What growing up really is about

By Jeff Smith


“You’ll never grow up/ You’re never gonna be a man/ Peter Pan”

These are the words to Kelsea Ballerini’s song “Peter Pan.”  It’s kind of a tough song to hear on the radio that is usually full of bro country songs about drinking and trying to get a date with the perfect woman.

It seems like many people my age struggle with responsibility and owning the fact that they are adults.

As a Christian I think of the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

There are times we don’t want to work or pay bills. As adults, there are times when we just have to power through things we don’t want to do.

Journalism is an exciting field. There’s usually not too much I want to do. But it does become burdensome like any job. Still, I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

There are so many people that are not sure what they want to do. We need people who want to be adults. People need to be functioning, contributing to society.

In watching “Hook” not too long ago I was struck by the scene where Peter Pan learns to fly again by remembering his “happy thought.” He remembers his son being born.

Robin Williams’ emotions truly embody the spirit of that moment. In it, Peter regains his maturity.

“Hook” is a version of Peter Pan that really is about Peter fighting his inner child, not finding it. It’s about Peter learning to embrace maturity more than anything.

It’s tough to realize you’re not someone you once were. But being an adult is more about making tough choices and figuring out what to do next.

Only a few years ago, an adult to me meant having a job and a dog. Also, I thought it was important to live in an apartment or some type of stuffy building. I have a job but I don’t have a dog. 

I live alone. Not in an apartment, although I did in Nebraska. The point is that my idea of adulthood was misconstrued.   

Being an adult is not what we do or have. It’s about the sacrifices we make. About a year ago I told one of my friends I don’t know what parents go through when they decide to have children.  I’ve never had to sacrifice a lot of things like parents do for their children.

For Veteran’s Day we remember the sacrifices of members of the military. They volunteer to give up life in America and being able to see their family and friends every day. A lot of times they sacrifice their lives for this country.

I haven’t experienced real sacrifice yet. Most of what I have sacrificed has dealt with having to work. In entering a new phase in life people are bound to lose something. Whether it is time with friends or family, a relationship or a beautiful house or apartment.

It’s hard to maintain any type of relationship with friends you used to spend a lot of time with.

Most of my friends I only talk to through online platforms like Facebook or e-mail. You’re never fully aware of what is happening in their lives. A phone call with one of your closest friends gets cut short because of work.

Everyone from college either stays in the town or disperses. But you change and so do your goals.

Even when old relationships die new ones grow. Or they’re supposed to. It takes time and effort. Sometimes it’s worth putting in and sometimes you’re left lost and confused.

We’re told to leave some type of mark on this world. To change it for the better. That’s nice but it’s a pipe dream. We do what we can to survive and to have a good life.

Nobody really ever tells you their real feelings about adulthood growing up.

We grow up with romantic ideas of being adults. As a child you think you’ll have money and can go anywhere you want.

Yes, I can go to the store and get what I want now. I can also drive to a large city if I wanted to.

As a child and even more so as a teen the idea of having control seems to be what is wanted. But adults don’t really ever have the control they desire.

There are responsibilities. Bills to pay and children to feed. We still have people controlling us even if it’s not our parents.

I think we need to have joy in our responsibilities and realize what our life would be without them.