Have you ever seen that commercial where older people say things like "when I grow up I want to build homes." or "when I grow up I want to write a novel."?
At first I just laughed. "Hey, you old farts, you are grown up," I say. But wait. Are they? Really? How many of us are "grown up?"
What is grown up?
I used to think growing up meant leaving Saturday cartoons behind, or no more sneeking the last of the ice cream out of the freezer before someone else beat you to it. When I was a kid, I thought grown up meant staying home and crocheting in front of the TV (my mom), sitting in front of the heater with an old afgan thrown over your legs, while everyone else in the house was burning up (my grandmother), but most of all, and the most feared part of growing up was laughter seemed to vanish out of old people's lives (my dad).
I left home very early; the age of sixteen. I had big dreams of a big world, and I knew if I stayed where I was, I'd never see any of it. I'd never live my dreams. And I told my mom on the day I left, I'd never grow up.
Well, if grown up is those things listed above, no. I still love cartoons. I still sneak the last of the ice cream out of the freezer before my hubby can. I like to crochet, but only because it frees my mind and lets it wander over story ideas, plots, and characters. But unlike my grandmother I hate the heat. HATE it. Rarely turn on the heat. And I laugh. I mean I don't run around laughing like a brainless idiot, but I'm a pretty happy soul. I've even noticed since my hubby retired he laughs a lot more, too.
What's the meaning of this post?
Think about it. When we're kids we have imaginary friends. As writers we've just taken that a step further. We still have imaginary friends, but we create their worlds, their problems, kill some off, kiss off others, and love them all. We play make-believe on a daily basis.
I think I was right when I told my mom I'd never grow up. My body may be grown, but in my mind I'm still that little girl who loved to make up stories to entertain my friends. I still love to take down the huge dictionary from its pedestal and find words I've never heard of then try to figure out a way to use it. In place of the paper dolls I played with as a kid, I now have a character board with photos of famous and some not so famous people to serve as the face and body of the people wandering around in my head and on the computer screen.
And I'm happy with me.