January 29, 2012

Latent Childhood and Adulthood: The Case for Mixing and Matching

When I was in Hot Topic yesterday sifting through the clearance racks for graphic t-shirts, it occurred to me that I may be in a latent childhood.  Why, you ask?  Well, because afterward I hopped onto Spencer Gifts where I picked up a Marilyn Monroe-inspired shot glass – my first shot glass ever.  I figured it was time.  There are other signs, too, such as wearing more of the Victoria’s Secret PINK line, including a pair of sweats with the words “Love Pink” embroidered on the leg.  These facts alone don't suggest a latent childhood, but if you knew me between the ages of 18 and 21 you would've known that I had little interest in those things, because they were too "mainstream" or "tacky" or "too Paris Hilton."  That's probably why now that I'm in my late 20s I can't help but embrace everything that intrigues me -- even if some of these things happen to be a little childish or immature at times -- because life is effing short, people.

My Little Pony.
Part of this latent childhood probably stems from the fact that I always felt much older than my chronological age, therefore resulting in this possible midlife crisis/latent childhood much, much sooner than the onset of my true middle age.  My mom often tells me the story of when, in nursery school, she would pick me up, and I would be all ready, sitting in my cubby, my red hoodie zipped up to my chin, while the other kids raced around chasing each other.  While I did have a brief stint of experimenting with alcohol in high school, that phase was short-lived and I didn’t even drink on my 21st birthday, which is the same year I happened to get married, both factoids that are kind of crazy in today’s American culture.

Early onset maturity has some perks (adults tend to respect you more, therefore granting you with increased opportunities to experience more grown-up things), as well as some downsides (adults tend to respect you more, therefore expecting much, much more of you).  Part of my maturity, believe it or not, is that I have a rebellious streak in me.  In my early 20s, while my peers were acting like, well, their age, partying in clubs and job-hopping, I was doing different things, like getting married and buying a house.  It's kind of odd to characterize going the old-fashioned, throwback route as rebellious, but in 21st century America, it's possible.  But the deep-seeded truth is that everything I wanted to do at a young age reflected my desire for stability, and this included getting married and settling down.  Stability was and always will be important to me, even if I am also a dreamer and a quasi-free spirit.

In life I believe that everyone has the opportunity to concoct a recipe that works for them.  My own recipe must contain a good, constant dose of stability, with some occasional spice thrown in, whether it be a trip to a new city, a graphic t-shirt from Hot Topic, or the shot glass I never had.  I like reliability mixed with newness.

I have always disagreed with the old adage that you can’t have everything.  I think you can, and I say it to my husband all the time.  “Having everything” may not consist of extreme doses of it all, especially things that are inherently bad for you physically or emotionally, but it can consist of the things that matter most to you, not to your best friend, your boss, or your teachers.  And too, that "everything" changes from time to time -- sometimes it's seasonal, sometimes it's annual. 

One of the greatest things about being a responsible adult is that you can wear an off-color t-shirt sometimes and it’s not that big of a deal, or you can have a couple drinks out of your Marilyn Monroe shot glass on a Saturday night, because most of the time, if you’re like me, you’re in bed by 9 p.m. and up by 5:30 power walking on the treadmill and eating your 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables.  What can I say? I like to mix and match, and that includes being an adult most of the time and a kid some of the time.  

1 comment:

Cheri said...

Good for you for indulging your latent childhood desires! It's so important to find that balance between your inner adult and your inner child. This is a journey that I've embarked on since becoming a mom.