Sure, we have all the coolest toys, and we don’t have to get special permission to stay up late; but we have to be responsible in order to get this stuff. If we stay up too late and sleep through our alarms, we don’t get to make the work up tomorrow. We often get fired for such things.
Have you ever looked back and wondered why you wanted to get here so fast?
When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to watch cartoons on Saturday morning, and I could even recite most of the commercials off the top of my head. When my bike broke, I just asked mom to buy me the part I needed to fix it; and then fixed it in my driveway. Staying up late meant watching Letterman, then turning the volume down to watch MASH without my mom hearing it. Everything was… Simple.
Now, the cartoons are horrible, and you don’t even have to wait all week to watch them, so they aren’t special anymore. When my car breaks, I have to spend hundreds of dollars that aren’t in my budget, and usually have a shop fix it because some of the tools needed to do any work won’t fit in the garage. Staying up late means going out and trying to mingle with people I really don’t care for, trying to find a person I could maybe imagine spending more than three days with. Everything is… Complicated.
I remember dreaming about doing something exotic with my life, like saving lives as a doctor, or winning cases in grand fashion as a lawyer. Going grocery shopping meant going and picking out my favorite cereal from the store and begging for all the crap that my mom never wanted to buy, it was an event. Bill was the name of one of the neighbors, and I never had to talk to him. We could spend the entire summer riding our bikes, and pretending we were storming some wild land filled with monsters; conquering all with our trusty super-beam auto-targeting rifle of doom.
These days I only hope going back to school can help me get a job that I don’t absolutely hate. Going grocery shopping is a massive chore, which I hate, and it means going to the supermarket and standing in an excessively long line because some teenager can’t operate the register properly. Bill is no longer someone’s name, and I certainly can’t avoid it, or else I lose all my toys. If I spend the whole summer riding my bike now I would be living on it, and not have a home to keep me warm in the winter; and forget pretend rifles, because now I can’t stop thinking “that’s not real.”
Someone, who I can’t remember, once said “stop and smell the roses.” I wish I would have listened when I was a kid, because one of the things I also did was constantly try to grow up faster. You just don’t understand what that means when you’re 5, or 10, or even 15. No matter how much anyone tried to tell me that I was rushing it, I kept on pushing. Maybe we all have that problem, except a blessed few who manage to keep their imaginations.
I think the reason why I look forward to college is because it is actually a step backwards. I will get to pretend to be 19 again, and experience something I should have done 10 years ago. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock and take all my knowledge with it, so I could once again think in a simple way. It’s not so much that I want to be little again, because I hated asking for help to get something off the top shelf, it’s that when you don’t know any better the world seems so much brighter. We see hunger as a world problem, but if you ask a kid how to solve it they will say something like “give everyone a pizza.” We can laugh at that now, because it’s humorously impossible, but a five year old would think that could work. A typical ten year old would say to build a McDonald’s in every town, because they aren’t worried about where McDonald’s gets their food, they only know they have food. A fifteen year old might give a more workable answer, but even then we would be able to poke thousands of holes in it, because they still don’t understand the cost of things.
Somehow, as we grow up, we become boring. We no longer think rain is fun, and snow annoys us. We have debates about stuffed-up politicians and finances, or what the best way to grill a steak is. They argue about who the best football player is, and constantly claim the be the best at any video game they play. We drive safe cars, at safe speeds, in safe zones, and put padding on everything. They just want some wheels, a hill, and some way to steer.
We used to have fun… once.
Now we don’t have the time.
Such a shame really, because if we did, our inner child would have so many ideas for what to do without mom telling us no all the time… If only we could hear them.