Saturday, 19 January 2013

Growing down

"When I grow up, I want to be a *insert job title/reputable profession here*."
Why do people want to grow up? And what happens once you get there? Surely a 'reputable career' isn't the only measure of being grown up? Apart from being able to drive, get money or do stuff independently, grown up responsibilities mean that it's not always what it's cracked up to be. I'm convinced that we live life in reverse. All too soon, the years rush by and we wake up lamenting that we haven't really lived, or have lived according to somebody else's master plan (society's, maybe?) instead of our own. Hmmm.

Years ago, my cousin realised she was heading towards being 50 before turning 30. She had been a step-parent to three teenagers while in a long term relationship for years, the manager of a large inner city hotel and more financially responsible than most people I know. A change in life circumstances in her early 30s led her to resolve that each year she would "grow down" a year instead of getting older. It has certainly worked for her and now, at 48, she can out-party even some of our 18-year-old cousins! Now, I'm not suggesting we all try to keep up with her (I certainly can't), but she learned how to action the saying, "work to live, not live to work". We can learn a lot from her.

A colleague has just announced that she plans to "grow old disgracefully". We eagerly await signs of what this is going to look like and think we might be in for a fun ride in the years to come.

A few months ago, we celebrated another colleague's 26th birthday with a chocolate indulgence ice cream cake. Now, he's still young by anyone's definition, but he was very excited to order this cake as he "used to have ice cream cakes when he was little". I mentioned it to a friend. She told me that her husband insists on that very ice cream cake every year (he's now in his late 30s) for the same reason! It's like the look I see on people's faces when I give them cupcakes. The reaction of pure delight is almost identical between that of a 4-year-old or a 64-year-old. Children find joy in the tiniest of things. So do most grown ups - but they're scared to show it openly or let themselves go with the flow. Why is that?

I guess the moral of the story is grow up if you must, but live every day with childish joy. Too simplistic/unrealistic to actually do? It shouldn't be. What do you think?

No comments: