Often, children are raised to believe that there is a time and a place for everything. Unfortunately, this belief carries on to adult life, where innocence and light-hearted fun are forgotten, replaced by “The Real World.” Once people reach the age of about sixteen or so, they are generally rushed into a life of responsibility. They are suddenly “young adults” with jobs, bills, and college tuition to worry about. This transition is not an easy one. It wasn’t for me, at least. But I found a way to deal. There is always a time and a place for childhood in my life.
I am a straight A student. I have been as long as I can remember. I’ve held a steady job at a local record store. I pay all my bills on time and stay away from the party scene. For an eighteen year old, this kind of life is rare and unusual. I say this because I am deemed rare and unusual by my friends, especially when they step through my bedroom door. They assume that a responsible “young adult” would have things like newspapers lying on his desk, maybe a collection of Forbes magazines stacked in the corner. Instead, their eyes are greeted with Batman posters. Collectible action figures line the walls. And that stack of books in the corner? They’re not Forbes. They’re Animorphs.
Anyone who doesn’t know me would probably think that my room belongs to an eight-year-old, or possibly a strange forty-year-old who still lives with his parents. But anyone who looks at my bearded chin knows that I’m not eight. And anyone who looks at my transcripts or my bank account knows that I don’t plan on staying home forever. Sorry, Mom!
This is where my beliefs come in. I believe in childhood. I believe that to be responsible, I don’t have to be boring. To be fun, I don’t have to party every weekend. I can be me, the same person I’ve been all my life, and still strive for the same goals, set the same standards for myself. Why change my interests? If I want to think Batman is cool, I can think Batman is cool. If I want to daydream about battling aliens and saving the universe, then I can do just that. And, on the other hand, if I want to be successful and ignore peer pressure, I can do that, too. That’s what makes me special, an individual. And that’s what everyone in the world needs: that little child inside.
Maybe if more people accepted their inner child instead of locking it away, there’d be more happiness in the world. Maybe there would be less intolerance and anger and hostility. Or maybe grown men would show up to meetings with red towels tied around their necks, forever immersed in their Superman fantasies. The world may never know… Either way, it’d be fun. And that’s fine by me.
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