I love freedom and independence, but I also love novelty and wonder, so when the question came up as to whether I would like to live forever as a child, adolescent, or adult, it gave me pause. Which would I choose?
Childhood for me was an amazing experience of discovery and creativity. From climbing trees to wading in rivers, there was always something to investigate and explore. Rainy days were spent building forts and creating whole worlds and scenarios for stuffed animals and Barbies. My mom, the refrigerator museum curator, instilled in me a love of drawing and painting, and every creation was a masterpiece. I was loved and protected and allowed to grow and flourish. For this I am supremely grateful.
Adolescence was tough, by comparison. Hormones and angst describe those years. My once loving parents all of a sudden didn’t understand me. No one could. High school was torture. I didn’t fit in anywhere. There were high points, like getting a job and learning to drive, but overall it was not my favorite time of life. I would never, ever want to live my whole life as an adolescent. This, dear reader, is my version of hell.
By the time I reached adulthood, my parents again became the loving parents I once knew. I was lucky enough to go to college and lived on my own for a while before settling down. I highly recommend this. It’s good to grow into yourself before learning how to deal with another human being on a daily basis. Kids came along, then a house, pets, school, sports, girlfriends and boyfriends, and now college. We’ve come full circle. We tried hard, sometimes unsuccessfully, to balance work and family. As a family, we made sure we took lots of road trips to know things far away, walks around town to see things up close, and trips to the library to see things we could only imagine. Adulthood has been busy and filled with responsibility and sometimes worry, but also a lot of joy.
So to answer the question, I would live the rest of my life as an adult. I have the knowledge needed to overcome obstacles and the fitness to enjoy movement. I still look at the world with a child-like wonder sometimes. My trees are still there, though they are the rain-forest variety, and the rivers I have waded in recently are in a foreign land. My husband and I make a choice to live simply, to not bite into the apple of the fancy car and giant house, to not try to impress all the people we don’t really care about anyway. This allows us to not stress too much about money, and money stress is the single worst thing about being an adult. We enjoy life. We have seen enough to recognize it for the gift it is. We are grateful for what we have.
Adulthood offers a depth and richness to the human experience. It is completion, and we are the finished product. It comes (under the best of circumstances) with understanding and wisdom, joy and friendship.
I like being an adult.
(Now if I could just get someone else to come clean my house.)
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Golden Age.” If you had to live forever as either a child, an adolescent, or an adult, which would you choose — and why?