Some days it’s no fun being an adult. I have to take a shower and get dressed when I’d rather lounge in my jammies. I have to make an appointment to get the car inspected. I have to wash the dishes every single day, without end. Whose idea was this adulthood thing, anyway?
I miss the endless summers of childhood, the hours of roaming through the fields until we got hungry, only to go back outside after sating ourselves on bologna and Velveeta cheese sandwiches. Those really were simpler times, when kids didn’t have gadgets to substitute for their imaginations.
But when I was little, childhood felt like a prison to me. I was trapped following someone else rules, unable to make my own decisions. I couldn’t wait to grow up. My eighteenth birthday was one of the happiest days of my life.
It’s easy to get nostalgic and forget that kids don’t have it easy, either. Growing up is tough. Figuring out who you are, and how you fit into the world outside your family. Seeing how far you can push the boundaries toward autonomy and personhood without getting into trouble.
I wouldn’t go back, not even when I’ve got a sink full of dishes that aren’t going to wash themselves. But there’s nothing to stop me from spending a Saturday romping in the fields, or substituting cold cuts and processed cheese for a cooked meal once in a while.
Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to work all the time. It doesn’t mean you have to be responsible all the time. It doesn’t mean you can’t play.
I’ve got a full-time job and I’m pursuing a career as a novelist, so it’s hard to justify taking time to simply enjoy life. But if I don’t, I won’t have anything interesting to write about. Great fiction comes as much from the world outside the window as the world inside your head.
So while I’m scheduling my car inspection, I’m also going to schedule some time to play in the dirt, to breathe the fresh air, to cut some daffodils and bring them into the house. It’s been a long winter. It’s time to enjoy the spring.