I was very different as a person (from who I am now) when I was a child. I was quieter and more existentialist, if that were possible. I clearly remember how frustrated I was with the behaviour of adults around me. It was contradictory and it clearly showed how they didn’t understand anything. Yet, every time I have spoken to a child, they can not wait to get old. Somehow I believe this is the first time we unconsciously teach our children that power is important. As parents hold the reigns over what a child can or can not do, a child learns that holding the reigns is important. It is perhaps this power and decision making ability that makes a child want to be an adult ASAP!
The irony is, a child believes that being an adult allows you to do everything you want to do. But saying “Oh, no you can’t” is an essential part of being an adult. Which in our 21st century culture has only been interpreted in one way, as curbing of freedom. This is, to me, only something that was propagated by capitalists on the other side freedom. I want to take a moment and address that statement. I am not anti-capitalism always, perhaps because I am not anti-anything. And I don’t mean to say that reclaiming freedom, testing limits of human endeavour is capitalist. That statement does not include the incredible number of people who have done incredible things that inspire us. People who climb mountains, cross raging rivers, fight the wilderness to find something human kind has never before experienced. I believe, to be able to go beyond possibilities is to be able to recognise your adulthood in a magnificent way. It is to be able to realise limits, ability, to be humbled by your existence but not limited by it.
So yes, recognising that you can not do certain things is an essential part of being an adult. It is an essential pit-stop towards civilisation. Saying no to discrimination. Saying no to rape. Saying no to killing. We are teaching ourselves to be nice. We are teaching ourselves to live properly so we can have more peace among human kind. We can’t wage wars, we can’t be whoever we want to be, we can’t do whatever we want to be, we can’t get up and leave whenever we want to. This is what makes everything so very difficult. If you are reading this piece as a 20-something old person, this is disturbing you. You are starting to feel uneasy because this is not what you have believed in throughout your life. “Be what you want to be” was the DREAM growing up in the 90s. And no one told you that there are a few things you might want to be which were, well, not acceptable. Because you are now expected to be your own parent. You are expected to be your own adult.
(What a lazy thing for me to say “Hey! Go figure it out!”).
Now we often roam the streets drugged out of our minds reaching the conclusion “I want to be a child again! No responsibilities!”. Being your own adult is so fucking hard. It feels like society is telling you there are things you can not be and can not do. But to be able to go back and ask yourself “Why can’t I?” is an INCREDIBLY important part of being an adult. To reinstate, to be humbled by your existence but not limited by it. And in doing so you come to recognise who you truly are and what your role in society can be. You slowly become more in-sync with existence. I peg harmony above disharmony for living a life, but I do not discredit disharmony at all. I think disharmony is a creative super-power and harmony just a vessel to carry it inside. We need to understand that there is a significant time required to construct this vessel. You are at the wheel, you need to sit there in the heat, get your hands dirty.
So next time you have a thought, treat it seductively. Seduction is recognition of possibilities. You need to court an idea, you can’t just say yes or no. Impulse is good once in a while but you can’t make a practice of it. And this “You can’t” needs to come from you. You have to mull on a thought for an evening. You have to dream about it, of how things can be if this thought were to come true. You should want to wake up with it in the morning. To take it to lunch.
Thinking is a long affair. It is not convulsive, it not out-the-door then out-of-your-pants. It is a painful introspection. Comically, it is possibly like this:
I am not a foodie!
No! I will eat anything that tastes good!
But isn’t that what being a foodie is about?
//you’re doing it already, you just need to do it more.//