When I was a very young child, adults seemed old.  Not mature, sensible, I-wanna-be-like-them old, but old as in irritable and weary.  Most of them seemed to be travelling identically, down the same path and with the same complaints.  I didn’t see them smile and shout with joyful abandon.  They didn’t climb trees and write on the sidewalk with blue and green chalk.  Instead they slumped over piles of paper, piles I couldn’t throw around like confetti.  They argued behind closed doors, sometimes weeping; sometimes shouting.  Occasionally they threw the most spectacular tantrums imaginable, ones for which I would be swiftly punished had I dared to do the same.

I longed to be older, to have access to their privilege but not to their burdens.  For even as a toddler I knew they were weighed down, and I didn’t want what they carried.  Life was for the running, for the zooming, for the revel.  Where was their fun?  I didn’t see any evidence of it and that worried me.  Did one have to exchange freedom for entry into the over-21 club?

However, on rare occasions, I did encounter adults who didn’t fit the mold, ones who were living life on their own terms:  chic and childless women living in high-rise condos, gray-haired ladies riding bicycles to the grocery store, funky old men teaching kickboxing, people of various ages and gender climbing mountains, doing research, painting pictures, dancing en pointe, flying planes, planting vegetables, playing baseball, writing poetry and travelling to the mysterious  places of the world. And one day I realized that I might do the same.  They were zooming; why couldn’t I?

I resolved that day, and every day since, to follow their example and live life on my terms. I don’t know what it will bring, but I know that when it comes, I might color it with chalk.



  1. Plant vegetables? Does being one count? Remind us all to continue to zoom. It helps. I always knew I liked hanging out and listening to adults when I was little. Kids had no enchanted sway over me like grown-up conversation. I did not get to ever say much myself. Think of it kinda like watching people at the train station just for fun. Make up stories for their lives so they do have fun also, at least the way I tell it.

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