It’s funny how the years pass us by. One day we’re children bouncing a football up and down the street; and before we know it, we grow up into something we had no idea we’d become. I always thought that when I’d grow up, I would turn into this responsible, mature adult who is totally in control of his life, and that everything about the world would make absolute sense. Nobody told me that growing up would actually be a most bittersweet experience. Now I see it, not so much as “growing up”, but as not being allowed to be a kid anymore.
I realize now that the true challenge of adulthood is not so much growing up; not so much learning to navigate through an ocean of responsibilities, bills, jobs – but, rather, it’s an uphill struggle to maintain our inner child alive. Shouting. Screaming ever louder to be heard over that other, “mature” person we’ve become. We want so desperately to be heard, to be understood, and acknowledged by the world around us. For someone to smile at us. For someone to care. We struggle to believe in the fairytales we once did, to believe we will one day find “the one”. A person who will miraculously make our life complete. We make plans to stay in touch with all our childhood and high school friends, to never forget all the people we ever cared about, even if we were only with them for a few hours. People who, in some way, shape or form, have left their mark upon our souls. People who’ve been brought together by some celestial stroke of chance, and whose paths then diverged again as if they’d never come together in the first place. City lights, highways, mountain roads. Sunrises. Sunsets. Suncream. Wise things someone’s said to you once. Laughs you’ve shared. Shoulders you’ve cried on.
As children, we keep looking up in expectation. That, one day, we’d wake up and we’d be these adult beings in control of the world around us. Trouble is, we become adults before we even realize it. And struggling to keep the inner child alive, in today’s bittersweet, cynical world, is a harder task than we could have known.
I leave you now with the melancholic but redemptive “Dante’s Prayer” by the wonderful Canadian artist Loreena McKennitt: