A conversation with my 5 year old while driving home yesterday:
Kid: “I can’t wait until I’m your age so I can get a job.”
Kid: “I can’t wait to be your age so I can have a job.”
Me: “Why do you want a job?”
Kid: “Because I like to have a job.”
Me: “Well, having a job is okay, but I would much rather be a kid and not have to have a job.”
Kid: “You want to be a kid? That’s silly! You already were a kid!”
Me: “When you’re a kid, your only job is to have fun, but when you’re older you don’t get to have as much fun all the time. I mean, I guess sometimes being an adult means you can do really cool things, but not very often.”
Kid: “Did you have a lot of fun when you were a kid?”
This is where the conversation pretty much ended. I couldn’t think of an answer so gave him some generic response “yeah sure, I had fun” and we moved on to the next topic.
I kept thinking about it though. It was a really good question. What is it about childhood that I even miss? When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be older. I’m not even sure when it turned around. Was there ever an age when I thought, “This is it! I don’t want to be older than I am at this moment” or had I spent my whole life pushing the proverbial boulder up the hill and then running down after it? I remember having fun, I think. Truth be told though, I think I’ve had more fun as an adult. What the hell kind of crap is that? I thought as a society we had all accepted that being a kid is awesome and being an adult sucks balls.
Bills, insurance, student loans—all those things that ruin my life definitely fall into the ball-sucking category. Still, that list is relatively short compared to the reasons being an adult is the best ever. Independence is probably my favorite part of adulthood. I get to decide my own day-to-day activities (to a certain extent; I still have another human being depending on me so that’s a huge responsibility I don’t take lightly). I get to choose my meals and set the thermostat where I choose. I take the vacations I want. I had the best day of my life last year when my dream of being up close with a red panda was realized. I’m still in shock from that one.
My favorite memories are probably the ones I’ve made in the last few years with my son and husband. There is something so different and special about watching a kid make amazing memories. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast at Disney World, but getting to watch him experience it was the best thing ever.
I think the difference between childhood fun and adult fun is that childhood fun is tame, but pretty consistent. When you’re a kid, you can have fun every day. There is always some part of your day that you can look back on as fun. When you’re an adult, you may go weeks without feeling like you’ve had fun, but then the fun you do have is so much more profound. When I have fun as an adult, it is epic and will hold me over for years.
Realizing this has made me a much happier person. We all tend to buy into that narrative of adulthood being shitty because we didn’t appreciate our childhood when we had it. That kind of thinking just adds to our sense of unhappiness in our current age. I’m done with that nonsense. I think I’ve found that sweet spot where my inner Sisyphus can step away from the boulder and jump on a plane to Disney World. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any plans to go back to that fucking hill either.