Today is the 7th of August. In three days it stands to reason that it will be the 10th of August. And on Friday, 10th of August, 2007 I will be turning 18. So ends my childhood.
I've been pondering over this for a while now, and I've come to a conclusion. I have no idea if I want to grow up.
18 may be great and all, I can buy alcohol, there's no movie I can't rent, I can carry passengers when I'm driving.
But (and there's always a but) I can't help but worry at the stuff I'm leaving behind.
Aging is inevitable, growing older, gaining your independence. But in the headlong rush towards freedom and independence, towards being able to stay up late and do what I want without my parents telling me what to do, towards having my own place, my own car, lots of money and being able to go anywhere and do anything, towards seeing the world and having a adventure as a grown-up, towards everything that you think being an adult is about when you're 10, I made a mistake.
I forgot to enjoy all the things about being a kid for what they were. I look back now and see that I was in such a rush to grow up that I didn't quite realize what I had as a child.
Saturday morning cartoons, always having someone to check for monsters under the bed, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, not noticing all those phrases ripe for innuendo and not caring, summers always being bright and warm, winters always been stormy and dark, Mum and Dad being the biggest growed up in the world and being able to do anything, pocket money, puppies, being oblivious to if I could sing, grazing my knee climbing trees, showing Mum and Dad my ABCs, getting lollipops from the doctor, the world really being a good place, a shiny dollar being a fortune, sitting in my Dad's lap, bedtime stories, Mum having to kneel to hug me, my Nana and Grandad, Christmas Morning, when coffee tasted gross and making friends in a day.
All that was before I started to grow up, that was before money and jobs and driving licenses and qualifications and self doubt and anger and failure and loss and ethics and uncertainty and before right and wrong became confused and responsibility and everything else that you have to deal with as a grown up. I just wish that I could go back and get caught peeing in the school creek, or told off for cutting my sisters hair or get chicken pox or get gum all through my hair or do any of the other stupid things that I did as a little kid, because this time I'll be able to appreciate that even if it seems huge to me as a little kid, to the me that turns 18 in three days it's a miracle of innocence.
But there's no point looking back and wishing I could do it all over again, because I can't, can I? Time only works in one direction, and despite my Peter Pan musings, I'm going to keep getting older. So maybe I can't just hide under my blankets until the grown up world's bogeymen go away, and perhaps the cartoons are just painful to watch, so I need to find my own way to get money and the consequences of my actions will be worse then five minutes in my room to think about what I've done. So the world isn't as innocent, but neither am I. And I'm going to have to face the world, because I'm getting older. But that doesn't mean I can't still leave out milk and cookies for Santa, that doesn't mean my father isn't still me hero, it doesn't mean I don't still like cartoons and singing along to Daphne and Celeste, I can still enjoy blowing bubbles and fart jokes, I can still have gigantic dreams and the now when I eat a slice of pizza bigger than my head it just means it needs to be a bigger pizza. I can still finger paint, I can still sing just for the joy of singing and I can still dance just to enjoy the music. My outer child may be gone, but that doesn't mean I have to lose my inner child. And that's something I needed to realize.
So bring on August 10th, and the big scary real world. I'll welcome it with open (if somewhat scared) arms. It's just another adventure. A bigger adventure, and the monsters may be bigger, but so is the treasure.
For a bigger kid.
Happy Birthday Everyone.