Last night, after explaining the story behind my Perry the Platypus pillow pet, I told my housemates “I hope I always love silly stuff like this.” That offhand comment got me thinking about growing up and changing and the Great Unknown and I think I sorted out what I’m really scared of: I’m afraid that I’ll stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
After years of not knowing who I was or who I wanted to be, I finally feel confident in my weirdness and I have a vision for my life. I finally feel good about where I am. I’m good at being a fledgling adult whose diet consists exclusively of Dr. Pepper, Mexican food, and whatever my sisters cook for me. I’m good at going to class and doodling Disney characters and writing hypothetical lesson plans. And I’m very good at wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
I’m afraid that, as I move away from a college kid and into a full blown adult, I will lose my sense of me-ness. Everyone talks about growing up as settling down, which is lovely sentiment, but all I hear is stagnation and conformity. I don’t want to settle down because when you settle down, you stop playing with Legos and you stop walking on the edges of curbs like a tightrope and you stop getting excited about really weird sunglasses. And you stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.
I’m not so much afraid of the unknown; after graduation there’s a thousand and one different things that I could do and I’m sure that the right path will become apparent. But I’m afraid of losing myself in the process. Some people believe that we are constantly changing and becoming better but I’m not so sure about that. What if we’re just slowly loosing bits and pieces of ourselves, settling into a rut and leaving the more eccentric parts of us behind? What if growing up is just shaving off the parts of yourself that don’t fit into the mold of “adult”?
I never want to lose my eccentricities. I never want to settle. I want to be eighty eight years old riding Space Mountain at Disney World. I want to be that grandma with green hair. I want to be the crazy teacher who plays with her class at recess. And I want to never stop wearing tee shirts with foxes on them.