When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be an adult already. My parents joked about me being another case of 13 Going on 30 or Josh Baskin from Big.
I wanted a job so that I could have money to spend it on whatever I wanted- which was usually more Pokemon or Animal Crossing games for my DS. I wanted the freedom of being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. And for some reason I can’t make sense of now, I thought business casual clothes were so trendy. That’s what I imagined adulthood to be like- money, freedom, and power suits.
As I get older, of course, I am quickly learning that adulthood is about so much more than just having money and getting to choose what you eat for dinner.
Being an adult is about learning how to pay your own taxes.
It’s about having to take care of yourself when you get sick and wishing you could go back to the time when your mom would make chicken noodle soup and nurse you back to health. And for most of us, we will need to work so that we can afford being on our own. Every job can be frustrating at times and make you question if the effort you are putting in is even worth it.
These are all a part of the package deal of growing up and probably why it seems so many adults wish they could go back in time to their youth.
Every now and then, I will sometimes find myself wishing I could just be in the next stage of my life already.
I’ll see photos from an engagement or a wedding and I’ll think to myself about how I want that for me. Or I’ll see photos of a mom with her new born baby and catch baby fever (We’ve all been there.)
But am I actually ready for any of that? Heck to the no.
And just like I sometimes wish to go forward, I also wish to go back. The nostalgia will hit me at random times and I’ll think back to some of my favorite memories from childhood- many that we all probably share.
I remember getting so excited to visit my grandparents and spend time with them.
I remember watching Spongebob, Scooby Doo, and other great cartoons on Saturday mornings while I ate my favorite cereal.
I remember watching Toy Story with my older brother Evan who even had his own Woody doll with his name written on the bottom of the boot like Andy. And I remember making him and my dad watch Monsters Inc. with me while my dad called me ‘Boo.’
After reflecting on all of those great memories, and so many more, I am sometimes overcome with sadness at how fast life goes by.
But I also know that the journey of growing up is part of what makes life so beautiful.
I’m starting to understand that if you want to make the most of your time here on Earth, you have to make time to live in the moment.
Taking time to be present is something that we should all work on. It is healthy to reflect on your past and to envision the future that you want for yourself. But to try to hold onto the past, and only live for the weekend is not how life was intended to be lived.
Personally, I’m a really strong believer that if you want something to change in your life, you have the power to do it. To tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll be happy when this happens,” or, “When I get more time/money/energy, I’ll start doing this,” is so messed up and unproductive.
Let me explain something that probably a decent amount of people, but still not enough have realized: you absolutely, cannot live your life with this mindset.
Because that moment you are waiting for will never come. The timing will never be perfect for you to start going to the gym, start your own company, declutter your house, etc. You owe it to yourself to create the happy life you deserve.
In the words of the amazing author and life coach (also my personal hero), Jen Sincero, “If you can think it, and you desire it, and you align your thoughts, words and actions with it, you can manifest it. There is no need to play small, to shrink back from anything that you fear is too big, too impossible, too out there. You are a boundless being; open wide your mind to possibility and leap largely into your life.”
Our childhood, though it might have been a tough time for some of us, can really shape the person we end up becoming. It taught us important lessons so that we will be equipped with knowledge as we move into the future.
And a reminder: just because your body grows old, doesn’t mean your spirit has to. So put on some old music and let loose as you have a dance party. Or write your own episode of Arthur or The Powerpuff Girls. Grab your favorite Disney movie or a classic like Big, and feel young again as you embrace the present.
You never have to stop being imaginative, goofy, or curious.
The memories that are going to stick with you until the end of your life are the ones where you are truly being yourself and not caring what other people think about you. Let the child inside of you come out to play every once in a while and show your past self how proud they should be of how far you’ve come.