have for something that may not necessarily be “mature” or “adult-like”. It may seem strange as to why people are bewildered by such a thing, but it’s something that is definitely true, as people more often than not are frowned upon reliving old memories or enjoying something that would be considered entirely silly.
This has led to people forgetting the very things that they loved and what made them happy, and now instead becoming droll and compensate for it by mocking others who still contain that childhood spirit. How many times have you seen people mock those who still eagerly anticipate the next comic book film? Or those who love to collect Star Wars action figures? Or those who buy hundreds of dollars for the new, ultra-expensive Lego set? These people are often ridiculed for being too stuck in the past and sticking too close to their immature side. And yes, there are always grown adults who have a bad case of “Peter Pan syndrome” where they refuse to grow up, are socially immature, and refuse to have responsibilities. But there are plenty of people who can find that perfect balance. Those that find it are able to be happy and get to do the things that they love and have loved all of their lives while also having the common sense and responsible nature of being an adult.
And that is precisely the man that I want to be. I want to be the adult who is able to enjoy escapist and fun entertainment with no fear. I want to be the adult who can get giddy and excited as a little kid on Christmas morning. I want to be the adult who has no shame in enjoying something not intended for me. I want to be the adult who is a complete geek over silly ideas like space battles and superheroes while still having a solid career, home, and relationship. As a college student, I’m still in the process of making some rather important decisions about my life. But the one thing that I will definitely do is that I will not forget about the things that gave me joy when I was younger, and to hold onto them while also holding onto the wonderful adult values of responsibility, privilege, and general freedom.