As a kid I used to watch a cartoon called Rescue Heroes about rescue personnel with crazy gadgets they used to save people in emergency situations
I loved it.
I used to own a ton of merchandise like action figures and play sets, and when people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would tell them “a rescue hero!”
But when I was eight years old, it was all given away because in the words of an adult–I was too old to be playing with toys and it was time for me to “grow up”.
At what age does a person have to grow up? Is it when they become a parent, or maybe when they become of age? When is that?
Why do they have to do it? Is it for their own benefit, or for others?
What does growing up even mean?
In a time when politics divide us, job security is becoming a fleeting fantasy, and costly post-secondary education is seemingly becoming the only way to get anywhere in life, there seems to be such a booming voice telling kids they need to grow up and become contributing members of society.
Now I certainly agree that everyone should contribute to this great country we live in, but why is it necessary to grow up to do that?
Growing up as a concept is one I find odd because you could look at two people with significant age gaps between them and think that it would be the elder of the two that’s the “grown up”, but really it could be one or the other.
What’s even stranger is that there’s a persistent paradox surrounding most everyone’s childhood — we all miss it, a simpler time with simpler worries, but there’s also a borderline militant expectation that at some point we’ll move away from the things that held our attention at such young ages and embrace the cold indifferences of life with open arms.
Our society today seems to be saying that childhood memories and pleasures are fleeting and absolutely must be left behind…but what’s so great about being a “grown up” that has to worry about paying bills, scheduling doctor’s appointments, and maintaining a car?
Why the vehement opposition in allowing ourselves and others to hold onto the things that made us happy, trife as they might be today?
Keep in mind I’m not talking about being an adult — that is, quite frankly, awesome — but there seems to be a sense of superiority that bubbles up when one comes to view another as “childish”, and I find it very sad how the world is coming to scorn the idea of people continuing to enjoy the things they did as children and being seen as “immature”.
But even as I argue that we should be allowed to relive our childhoods, the simple truth is that while we can do things we did as children, to illicit the same feelings we had as children truly is impossible — with age comes experience, comes realization, comes cynicism.
But there also comes understanding, and from that appreciation, and in turn drive to retain that which we have.
Growing older is inevitable, but growing up is a frame of mind.
It can evolve from its current curmudgeonous state if we turn our attention to promoting the positive aspects of growing up, like independence, while instilling an understanding of “the catches” to those aspects, like self-responsibility.
A few months ago I decided to find some episodes of Rescue Heroes online and enjoy some nostalgia, and although I quickly realized I’d outgrown the show’s trappings as an entertainment product, I still really liked the idea of “being a rescue hero”, which eventually spurred me into volunteering for fire and rescue service.
Something good came out of trying to relive a piece of my childhood, and I’m willing to bet something similar could happen to someone else.
So in case you ever come across someone watching a show from when they were young or buying a piece of merch they used to have as a kid, maybe just let them enjoy it.
Chances are it’s not hurting anyone.