August 02, 2002

I'm just a big kid. It's a fact that's been slowly growing on me, but I really just realized it. I'm just a big goofy kid.

For about 20 years I was certain I was an adult. From about the age of 8 I felt certain I was as mature as any adult I met, be they my parents, teachers, or grandparents. Kids my own age seemed so juvenile. A reasonable thing to seem to be since they were, in fact, kids who accepted the fact that they were kids.

People always thought I was older than I was, since I grew really early. By the age of 12 I was my mom's height. Within a few years of that I was close to my dad's. I remember a neighborhood girl my own age thinking I was 12, when I was only 7.

The years passed and I continued thinking I was more mature than most. My friends were older. My roommates were older. People used to think I was the older sister, when I was 4 years younger.

Sometime in the last few years I've started feeling less certain in my adult shoes (stylish though they may be). I've lost my absolute certainty that I know what my life will and should be. The things I always thought I'd have when I was 30 I don't have. The way I thought I would be at 30 is not how I am. Which is not to say that the things I have and am are not better than my early dreams.

I was extremely serious when I was a kid. I rarely cracked a smile through my teen-age years. I rarely took my head out of a book. I wore black almost exclusively all through high school. I cared deeply about political issues and cried over the plight of political prisoners. I belonged to Amnesty International. I listened to the Boomtown Rats and had a huge crush on Bob Geldof due to his high ideals.

Now I laugh regularly, find myself grinning stupidly for no reason, I play--goofing and joking with my co-workers and friends. I watch teen movies that I would have put my eyes out with a poker before watching when I was actually a teen. I play games all the time, admittedly on my Palm Pilot rather than on a Gameboy.

I care about politics, but I'm not mooning around the house crying about the horrible plight of political prisoners or women in Afghanistan. I do something about it, like participate in the Blogathon or the AIDS Walk, but I don't belong to Amnesty International anymore and Bob Geldof is no longer my type. For better or worse, I'm far more concentrated on myself and my life, like teenagers supposedly are. I don't think much beyond the next few months. I don't contribute to a retirement fund.

I found myself grinning from ear to ear the other day. I had just bought my tickets to Spain and it all became real. I was doing a little happy dance at my desk, something goofy that I would have been embarrassed to have witnessed. A few days before that I had pulled up Spiderman for the umpteenth time to watch him dance, for the pure entertainment of it. (Shoot, that link is where he's supposed to be, but it doesn't seem to be working... Anyway, it's a very small animation of Spiderman doing a groovy little dance. Surprisingly, his modern dance goes nicely with My Baby Just Cares For Me by Nina Simone.) I get ridiculously large amounts of joy from my digital cameras (Canon S110 and my new Aiptek PenCam (this one's nicer than mine, but you get the idea)), my Palm, even the games on my cell phone when I'm really bored. I love my toys.

There are dozens of infantile things I long to do, but usually don't during the day. I want to grab a co-worker's butt (I know, sexual harassment, but not if I was really 8 years old), I want to hop in my car and go to the beach and abandon work, I want to go buy a milkshake, I want to make bubbles in my soda with my straw, I want to turn cartwheels down the hallway, I want to skip down the street (I've actually done this on occasion), I want to send faxes of my butt to other offices.

I know there's still some adult in me because I stem these impulses. Besides sexual harassment; there's docking pay/getting fired; watching fat intake; loss of carbonation; bad wrists, back, and ankles; and cellulite keeping me from doing these things. Impulse control is, I suppose, a sign of maturity. Though frankly, I'm a lot more likely to do these things now than I ever was as a kid.

I suppose maybe I should be dismayed at this apparent degeneration, chronological backtracking, becoming a kid. I can't do anything but laugh. I'm happy not to have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I'm happy to be free to do what I want. I'm happy that I get to be a kid when I have none of the restrictions of school, parental supervision, or teasing bullies. I'm just plain happy. Excuse me while I skip my way out on the town.

Posted by Alyssa at August 02, 2002 09:08 PM
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