Tuesday, October 02, 2012

What Is a Grown Up?

What is a grown up? How do you define when you have grown up?

Here is a quote I found from an article on the website www.pobronson.com

“…what does make you a grown-up? Is it moving out of the house? Hitting a certain age? Having a relationship? Getting a job? How is it that can do those things, that we consider to be ‘adult’ but we still feel like kids?....What marks the point at which you now shoulder all the expectations of being grown up?”

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines grown up as simple “an adult” but does simply being an adult make you grown up?

I’m 40 years old. I have been out of my parent’s house for well over 20 years. I’m married. I have a full-time job. I have 3 kids. But yet, I don’t feel like a grown up.

I listen to punk rock music. I read comic books. I play video games. Other than spending time with my kids, I do things that normally a college age person would be doing. Then again, now that I think about it, to be completely honest, when I’m hanging out with my kids, I’m usually doing very childish things then too.

Does dressing a certain way define whether or not you are a grown up? If that is the case, I’m certainly not a grown up. I don’t like to dress up. Heck, at my wedding I was wearing green Converse All-Stars. How grown up is that. And that was at the “formal” wedding. My wife and I had previously gotten married on stage at a punk rock concert. The guy whose concert it was, who is a friend of mine, specifically brought a minister to the show and stopped the show in the middle of everything so that I could get married on stage. That is definitely not something I think a “grown up” would have done.

I would necessarily call myself a slacker. I mean, I have responsibilities and, for the most part, I do take care of those responsibilities. I certainly feel a little more intelligent than I did when I was in high school but I’m still not quite sure that having responsibilities and being a “wiser” person makes you completely a grown up. Or does it?

At the same time, I’m not one of those middle-aged adolescents that go out bar hopping every weekend and get completely trashed. Some of those people would probably actually consider themselves to be grown up.

A couple of years ago I went to my high school reunion. My 20 year high school reunion. I did not fit in with these people. Not that I did fit in with them while I was going to school with them but that is beside the point. These people were, as far as I could tell, grown up. But how were they different from me? They seemed a lot more entrenched in their “careers” and a lot more, for lack of a better term, mature than me. These were the type of people that probably went to cocktail parties with fancy finger sandwiches and talked about their lives with their other grown up friends. When I go out with people of my age, I’m usually going out to punk rock concerts or record stores or comic book shops. My wife and I don’t go to fancy places to eat. About the fanciest place we generally patronize is the Outback Steakhouse (and that is mostly because I love their Bloomin’ Onion). We generally go out and watch movies or go out to concerts. A couple of months ago we did go over to a friends' house and played some poker. Is that a grown up thing to do? I dunno.

Here is another example. Last night, I attended a dinner for work at a very fancy, very expensive restaurant (company paid, not me). There were about a dozen people at the table. I am pretty sure I was the only one there that I would not consider to be a “grown up.” The conversations they were having were not the type of conversations I would have with my friends. They activities they talked about and the type of things that they do in the leisure time just don’t seem like things that would appeal to me. So is that an indication of just how grown up I am not or is that just another example of me not having the same interests as other people.

How many 40 year old men still read comic books (and don’t live with their parents)? How many 40 year old men listen to same punk rock music that they did when they were in high school? And for that matter, how many 40 year old men play punk rock music themselves (besides the guys in Bad Religion and the Descendents)? How many 40 year old men play action figures with their children? How many 40 year old men still play video games that are not sports-related?

Do these types of things make a person not grown up? And for that matter, do I really want to be grown up in the first place? I don’t necessarily think so now that I think about it.

With that, I will leave you with the lyrics to the Descendents’ song “I Don’t Want To Grow Up” from the album of the same name:
I don’t want to grow up!
I don’t want to grow up!
If growing up means being like you.
Then I don’t want to be like you.
Recycled trash. It’s déjà vu.
I don’t want to grow up!
I don’t want to grow up!
You’re grown up, told what to do.
Your suit can’t hide the truth. You’re a fool.
And I refuse to be like you.
I don’t want to grow up!

No comments:

Post a Comment