This post grabbed my attention because I just heard a similar sentiment out of the mouth of an undergradate student at the college where I work. I was making a guest appearance in a class on “The Well-Lived Life,” a course on vocation and calling taught by a wonderful professor with a passion for young adults. The student commented at one point in the discussion, “I don’t want to become an adult. Adults have no fun. All they do is complain. It sounds like life sucks once you grow up.”
Obviously, as a pre-law major on track for law school and a career, he’s living his life according to the expectation that *he* will be able to escape the sucky form of Adulthood. But he also isn’t sure he’ll escape, and it’s a point of worry.
Your quote from Margaret Mead sums up the solution nicely. Every stage of life requires balance. Children need to do meaningful work (at school and elsewhere) so they can experience regret and failure and joy and learn their value. Adults need to resist the urge to grind themselves down to a nub trying to have it all, a pursuit that pushes recreation and self-care to the margins. To flourish as humans — at any age — we must approach life holistically.