“You’ll be able to do that when you’re older…”
“Just wait until you grow up a little bit more…”
“You aren’t old enough yet…”
For most of our childhood we are given cues, both subtle and apparent, that tell us we need to and will grow up eventually. It tells us that we are still children, immature and not fully processed, and that the end goal is to grow up. It tells us that to grow up is what we are all working towards, as if being a child is somehow incomplete. Surely it is in some ways. Being a child means that you are not fully developed, that you will likely not understand everything, that you can’t do everything…but when you look at it that way, is it really all that different from being an adult?
An adult will never fully understand everything, despite thinking that your future self will understand everything when you grow up. An adult will likely never do everything that they want to do, despite thinking that your future self will conquer the world. Something happens between childhood and adulthood that so often takes away the magic of growing up. It turns into a chore. Adult simply means that you now have to take responsibility for what you do not know and cannot do, but does not necessarily mean that you know more or do more. In fact, in a lot of cases, it means that you do less.
I know so many people who would say that when they were little they used to dream often, explore everywhere, inquire after every little thing they didn’t understand…yet as adults, we are expected not to. It becomes an issue of embarrassment to ask questions, or an issue of time when it comes to exploration. Dreaming becomes getting your hopes up when sticking to reality leaves little room for disappointment. If that is what adulthood is, then I care very little about growing up. But I don’t believe that is what adulthood has to be, or is for many people. It is simply a truth that some people live.
Children spend their time learning constantly and being taught that it is okay to learn. Once we become adults and are pushed into the working world, that mentality stops. The mentality is so often that we need to handle our jobs, being expected to understand everything or just make it work. But what about the learning that happened so often in childhood? Why not keep that going with self-exploration. I believe that the education that adults need is just as important as childhood education. It is about self-discovery and exploration. It is about learning and growing despite what your surroundings are. It is about understanding that adulthood is not synonymous with being grown up. There is no such thing as “grown up”, there is only “grown older”.
When I teach workshops I teach to a very wide age group. I have had as young as 15 and as old as 80 at my workshops, and everyone in between. While everyone is at a different part in their life, that does not mean that they are not seeking the same information. Age is not an indicator of how grown up you are, simply how you have grown old. How often do you stop and ask questions simply for the sake of learning something new? How often do mundane things catch your eye because you can see past what they are and into what they could be?
Art is my way of being an inquisitive child during my adulthood. There are certain realities that I face as an adult that everyone does: how to make money, how to run a business, how to live up to my parent’s level of responsibility and example. But that does not mean that I have to do so without the spark of childhood. I inquire often. I ask questions. I look at the world different every single day in the hope of finding something new. My sense of exploration has not lost me. It feels the same as when I was 9 years old, crawling through the local creek to collect the world’s largest ball of green slime. I still do things like this (sometimes to my husband’s dismay). The only difference is that I am much more aware of myself and my actions. I take responsibility for what I think and do. I am an adult with a child’s mentality. I have grown older, not up. I am not finished.
A child is unprocessed. A child is unfinished. A child is taught that there is always more to learn, more to see, more to do. A day is never done for a child. They never want to go to bed and eagerly wake up in the morning. There is more exploring to do, more questions to ask.
As adults, we may not be living the same life anymore, but the journey is the same. ASK, THINK, EXPLORE…Be excited. There is so much that adults do not know…and it may be more than we reckon.
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