Wednesday December 24, 2003

Today I am an Adult

[ Found yesterday at Spark ]

When was your childhood over? Do you agree with the concept of adolescence, or did you go from being a child to being an adult?

Excuse me... did you say "over"?

What are childhood and adulthood? Are they determined by a simple range of ages? Does "childhood" end at 13 (as some cultures determine?). Does it end at puberty? Is there a conscious boundary? A societal line?

Are you an adult at 16, when you can drive or (in some states) marry? When you get your first job? Or are you an adult at 18, when you can leave school, leave home, marry, join the Armed Forces? Are you an adult at 21, when you can vote or enter a bar. Are you an adult when you graduate from College? Do you become an adult when you marry? When you move into your own home? When you say so?

Are childhood and adulthood determined by a physiological state? Does childhood end at puberty? Does adulthood begin at puberty? Or after puberty? Is adolescence another word for puberty or is it a range of years?

I think the real difference between "childhood" and "adulthood" is a mental state.

Some children "grow up too fast" — a parent dies, they're required to leave school and find work, they help take care of younger siblings. They become "adults" at 9 or 11 or 15.

Many adults retain "childlike" aspects throughout their lives. We don't give up the thoughts, dreams, and joys of "childhood". We read "children's" books with delight; we still enjoy the movies we enjoyed as children (or younger parents, watching with their children).

Am I a child? I think not; puberty is long behind me; I live on my own with my spouse. I work. I drive. I vote. I pay taxes. Most of the time I look, act, and feel like an "adult".

But I read whatever I want to read. I enjoy Harry Potter as much as any 11-year-old. I love the Burl Ives' Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer holiday special (Bumbles bounce!) as well as A Charlie Brown Christmas. I have a large collection of stuffy toys. I play delightedly with our cats. I may be an "adult" but I'm not going to claim to be a "grown-up" (at least, not all the time).

I think childhood is a continuum. If you're lucky, it's never really over. You add things to your life (marriage, taxes, job, your own home), as you take others away (early bedtimes, school, curfews, mud pies). Some things last forever, merely changing form — responsibilities, chores, homework, friends, siblings, work and play.

Am I an adult? Yes. Is my childhood over? No. I hope to keep things that way for a long, long time.

Today I am an Adult ( in category Memes & Prompts ) - posted at Wed, 24 Dec, 13:31 Pacific | «e»