I was asked a question today, regarding college:
“What are you most nervous about?”
I couldn’t think of an answer then, but the more I meditated on it, the more I realized that I am afraid of growing up.
It’s not that owning a house or paying bills is scary. Those things should be manageable. After all, millions of people make mortgage payments every day and they don’t seem to be scared shitless–and if they are, then they do a very good job hiding it.
No, the scariest thing about growing up will not being a child any more. Kids are obnoxious and irrational, but they have the best way of seeing things. There’s a mystery behind every birdhouse door and every book cover in the world, and it takes a special kind of mind to find that mystery and flesh it out. It takes imagination and too many fizzy red drinks.
Kids are usually very good at this, but not adults. Why?
The problem is that we live in a world where rationality is respected, not imagination. No one ever says, “Oh, this guy thought of a clever inspirational limerick. We should give him a raise.” Instead, they say, “Oh, this guy used logic and mathematics to design a more efficient bribe-distribution system. We should give him a raise.” I’m not saying that bribe-distribution isn’t an important part of life. I’m just saying that, given my current values system, sometimes we need limericks, too, and I’m afraid that being a grown-up will change my perception, change who I am. I don’t want to use logic and mathematics; I want to use imagination and dress up like a giant marshmallow man.