Monday, April 03, 2006

Did You Grow Up Too Fast?

I was seated across from two young people today, and they were discussing whether or not they had missed out on childhood. The young man, age 21, said, "I feel like childhood just slipped away from me. I just grew up too fast, I think." The young woman, a high school senior, said, "Oh no, I was a late bloomer. I was still playing outside with the kids even in my sophomore year."

As they were both recollecting their childhood years, the young woman's face took on a happy expression, while the young man's face was rigid as if he missed out on something.

I know these two people very well. Where I've always viewed the young man as older than he really was, he was often sullen and would "go off" if things weren't right. The young woman was a carefree sort of person and laughed frequently and often. Both come from the same geographical location and, in fact, grew up together.

I wonder where the rest of their lives will lead? Will the young man who grew up too fast ever be happy and carefree and will the young woman who refused to grow up ever be management material?

I know there are some instances when child abuse comes into play which makes the person wiser beyond their years (putting it lightly), but this wasn't the case with the young man. He grew up in a normal family and had no issues that I knew of.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that our childhood plays a significant role in how we turn out as adults. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything new, but have you thought about whether you grew up too fast or whether you never grew up?

When I was living in California as a child, I was allowed to go where I wanted, do what I wanted, and didn't have many restrictions. Carefree as a lark. But, then, it seemed that I grew up way too fast and by the time I was ten, and moved from the bustling city of Burbank to a rural area on the coast of Virginia, it seemed I didn't want my childhood to end. Instead of putting on make-up and hunting down that cute boy in english class, I couldn't wait to get home so that I could run back outside and play with the neighborhood children. I was still playing with Barbies into my teens and building forts in the woods and concocting weird spy games with the kids on the block. It was like I was making up for lost time and wanted to still be a child. It was way more fun for me than trying to be an adult before my time.

Of course, you never told your peers what you did after school. They'd laugh and taunt you of course. So, it was your own little secret. I just never wanted to grow up.

Years down the road, I'm still that child that never wanted to grow up. I still can't resist that urge to jump in an empty swing and feel that rush as I swung as high as I can go. I still can't resist the smell of a brand new doll baby just out of its box. And I still can't resist acting silly when I should act "my own age."

Sure, it has its repercussions. No one takes you seriously and think you're "out there," but is this such a bad thing? Do we really want to grow up?

How about you? Did you grow up too fast or did you languish in the beautiful world of childhood far longer than your peers?

10 comments:

  1. In some ways, I did grow up fast. Due to some family dynamics, I faced some emotional issues sooner than I should have. I was also interested in adult topics with the news and reading. On the other hand, loved to play those kids games. I'm still sneaking up to play legos with the kids. I was in my teens when I finally gave up the barbies. I had a pretty good childhood.

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  2. I grew up way too fast. Luckily, my kids keep reminding me that you're never too old to be silly.

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  3. In some ways, I think I grew up too fast. But at the same time, I don't think I missed out on very much. The things I did miss out on were my own fault. I was too quiet/reserved and wouldn't do very much if people I didn't know were involved.

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  4. You know what? I think my problem is that I haven't figure it out yet. I think I'm in limbo.

    Tanya

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  5. I felt that I grew up at good speed. Things like Barbies and boys just took their natural course.

    Of course, sometimes I still think about "When I grow up", even though I'm 45.

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  6. I haven't grown up yet. :)

    I think that I had a pretty good childhood. I don't think that I missed out at all.

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  7. Have you seen that movie 'Freaky Friday'? Jamie-Lee Curtis says something poignant in the TV interview she does. It reminded me of your post here.

    I grew up too fast I think, so now tend to be a little crazy to make up for it.

    Your comment:

    Years down the road, I'm still that child that never wanted to grow up. I still can't resist that urge to jump in an empty swing and feel that rush as I swung as high as I can go. I still can't resist the smell of a brand new doll baby just out of its box. And I still can't resist acting silly when I should act "my own age."

    made me say 'snap!' out loud.

    I agree with you. And hey, be whacky. It's better than being a stuffed shirt and if you're whacky you laugh more, and that's got to be good!

    :o)

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  8. It's strange, but I really can't remember much of my childhood. I'm not all that old (44) but for some reason memeories of my childhood are lost. I know it wasn't a bad one. I have a wonderful family and a loving mother and father, so it's not that I'm trying to repress anything bad. I honestly don't know why this is. It's baffled me for years. Oh sure I can remember bits and pieces, but not a whole lot. Any thoughts on this?

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  9. 4ever,

    I'm similar. I recall things if my mind is triggered by something, but not if I think about it.

    Isn't it odd? I'm 33. Maybe some minds just don't store much from years gone by?

    One of my sons is the same as me yet another remembers everything!

    Weird!

    :o)

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