I am 30. I have 2 degrees. I’ve held multiple jobs. I’ve signed leases and bought insurance and have a retirement account. I take intercontinental flights by myself. I live on my own. I have a funeral plan.
By all accounts, I am a grown up. Or should be. Some days I feel like it. I look around and the evidence of adulthood is undeniable. Other days, I feel like Kevin McCallister or the girl from 13 Going on 30. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel fully adult. If I will ever stop having those moments where the girl version of Becky overtakes the adult version.
But the other day I realized, I kind of don’t want to…
I may be 30, but I still love playing pretend. I still love imagining and wondering “what if” (as evidenced by a recent 3 day stint investigating how to become an FBI Special Agent). I still find myself looking at the sky and making shapes out of the clouds. I still lose myself whenever I fly through the sky on a swing. I’m still the little girl who believed when her daddy said “you can be anything you want to be.” I still stay up far past my bedtime reading with a flashlight under the covers because I’m so drawn into some magical faraway place – whether that place is a novel or a research article. I live in my very own make your own adventure book.
And in my mind… that’s okay.
It’s okay, because in some way, I believe our innate, childlike innocence, our capacity to imagine and pretend and see things differently from how they actually are, is a reflection of our Creator. It takes a fierce imagination to look at the splendor of creation and say,
“You know what’s missing? Duck billed platypus.“
One of my favorite quotes comes from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy.
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
I don’t want to grow up if that means I lose “the eternal appetite of infancy.” I want to be strong enough to “exult in monotony,” to see the joy and beauty and hope of an every day occurrence. I crave a spirit that is fierce and free. I hope I always maintain the capacity for pretending and imagining. I hope some part of me always believes the fairytale and follows the path of adventure.
Not naive, but innocent, trusting, exultant.
Because let’s face it, no matter how “grown up” I become, there will always be faraway worlds to conquer and dragons to slay…