Has anyone else noticed that “growing up” tends to sentence people to become boring? Look at the people “growing up” around you. Their stylish clothes are becoming sterile, their funky hair is tranforming into mom-cuts, their ear spacers becoming simple studs and other piercings in various bodily places are disappearing overnight. As their behaviour is becoming more tame, they are leaving parties earlier and earlier and coming out less and less frequently, and you now see them so rarely you wonder if you ever actually had friends or they were just a figment of your imagination like Drop Dead Fred. Of course I’m exaggerating – you’ll notice that I like to do that – but the general idea still stands. At some point we reach the age where we think we have to stop running through splash pads ourselves and start watching younger people have the enjoyment instead. We trade in our moving feet for watching eyes, our delighted smiles for worried frowns, our curious expressions for masks of boredom. We seem to lose a large part of ourselves in trying so hard to meet the standards of being a “grown-up”, and it’s really unfortunate because it’s one of the best parts!
Just because we’re getting older doesn’t mean we have to “grow up”; we don’t need to lose that spark just because our age increases and we are now adults. It wasn’t until I was 32-years-old that I got the confidence to put actual colour in my hair – I mean purple, pink, turqoise…all those fun colours instead of my boring old variations of blonde and brown. And I have never in my life felt more harmony between how I look and how I feel; I am a colourful human – in both appearance and personality – and I now own it! It’s crazy the number of people who have told me “I’m too old for colours like that now” (some of these people I’m pretty sure were my age or younger), or “I’m too old to wear something like that”. Says who?! Stop worrying about what you think the barriers are and your satisfaction in life will increase exponentially. If you look good, you should own it; if you feel good, you should own it. That shouldn’t just stop because you have reached a certain age. Sadly, this attitude extends to all aspects of life from travel and adventure to life and career decisions to parenting and everyday behaviour. Once you start to see yourself as “too old”, you start to believe you’re too old until you even feel too old. But really, you’re never too old. For bright hair colours, for new and fun experiences, for making changes, for doing anything you want to do or being anything you want to be. The only true boundary is your own thinking – don’t hold yourself back!
Yes, I do understand that we have important responsibilities as adults: jobs to attend and families to care for. But are those things a trade for experiencing the fun and wonder in life? I refuse to believe so. You can be responsible while also keeping that magical childhood spark alive, seeing the wonder in everything around you and experiencing the fun in all moments no matter how small. I am an adult, a contributing member of society, earn income to provide for myself and my child, take care of our home and am a great parent (if I do say so myself). My life is still incredibly fun, extraordinary even. I go to concerts and festivals and bars with my brightly coloured hair and makeup, dancing like nobody’s watching and having a blast. I am often exploring, going on adventures and hanging out with friends, and spend many post-work weeknights on random things like photo shoots, hikes and visiting the local beach. I joke around and laugh often (frequently at my own jokes – other people don’t always recognize how hilarious I am) and get ridiculously excited about small, everyday things. Do my meals and snacks look Pinterest-worthy? No. Does my house look ready to be pictured for a magazine? Definitely not. But we have a tidy home and food in our bellies, and that’s all we need.
I was recently at a music festival where there was an “older” couple dancing in a way most would consider strange, but they were clearly just feeling the beat and living in the moment, not letting their age or concerns about what other people might think stop them from living their best lives. As they connected to each other and the music, their energy continued to draw my eye and I couldn’t help but hope that I always feel that young and free, that I will always see my life as extraordinary. I hope I never grow up.