5 Great Things I Gave Up to Be Grown

If only it stayed that way.

Confession: I only pretend to be a serious adult. I love having a kid because I can indulge in “immature” activities with a living, breathing excuse. When I chase my daughter around the house, both us wearing ducky towels flowing from our heads, nobody can judge me. I’m being an engaged parent. If I tried that on my own, my husband would wrap me in the nearest straitjacket.

In the grand tradition of all blogs, I came up with a list of things that I miss because I choose to be Grown Up.

I really miss climbing trees. Strolling past a knobby oak on Saturday, I paused. The gnarled bark on the tree would naturally lend itself as grips for my fingers. The leafy top was dense and I would have to climb very high. The branches looked sturdy. But the groundsman wouldn’t appreciate seeing me six feet up in his tree, sneakers dangling. I sighed and kept it moving.

Boys were only girls with short hair. I would trade every high heel in my closet if I could un-learn the word misogyny from my life experience. I remember when boys were just playmates who ran a little quicker and forced me to prove that I could run just as fast if I tried. The boy-girl stakes are so much higher in adulthood. I find myself arguing against my perceived inferiority instead of my speediness.

Being black was fun all the time. Childhood held all of the jazz and none of the blues of blackness. I could speak my vernacular with no shame, love my hair in all its states, be friends with little girls of different hues because they had Barbie Jeeps. Black was not a Thing; I was a just little girl with brown skin. I still love my culture and my heritage, but the weight of it sometimes tricks me into forgetting to take unabashed joy in it.

Romance was a 1+1=2 equation. Now it looks more like |z|^2-2z=1+2i. Game was something you played with someone, not tools you used on someone. From a girl’s perspective, you met someone, you fell in love, you kissed, and then the movie screen faded to black. There was no wondering if he liked you because he abruptly stopped calling after a week straight of mind-blowing conversations.

Sallie Mae was just your grandmother’s name. I don’t remember who told me that education was ‘the key’, but they didn’t specify what door it unlocked: Debt. I was optimistic about higher education until I graduated and learned that it’s hard out here in these corporate streets. I no longer believe wholesale that we can be anything we want. Sallie Mae is emblematic of everything wrong with the student loan industry.

For all the innocence that childhood afforded, I am still grateful to have a fun grown up life: to find my highs in things I enjoy, to engage in meaningful conversations about women and men, to have met someone I love dearly, to know the creativity of my people is boundless, and to have received an education that allows me to do what I am doing now. 

What are some trade-offs you made to be Grown? 

6 thoughts on “5 Great Things I Gave Up to Be Grown

  1. Great list!

    I totally miss climbing trees and hanging outside with my friends all day. Whether we were wrestling, playing chicken on our bikes, having water gun fights or hoopin. It was all good times.

    Thank you so much for this piece. It allowed me to reminisce on the good ole days!

  2. I’ve never played handball! It sounds like fun.
    As far as the ice cream truck, we also had a Polar Bear truck that sold a form of icee popular in Florida. But maaan was I shocked when I found out that some ice cream trucks also peddled drugs in certain neighborhoods. Talk about loss of innocence! :/

  3. Handball! I use to play handball all the time in the spring and summer in New York. I’d just show up at the park and someone would always be there ready to play. Now exorcising seems like a chore.

    The Ice Cream Truck! I remember hearing the music from the truck letting us know it was on it’s way to our block. All of us would scramble inside to get money from the parents. Of course now I worry about what I’m eating.

    School! Playmates and friends and learning too! I like you, you like me, okay we’re friends! Now making new friends can be really hard. It takes time and a lot of work.

  4. See now, I don’t miss kickball anymore. I played a grownup kickball game three years ago that skint my little knees ALL UP in the dirt! I got steamrolled by a giant red ball lol. Apparently, I’m not as fast as I used to be!

  5. If you lived in my neighborhood, we would have been climbing all the trees and beating the boys in foot races. I do miss playing. I’ve missed Play Date events and playing kickball weekly.

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