Monday, September 16, 2013

Arrested Development

I turned 55 on July 9th this year.  They say you are as young as you feel, right?  Well, in my case then, I am about 14.  You wanna know what I did on my birthday?  I went to see a children's movie, "Despicable Me 2".  My daughter went with me, she is 26.   I liked the movie so much I saw it again that weekend with my husband.  Before we went to the theater, Steve and I stopped at McDonald's for 2 Happy Meals. That's right.  Happy Meals.  They came with toys.  From the movie.  We now have 6 Minion Happy Meal toys.  I didn't tell my parents, though.  They would never understand why a grown woman with adult children would care to have toys.  Thankfully, they haven't seen my bedroom.  I have quite a few knick-knacks that would leave them shaking their heads.  I have a Hello Kitty clock 
radio and plush, a Madeline doll (from the books), teddy bears, a life-size opossum, beanie baby bears & giraffe, the aforementioned Minions and a 17-inch Beaker Muppet.   One of my most prized possessions recently acquired is a miniature replica of my favorite movie character, Wall-E.  My husband gave it to me as a birthday present.  It has to be my favorite birthday present...ever!  (Even more than the ukulele I got last year!)  I have seen Wall-E at least 20 times and if you count partial views, it's closer to 40.  Fry's Electronics store showed Wall-E in their DVD department continuously for over a year.  I never went there without checking to see if it was playing. I have probably seen that movie more than any other.  Neither of my parents have seen it once.  My mother doesn't like animation.  I love cartoons and animated movies.   She thinks it's silly.  I guess that means I'm silly.  I can't argue with that.  It's how I resist getting old.  Oh, I'm sure I LOOK old to the youth of today.  My dark brown hair is long, but it has streaks of gray.  I am not 118 lbs. anymore and I have to wear glasses to read.  I still dress like a teenager, though.  T-shirts and blue jeans, every day.  I think I have worn a dress once since my parents moved here 4 years ago.  I dress this way because I take care of my parents and it would be ridiculous to wear nice clothes.  I spend most days in the kitchen, doing laundry, cleaning or going to doctors, running errands to the bank, the post office, the drugstore or getting groceries.  (I spend a LOT of time getting groceries!)  

I'm not sure why my generation acts the way we do, but we are most definitely NOT our parents' generation. Our parents have looked and acted like adults since their teens!   Baby Boomers approach aging as a challenge or a dare.  Baby Boomer women don't dress like old ladies and they don't cut off their long hair simply because of their age.  My generation doesn't care if we have gray strands and telling our age does not require a security clearance!  We go to
children's movies and Disney World without small children.  We attend conventions such as ComicCon or DragonCon dressed as a favorite character.  We ride bikes, rollerblade and skateboard.  Instead of getting rid of our toys we add to them. Collectors of vintage and newer toys have created a billion dollar industry although some collections don't always do well, i.e. Beanie Babies.  The point here being, we don't shun the things that made us happy as children, we embrace them.  My parents have never talked about things from their childhoods.  No mention of favorite toys or activities or even pets.  I don't understand that.  It's as if denying the existence of such things makes them more grown up.  As if appearing that way brought them more respect from society.   I grew up believing that my parents were old even though they were younger than I am now!  I could not imagine them as children.  Don't get me wrong, growing up is a necessity, but doing so shouldn't mean never enjoying child-like interests or hobbies.   Taking care of elderly parents is extremely stressful and there are times when I am at loose ends.  Being able to relax and regroup is imperative not just for my health, but for my relationship with my parents.  Cartoons and movies provide a much needed outlet.  Nothing is as joyful or cathartic as laughing at something silly.          

I am an adult who does responsible things, but I believe one must embrace whimsy & whimsical things to stay young at heart.  Dr Seuss said once, “Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them.”  I agree.  It's important to mature, but one should be able to have fun no matter what their age.