My first sister is 3.5 years younger than me and continues to teach me more about myself than I could ever imagine possible. We grew up together and there is no doubt in my mind that she’s my soulmate in this life. Sisterhood with her has been one of my most favorite adventures and each new chapter that unfolds for us brings forth a new way of connecting and being together as sisters. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her love and admiration.
And then I got another sister. At age 20. The same age my mom was when she had me. Which fundamentally changed who I am as a person.
I wasn’t thrilled when I heard my mom was pregnant again in her new marriage. Abandonment issues and childhood trauma blocked me from being able to see the pregnancy as something happy for our family.
Until I was able to develop my own relationship with my little sister and that took a few years, if we’re being honest.
Adulthood isn’t as cool as I thought it would be, and I’m sure at one point or another that realization hit us all.
I wanted to be a grown up only to do the things that I want to do. Not continue to do the shit that I hate doing.
However, having a sister 20 years younger than me also made me realize – I don’t have to pretend that adulthood is fun. I can make it fun instead.
I recently told a student’s mom that I didn’t realize I wasn’t a kid anymore and she looked at me with sympathy and like I was out of my mind. A grown woman who tutors her child said she didn’t realize she was an adult. I get it. We’ve decided in today’s culture that embracing your childlike heart and enjoying every moment to the fullest is “childish” which again is deemed as the opposite of happy and successful somehow.
Well not for me.
I don’t think I was even able to know my life was happy and successful until I switched back into viewing my life through that childlike lens, thanks to my sister.
The stress of adulthood is nothing I want. Ever. At all. There’s a lot of things I can’t control and there are a lot of stresses I can’t avoid. So regardless of if I want them, I do have to deal with them. My newfound appreciation for and embrace of my childlike heart isn’t an attempt to avoid my adult responsibilities. If anything, it’s allowed me to better embody the type of adult I want to be, because I don’t have to be that person 24/7 anymore.
I romanticized being an “adult” for so long, thanks to a lot of trauma in childhood. I counted the seconds, minutes, and days until I would be the one calling the shots in my life. I was, unfortunately, a victim to the choices of others in my childhood and realized that all it would take until I got my freedom was time. So I spent that time waiting for adulthood, waiting for my freedom to make my own choices and be the captain of my own ship. Anyone who has experienced a challenging childhood knows what that feeling is like. Waiting until you’re the one who has the power in life. I slowly began to gain the power that I so desperately wanted, I chose how I would cut my hair, paint my nails, what kind of piercings or tattoos I wanted, what kind of clothes I would wear when I wasn’t in my Catholic school uniform.
And now that I have all the power, I’m choosing to be a child.
For me, being able to maintain my childlike wonder and enjoyment of life is everything I ever dreamed of in adulthood. And I don’t care if someone else thinks it’s weird that I enjoy coloring in coloring books or watching cartoons. Have fun doing your taxes and eating wheat bran, Deborah.
Talking to people about what they enjoy is like pulling teeth now in adulthood. And even when you do get people to talk about what brings them joy, there’s seldom an answer that doesn’t include children. People in my life rarely talk about enjoying things for the sake of enjoying it themselves. They talk about what they enjoy in relation to what their children or grandchildren like.
I can tell there are people in my family just waiting for me to have children so they can embrace that childlike wonder again. Which sucks for them and puts a lot of pressure on me.
I’m done waiting for my body to allow me to conceive a baby in order for my childlike wonder to return. I’m allowing that magical feeling to grow in myself, for myself, and by myself. Whenever a child decides to come into my life, they’ll be psyched to know that their mom isn’t a boring old stuffed shirt grown up who only cares about keeping all the things clean and caring too much what other people think about it.
I don’t really care if anyone likes the way I live my life and I am going to try my hardest to never go back to that state of mind. It robbed me of plenty of dreams and goals for myself by thinking too much about what other people thought of my choices and the things I liked.
I like watching cartoons, wearing dorky T-shirts, having dance parties when I have a lot of energy (which is often, I’m also an adult with adhd), eating sugary cereals, taking gummy vitamins, drinking hot cocoa with oversized marshmallows, watching all the latest Disney movies, and learning every new song on the radio.
Sure, I’m married now, but praise God I married someone who does all those things with me. We’re both wild little children at heart and I don’t think we’re growing out of it anytime soon.
So you can wait around for us to “figure it all out” or you can be happy that we are happy. (Spoiler: I did figure it all out and that’s why I’m ending my subscription to adulthood. This whole thing we’ve created sucks and is stressful.)
What’s more important, worrying myself to death to make sure I check all the boxes of life’s to do list, or enjoying every single new thing that comes my way, learning from it, and moving on to the next thing?
I do what works for me, and if that includes being called childish then fine, sign me up.
Like I always tell my sister – I’m someone’s child. Doesn’t matter how old I get or if I live in their house anymore, I am always someone’s child.
And you could be too, if you decide to remember that. Or hey, maybe you could be like me and wait until a child enters your life to teach you that. Just don’t assume the child has to be yours to teach you such a valuable lesson.