Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Evolution of Adulthood

Lili Wilkinson tweeted something last night that made me think. She said she was "Realising that being a grownup doesn't mean you can't play with toys, daydream, watch The Muppets or read kids' books. #reasonstolive". This really hit home for me, since last week's Friday Five involved a Muppet video, and frankly I think I've regressed some this year with my pink-hair and monkey hat.

I'm experiencing a lot of things as a child might. While I was walking to campus a few minutes ago there was a snow flurry. As tired as we all are of this long winter, I was still enchanted by the snowflakes to the point of catching a few on my tongue. I thought about the elongation of youth that's happening with today's adolescence, the amount of casual dress in some workplaces and how far removed this is from a couple generations ago when it was unacceptable to have childish behaviors as an adult.

And I thought: what if there's more to it than the nostalgia for childhood that the children of the 80s and 90s have. What if the trend towards looser regulations on what is and isn't "childish" is something beneficial, something we've been heading towards since the corsets came off and the line between child and adult blurred. When psychologists began examining the inner-child it was often a repressed element of the psyche. What if letting it loose is exactly what we're supposed to do?

I don't mean we should all--I dunno--go back to pacifiers and blankies. I mean we should acknowledge that the pleasures of childhood are pleasures for a reason, and there's nothing wrong with holding onto them after you pass some society-dictated age. I think the more people realize that the more open-minded, and happier, we'll be.


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