If someone would have warned me what being a “grown up” truly entailed, I would have taken a detour to NeverNeverLand in hopes of becoming Tink’s protégé. Fact.
I, like Kevin Mcallister, could not wait to grow up and live alone. But on graduation day at Indiana University, I didn’t get that grown up feeling. Or if I did I missed it due to the fact I was up until sunrise drinking Nati Lights on a porch couch. Fact.
No one told me college was the Narnia of mingling and that once I left, meeting new people would be a mythical idea of the gods based on my five best pictures.
Even when I had my first kiss, I didn’t skip away with the notion I had finally become a proverbial WOMAN. I was too busy wrapping my head around the fact that the kid didn’t even have the decency to get off of his bicycle. Seriously? Dismount, buddy!!
Life is not a fairytale. If I waltzed around solo conversing with animals, wearing the same dress everyday, and bursting into song every chance I could on the regular, I wouldn’t be labeled “the fairest of them all.” I’d be on lockdown for being a certified psycho. I don’t live in a castle free of rent, you’re more than likely not royalty, the bad people don’t always lose, and who exactly is this Price Charming character because several of my friends are having a hell of a time finding him, which leads me to the conclusion he must’ve gotten lost in a cornfield maze back in the 80s. He must’ve. For the record, I believe chivalry DOES exist, it’s just drunk somewhere with Janis Joplin inside of a Where’s Waldo book.
And before you label me a sardonic pessimist, you should know I’m a season passholder at Disneyland and writing a young adult urban fantasy trilogy. I’m legit. I’m all about the willing suspension of disbelief, but I’m not naïve. There are countless beautiful, smile inducing, and truly amazing things in this life I live, but this ain’t no movie. I’m sure if anyone told me any of this I wouldn’t have listened anyway.
My point is, I still have yet to look in the mirror and see a grown up. I see a survivor. I see a tall version of the girl I used to be who now realizes the importance of sunscreen two decades too late. It is my educated, 32 years experienced, and non-medical opinion that no one ever truly grows up. We simply get older. It gets more complicated. Life IS a playground. The usual suspects, different players. It’s all about the basics. It always will be.
So take it easy. Relax. Don’t run head first into everything. When your mom tells you you’re not old enough to shave, she might actually know what she’s talking about and have useful advice like, don’t use a razor on your eyebrows! (Hence, my one-eyebrow stint in 1993) There is a certain lack of full disclosure for a reason!!
I’d tell my younger self to enjoy being innocent and embrace your youth. I’d say that one day you’re gonna wish you were sleeping in, getting breakfast made for you, wearing your Halloween costume in May, taking baths till your fingers prune, watching movies on repeat inside of a fort, and you’ll wonder why you were in such a rush. I know I do.