A reader pointed me to a column by D.L Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mr. Stewart eloquently describes the nostalgic details of the first days of school:
Like Christmas Eve and the night before milestone birthdays, the first school day after summer vacation was a special time. It may have been the end of freedom, but it also was the renewal of hope. The promise that this school year would be different from all the ones that came before it. A fresh start.
On the first day after vacation, clothes were unwrinkled and unstained. School bags were filled with fresh supplies: pointless pencils, unrubbed erasers and notebooks that had not yet been doodled upon.
He goes on to say that even though that by the end of the first day of school, “there would be gravy stains on our new shirt, most of our pencils would be broken, our erasers could be lost and our notebooks would be covered with doodles,” there had been “at least, one brief, shining moment of hope.”
Stewart argues that adulthood offers no such vestige of hope, and that “going back to work would not be a new beginning, we realized. It would merely be a resumption of the same old same old.”
I do tend to agree with his closing line, “growing up stinks,” but I differ with him in the idea that being grown up dooms us to a life of hopelessness and resignation that we’ve seen and experienced the best life has to offer. Life is about choices. Too many people act like life is a spectator sport, and they have no control in the outcome. Hogwash.
In fact, I believe that the best thing about being grown-up is that we have the ability to actually DO something about the things that dissatisfy us so much about adulthood. If you are unhappy with your current work situation, or a relationship, or anything else, I implore you to DO something about it. Don’t let Adultitis creep in and fool you into believing that this is the best life has to offer. Decide to make the choices that will create the change you wish to see in your life.
Children instinctively know that life is not a spectator sport. They don’t spend their days sitting on the sidelines. They spend every day passionately asking questions, dreaming big, and getting dirty. Live life like that and you may be surprised with the results.