I do not have a choice to grow old, but I do have the choice to grow up. My youthful and free-spirited outlook on life will only enhance the way I live. As I matured, I did not wish my childhood away, like many adolescents. I enjoyed the freedoms of not being an adult, and I did not take anything for granted as I grew older. Although my job is to teach and counsel children, the result is that the children teach me valuable lessons. Today I enjoy life by not taking it so seriously. As people grow older they begin to distinguish a more selfish outlook on life, and I try not to follow that trend and become as selfless as possible.
Growing up I enjoyed the freedoms of few responsibilities. Looking back on my childhood, the main quality I enjoyed was my freedom of choice. I could chose which school I wanted to attend, what career I wanted to study for, and what direction I wished to guide my life in. As I grow older more and more of my life becomes planned out for me. All of my actions also carry heavier consequences as an adult. I am expected to own a house, a car, a degree, have children, and a house with a white picket fence. I can no longer jump in an enormous pile of leaves in autumn. I now have to rake the pile of leaves, so my neighbors and wife will not complain about the mess.
The more I work with children, the more I begin to understand their innocent outlook on life. I have noticed that society has not yet tainted their views on life, so they live life free of judgment and just wish to have fun. I overheard a little girl curiously ask a boy “are you black?” The little boy responded, “Yup” and they continued to play. The little girl just happened to be curious. They enjoy the simple things in life that many adults take for granted. I try follow their example, and enjoy a warm sunny day or a friend’s company..
As many people grow older they begin to view life from a more cynical perspective. When negative consequences occur in a period of someone’s life, such as a car breaking down on the interstate, the cynical views begin to present themselves. The person usually wonders “why me?”, and “what did I do to deserve this?” When positive consequences occur in someone’s life such as winning the lottery, they rarely wonder “why me?” and “what did I do to deserve this?” I now try to except all of life’s challenges as a lesson.
I have realized that I cannot control the environment around me, so I might as well enjoy it. My care-free attitude helps me enjoy life, and realize what is really important. I must grow older, but I do have a choice to grow up.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.