New York is full of adult children
One day I was on my way through a part of the Lower East Side that used to be tragic because it was filled with open-air heroin markets and abandoned buildings that were once beautiful. Now the tragedy came from the pendulum swinging too far in the other direction. I was walking by the playground of a public school and it was filled with grown adults playing kickball.
People are free to do whatever they want to with their time, but it’s hard not to be embarrassed for people who are full-grown adults doing things designed for children.
Adult kickball is the least of it. Washington Square Park recently hosted an adult pillow fight. Grown people will now pay money for summer camp for themselves. Biological adults have even held big-wheel races for themselves. There is now a Night at the Museum sleepover at the American Museum of Natural History for adults instead of just children.
If it were only stunted teenagers or adults who were developmentally disabled who were participating in these kinds of events, I’d understand. But people who are involved in these childish games are often educated adults with good jobs, who are old enough to be mature. Adults will spend thousands of dollars to dress like elves or witches or Star Wars characters and not just on Halloween.
There’s something deeply wrong with wanting to revert back to childhood. Even if you had a happy childhood, why live it again? The things we did as children were fun, but they were always a substitute for the adult things we wanted to do more at the time. At least I did. I thought kickball sucked when I was a kid; I wanted to read books and shoot real guns instead. Why should we want to go back to a time when all of our decisions were made for us and we had only limited access to the real adult world? If grade school was the best time of your life, you have failed miserably somewhere along the line. No one should peak at 10 or 12.
The adult privileges we have come at the price of the responsibilities we inherit. Older generations partied hard when they were in their 20s and 30s, but they were working jobs to support families. There’s nothing wrong with being a late bloomer in life. I didn’t get married until I was 40 and became a father at 41, but I retired from the big wheel racing circuit before the second grade.
Our educated adults should feel free to party, but not at the expense of their dignity. There’s a danger to clinging to the past and wanting to act like a child; it stunts your development as an adult.
It’s sad to see people bragging about doing things as an adult that they should have mastered decades ago. There’s even a cute term for it: “adulting.” People who use ‘adult’ as a verb deserve to fall into the same vat of acid as people who use ‘summer’ as a verb.
I understand wanting to keep the party going and avoid responsibility, but if you have a clear mind and the courage to face reality, you won’t feel good about yourself if you avoid life. Accepting major adult responsibilities can be a daunting undertaking, but you will feel better about yourself knowing you didn’t run from the challenges of life.