Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Creating Youth: Definitions of Adulthood

(The most deeply colored Angelique tulip that has ever graced our yard!)

Last week's final post on aging, in which I discussed surrounding yourself with things of your youth in order to create youth, Marcy and I continued to talk about the differences between being in a teenager's state of mind and an adult's.

We feel we have managed somehow to avoid many of the negative aspects of aging (while also gaining a wee bit of wisdom).

I see this physically when I look at photos of my classmates from high school and wonder when they turned into middle aged people!? Or when I look up an actor, assuming he or she is a good ten years older than me only to find out they are my age or younger.

I know there are genetic considerations, but as the CDC says about disease, your genes still have to be turned on or they can be left off. Environment and choice plays a large part in getting sick (or not) and in aging in general.

Marcy and I did not spend the weekend talking about wrinkles, of course, but instead, we were fascinated by the Aliveness aspect of being young.

Marcy pointed out that she understands why some people, for example, get caught in that one golden moment in high school. Like the bald, overweight jock who still wears a jersey from the football team and walks around talking about that all important touchdown. That moment was His Single Best Moment.

Many of us have, I'm sure, made fun of that jock, but in light of the experiment I wrote about last week, he's onto something.

Onto something...He hasn't actually gotten it. If he really got it, he would be moving on to even better things.

What is there to get, you ask?

Though we all gladly leave behind pimples and angst, the one thing too many of us leave behind is our Faith and Hope and Belief in Dreams and Possibility.

Think about this for a minute...How do you define getting older? How have you (consciously or not) defined Adulthood?

Take a minute and fill in this sentence:

An adult is someone who ______________.

What did you come up with?

Here are some beliefs that I think are common in our culture about adulthood. I think they are the main ones that kill faith, hope, and belief, and finally, us:

Adults are practical. They make money to pay bills.

Adults realize that the dreams of their youth are silly.

Adults know that failure is inevitable.

Above all, as an adult, you learn that Big Success comes to Certain People.

How have you been defining adulthood? Is it working out for you?


Kimberly said...

I'm 38 and I have to say that I am loving adulthood. Every year I get the teensiest bit wiser and have a bit better perspective. I am stronger. Things that would've destroyed me in my twenties now roll off my back. Fears that held me back in my twenties are dissipating. And I am softer. I freely tell people I love them. I don't hide my true self much anymore.

I've shocked people by telling them that getting older is awesome! But it is, it's totally awesome! (See, there's my inner 80's chick!)

Christine Claire Reed said...

That would be my point, Kimberly, what you said right at the end.

It really DOES shock people that some of us think that getting older has so many benefits, but that would be the few of us who have figured out how to get older without AGING.

Most people define adulthood in very limiting, dream crushing ways. Look around you.

Ketzirah Carly said...

An adult is someone who takes responsibility for their life.

I think it's that simple.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Ah, Ketzirah...yes. That is the main issue here, is it not? That the vast (VAST!) majority of people never take responsibility, never dig into how they think about these things, never bother to challenge wider-cultural ideas of "norm."


Daisy said...

At 72, I find that life gets better and better! I'm free-er from the expectations and ideas and other things that constrained me. I no longer give a darn about what other people think of me, while at the same time find new depths in myself of compassion for other people. I find my mind is free-er and more flexible, even if my body creaks a bit. Always curious about what's around the next corner ... other than another nap! ;-)

lucy said...

an adult is someone who knows how to be a carefree kid!

shortly after the discussion last week, i ran across this resonating line. reading your words brought it back to mind:

"(S)he is older than I am, I think. Or (s)he seems to be. But perhaps that's because I do not realise what I look like myself, or life has been tougher for him/her than it has been for me. I cannot rule that out."

i see people all the time that i'm certain are much older than i and then find out they're younger, so the above quote caused me to pause. oh well, i'll just quit looking in mirrors i guess :-)

Dovelily said...

I like that quote, Lucy. It does make you think! I'm more comfortable with aging than I used to be, but it is difficult in a country where everything is so youth-obssessed (sp?) I would be curious to know how age is perceived in different countries.