It’s interesting that the older we get, the more we are told to ‘act our age’ and to ‘grow up’ and to behave as we imagine an adult is supposed to act. It’s one of the biggest con jobs out there. We base our perception on what adults act like on the way people acted generations ago, though that’s nothing new for our society. We have a weird way of looking over our shoulder at those that came before us, then pointing and saying SEE, THAT’S HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE!
Men should wear full wool suits!
Women should wear long skirts and be modest!
Children should be obedient!
It’s this weird, outdated image from a faded advertisement.
It’s the weight of history that has changed.
Except we aren’t in the 1930’s.
Or in the 1830’s.
We don’t have to go to bed at 7PM and get up at 5AM.
We aren’t all working the land or heading into office buildings or making homes.
We don’t have to ascribe to the way things were done before because society moved on. We changed for better and worse. It’s not all great, let’s be honest, but let’s be MORE honest and say that things changed because they need to. That’s usually how it works.
Yes, we need to act in a responsible manner, and not put people in danger, our ourselves in danger, and shouldn’t treat life like a party that never ends. There are consequences for the things we do and the things we say. That’s the key part of adulthood is getting that fact, that if you do something, it echoes past that moment. That butterfly you’ve unleashed can create a tempest if you don’t watch out. Saying that though, it doesn’t mean we have to quell laughter and celebration. It doesn’t mean we can’t cut loose and be silly. It doesn’t mean we can’t have fun once in a while. Sure, we have to earn money to pay for this life we want to lead. We have to take care of those we love. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But we can also stop once in a while and dance.
We can sing.
We can be weird and goofy.
It doesn’t have to be about having a couple drinks to loosen you up though, hey, if that’s what it takes and you’re responsible then cool. It’s that you don’t need permission to NEED something to help untie those heavy social bonds we have around us. We don’t need someone to tell us we can cut loose.
We just need to…do it.
This life we lead has so much tragedy, so much strife, so much anger and pain that we need to remember that it’s not all that way. There is love, there is laughter, there is joy.
If we can’t try to find something close to balance we fall over the edge and lose this gift that life can be and begin instead to see it as a curse.
Yeah, we gotta be responsible, we gotta use the wisdom we should have accrued by now, but if all life is going to be is work, and worship, and servitude, and seriousness then where is the time for US? Where are we in that? Those things are swell, sure, but they are also things attached to others. They are in service of another, to put it obscenely. What about service to ourselves.
Being adult isn’t supposed to be a punishment.
It’s the reward for surviving the strife and struggles of youth and gaining that, POW, wisdom where we can see that life isn’t a party, but it’s not a funeral either. Adulthood is finding that balance where we can do the things we need to nourish our hearts and minds, and which can enrich and safekeep our lives. Part of that is cutting loose.
Enjoy your birthday.
Dance when you get a raise or promotion.
Laugh and sing just because.
The great lesson we should take from childhood is that life shouldn’t just be dour and serious but we should find the absurdity in the moment and take joy in it. We should marvel at how strange and beautiful nature is. We should laugh at ourselves when we fall over and just get ourselves up again. We should laugh with one another as we celebrate silliness. We focus so much on growing up so we can gain an independence we never quite realize the cost of and then we mourn our childhoods and race back for them when it’s too late.
We have to hold onto that spark that lights us when we’re young and helps us survive. It’s not our toughening up it’s our finding hope and resilience to push forward. It’s believing that each new day could be a snow day or a sunny day where we can play outside. It’s holding to the hope that tonight’s our favorite meal.
Balance is key in life and we must balance the adult with our child and find a place where both can live together and learn from one another.
I am giving you permission – be weird, be silly, be unique. Have fun! Celebrate yourself. Even if you just put some laundry away. Celebrate it. In this angry, scary, dangerous world of ours we need to remember, always remember, that we have our backs, and we won’t ever give up on ourselves. We need to care for that inner child as we would our own child, and nurture it and love it and protect it because there will be days when we need it desperately and don’t want to have locked it away, shamed it, or killed it.
You’re an adult.
Who’s gonna tell you ya can’t?
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