After with adolescence, adulthood is the thing that all young people look forward to. Often associated with enormous amounts of freedom, most of us who have reached it spend our time pining for the loss of innocence and the burden of responsibilities that it brings. Everyone gets there eventually (except those whose lives are taken in their youth), so there's no fighting it.

Adulthood may be either or both physical or mental. Physical adulthood is often considered to be achieved at the age of 18, or 21 in some cultures. Mental adulthood in some form can come as early as 10 or 12 if a child is pushed into it due to circumstances.

As I was drifting off to sleep this afternoon I realized that I'm not really a kid anymore. I don't think of my self as an adult at all, bright red shock of hair, overalls and jog bras my favorite wear, If I was to guess I would say I'm eighteen, maybe twenty, but never twenty-seven. But, this afternoon I realized that waitresses don't treat me the same way any more, somewhere along the way they accepted me as an adult, and someone to be believed. And, I'm not really sure what to do with that.

Part of me is happy that I am finally being treated with more respect, and part of me wonders what all this means. I don't know how to live as an adult. I only know how to live as me, but even that has changed without my noticing, I try to be honorable and fair with my dealings with others in ways I never considered before.

I have finally found peace with myself. I finally live in a world surrounded by caring friends, even if some of them are thousands of miles away. But I don't know what to make of this adulthood thing. I don't think about it much but every now and then I'm reminded of the fact that thirty is just around the corner, that they will actually let me buy a house, that getting married isn't that crazy of an idea, illegal, yes, but not crazy, and that the next person I fall for may be the one I spend the rest of my life with.

Life has taken on a sort of permanence it never had before. The moment I live in, now has the potential to spread across a lifetime.

I don't understand this adulthood, but for now I won't worry about it. My life is good.

adulthood: the period of maturity that follows adolescence. There is no fixed age for the onset of young adulthood, except that legally it is for most purposes set at twenty-one years of age. In the United States by an act of Congress childhood officially ends at the 18th birthday (Public Law 98-292, The Child Protection Act of 1984).

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

I won't lie to you, I'm an adult. There is no question about it. I have adult responsibilities; a business, a marraige, lines of credit and promises that I'm held to. I accept it gladly, I'm ready and capable and I understand that just as my decisions shape who I am, who I am has shaped this shell of civilization's raiment. Fine. Good.

But, as the saying goes, it seems only yesterday that I was 18 years old and about to be released from the prison of high school, as free as air- a mind full of ideas and limitless time to explore them all. The world my playground and my only true responsibility is to find a way to subsist until tomorrow. To a great extent I have made a good start of that mission in the last decade. I intend to continue making my best effort.

But how easy it is to put oneself in a box!

How many people, no younger or older than me, examine their limitless possibilities, and decide that they have had enough of wonder and joy... that the point of view they once had where they were curious and uninhibited was no longer the person they strived to be. Instead,

(for some reason)

They decide that, if they are to feel safe and happy, they must make a number of exchanges:

- playing in the name of discovery is replaced by work in the name of subsistence
- time without objective is forbidden. You must have a goal at all times.
- innocence traded for cynicism
- trust traded for mistrust
- joy traded for satisfaction
- sensation traded for controllable numbness

It's as if the part of them that was most alive when they were children has died away, and what's left has reformed itself into an organism which is stoic, old, dead, shriveled up, dessicated.

They make the decision to put on the gray sansabelt slacks and wear the square toed shoes with the decorative buckle over the top. They decide to smoke cigarettes in public, they buy a ranch house way out in the suburbs and put late-model 4-door sedans in the driveway. They reproduce so they can prove to everybody exactly how grown-up they really are. They stop appreciating things for their inherent beauty, and begin to evaluate everything only by monetary value.

Oh, yes, we are all very impressed. Impressed by your lack of wonder, your ability to dull your senses with watery beer and two-dimensional conversations about your fast-track cubicle farmer career. Impressed by your desire to cultivate a love of mother-fucking golf. Impressed with your death-obsessed, rat-in-a-cage sports bar life of quiet, pointless desperate emptiness. Can I be just like you? Can I vote republican because some part of me likes seeing brown people get killed with machines I helped pay for? Can I forget everything that used to make me laugh and feel wonder? Can I pretend to enjoy the taste of black coffee and the feel of a suit and tie? Can I hang a successories poster on the wall and believe what it says? Can I be an integral part of next month's sales campaign? Can I forsake the wind and sunshine for forty years in buildings where the windows don't open? Can I chase after an endless succession of shiny, useless baubles? Can I buy into the dream? Can I invest my god damned 401(k)? Can I refininance? reinvest? requalify? reapply? resign? resent? regurgitate?

Can I, huh? Can I? Can I? Will I? Should I?

FUCK no. No, no no no no no no. I will NOT be that person. I will not kill my inner child. I will NOT abandon inherent good in people, inherent beauty in the world.

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