Young at Heart

During my late teen years, I often wondered if there were things I should feel embarrassed about. Things like young adult books I read as a child and still enjoyed, or the multitude of stuffed animals that even today sit in my room. Basically, things that would be considered “childish” when referring to an adult.

This had come to a head recently when I, now 25 years old, found and purchased a book for kids at a Gr. 5 or so reading level. The book, which tells tales of dog rescues, was one I borrowed many times during my youth from the local library. And, happening upon it, I decided mostly out of nostalgia to own it for myself. And as an adult, I don’t feel one bit embarrassed about it.

Why is this? Because to me, there is a difference between being young at heart and being immature. Being young at heart is a motto my own mom has said to me – she being in her early 50’s now and still able to have a good time like any person in their 20’s (within reason). It’s that mixture of love for your childhood coupled with being able to find fun and joy in life despite the constant presence of responsibility in adulthood. Being immature is the inability to move past the carefree living of childhood and take on those responsibilities. Granted, there are other reasons for immaturity, but that’s the one I’m focusing on here.

Like many people my age, I have adult interests, be it in films, books, video games, etc. And like many people my age, I’m stuck living at home striving to build up an income for a future home for myself. While it’s not quite a “nerd in the basement” situation, my room would come off as “childish” to some people due to those aforementioned stuffed animals as well as a few toys scattered about. But for me, they are there for nostalgia and sentimental value. They may be passed on some day to my nieces, but for now they represent the part of myself that can still have fun and enjoy the carefree moments life gives.

Though I may live at home, I’ve had responsibilities like any adult: Looking for work, household cleaning, occasionally making meals for myself, budgeting money, etc. I will always have those, plus many more in my future. But being an adult does not mean losing perspective on the sometimes silly things you enjoy. While the immature among us might clutch onto those things for dear life and throw out all need to be responsible, I won’t be one of them. And if anyone says the silly things I hold dear are childish, well, maybe they need to get back in touch with their childhood.

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