Monday, February 10, 2014

Reasons I Don't Ever Plan to Be Mature

1. It doesn't sound like any fun. Seriously, being mature sounds all serious and all focused on responsibilities instead of fun stuff. Fun is my priority and always has been, and I have never heard the word "mature" associated with anything that I actually want to do. When someone talks about being mature enough to handle something, that something is never anything fun. Seriously, I can't recall one single time that someone said you had to be mature to do something that sounded like fun.

2. I act how I feel, and being mature means not acting how you feel. People always say "Grow up!" when they want you to get over something and not be as upset as you are about it. Remember in elementary school, when the teachers would tell you to "Act your age" when you were fooling around or really upset about something that they didn't think you should be upset about. Telling people to grow up is all about telling them to behave and not be so upset over things and get over themselves. I don't ever plan to suck it up, tough it out, or get over myself. I will always act how I feel.

3. I will NEVER give up my childhood dreams to be a productive member of society. I have a job now, but I'm only staying there until I get my books published. It makes me sick to my stomach when people act like my job has anything to do with who I am, or that all the things that really matter to me are less important than my paying job.

4. I will NEVER leave anything behind that I still enjoy. I will always do the things I enjoy until they stop giving me pleasure and I will never give up something that I still want to do because of my age or stage of life.

5. I don't invalidate anything I've done in the past. I don't have that experience of looking back at something I said or did or felt when I was younger and thinking it was silly. I know a lot of writers who are like, "Oh god, I don't want anyone to read what I wrote five years ago." I can't relate to that at all. Okay, I am  embarrassed by the writing quality (or lack of) in my earlier works, but I never feel like the basis of what I was trying to say was silly. Ever. I don't look back and think my coping mechanisms were silly or "Why was I so upset over that?" or anything along those lines. The reason that I deleted my old Facebook profile and the online journal I kept during college was that it made ME feel bad to look back. I deleted that stuff for my own mental health so that I wouldn't keep reliving my worst memories. But I am not ashamed of any of it and it's not anything that I think is silly now. I don't even have the concept of "my younger self" because I am always the same person. When I was thirteen, I was me, the same person, at age thirteen, not a different person. I don't have any kind of disconnection, and I don't plan to.

6. I am moving backwards. Before college, I had already found myself and I liked who I was. I was never interested in changing. Even if I had gone to a college that I liked, I was just already happy with who I was and wasn't looking to go through any kind of transition or identity change or finding-myself journey. I've been trying to recover from Colby since I graduated, and I've made a lot of personal progress. But I'm not moving forward - I'm moving back. Every step I take "forward" is an attempt to be the way I was BEFORE Colby. I am trying to unlearn most of what I was force-taught. I am trying get back to the mindset I had when I was younger. Not 100 percent obviously, not like I want to give up all my insights on everything, but in a lot of ways, yes, I am moving back.

Like I said for reason #4, I am never going to stop doing something that I like to do until it stops giving me pleasure, but when I went off to college, I stopped doing a lot of things that I hadn't lost interest in. Lots of Colby students talked about how they had changed and were happy about it, but I never wanted that change. If I started eating salad with every meal, it was not because I had developed a taste for salad - it was because I felt pressured to put it on my plate because that's what everyone else was doing. Oh, and any articles that I linked to on Facebook before the year 2012 were BS. I did not care about sharing any of that information with you - I just felt obligated to post some "important" stuff to counter-act all the hyper-personal stuff I was posting. Anyone who didn't know me might think I had grown up, but I hadn't. I was faking it. And I am done faking it. Every life goal I have is basically to get myself back to the mindset I had before I got college-educated. So no, I'm not growing up.

7. This is not a phase.

One time, a friend was showing me pictures of her other friends on Facebook, and she told me that one of her friends was in a crisis. "What's going on?" I asked, not knowing what kind of crisis she was talking about, and she said, "Well, look at her pictures. She wants to be all like, 'Ooh, I'm a party girl.'" Looking back on this now, I'm sure my friend knew more about her friend than you could judge from some pictures. Her friend may have even said to her, "I'm in a quarter-life crisis," and it wasn't a judgement at all on her part. But at the time, it really got me thinking about how we judge people who are having a mid-life crisis, or a quarter-life crisis. My first thought when my friend said this about the pictures was, "What if your friend IS a wild party girl? What if that's really who she is inside? The fact that we're viewing her as being in some kind of crisis because of it is the problem - not the fact that she's still doing what she loves." And that's what I see now. I used to throw the term "quarter-life crisis" around freely, but I'm not so sure I like it anymore. It makes it sound like this is my problem, like I have to get over it the way you'd get over the flu and accept that I'm going to be an adult now and everything else that that implies. If that implies any of the things I've just discussed in this post, then I don't accept it. And I don't agree with the way we treat growing up. Like, if we see a 60-year-old woman wearing a tight mini-skirt and going clubbing, we'd say she's in a midlife crisis and needs to get over it. We can't accept the fact that she likes wearing a tight mini skirt and going clubbing, and it's okay to do what she likes. If someone's going to tell you that you can't do something you love anymore because of your age, that is THEIR problem, not yours. Don't ever let anyone tell you that something's wrong with you because you want to keep doing what you're doing. I do feel like I'm in a quarter-life crisis right now, but honestly, the fact that not being in my early twenties anymore has any real meaning in our culture terms of what I can do or how much fun I'm gonna have - that in itself is a problem. I'm not accepting it. I'm not going to be any different when I turn 26 next week.

I am 18 with 8 years of experience. I will never grow up.

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