Reclaim Adulthood? What Makes You Think I Gave It Up?

Once again, the sober judges of the adult world feel it’s their duty to admonish those of us who want to buy a coloring book for ourselves that it’s not a grown-up thing to do. Being a sober, responsible adult requires we give up the things of childhood such as comic books, lest we be labeled as trying to stay young (horrors!). Being a grown-up, we are told (for the upteenth time) is about getting up every day and shouldering our responsibilities, trudging down the road like Kant, whose routines were so regular you could set your clocks to them.

Of course, getting older doesn’t have to be seen as inevitable decline, but that doesn’t mean you get to choose what avoiding decline looks like for me. Yes, focusing on small decisions makes it easier to be bypassed on bigger questions, if you subscribe to the idea that current pop culture is just a means to control us all through the Internet of Things. How is wanting to still find fun and magic in your life a signpost that you’re scurrying ‘back into childhood’s unsullied ideals”? Can’t an interest in YA literature and cosplay also be a sign that you don’t view getting older as “accepting the limits of the reality you are given” or “resigning yourself to a life that will be less adventurous, worthwhile, or significant than you supposed when you first began it”?

Finally, why should I accept your premise that my choices must always be ‘either/or’? May I not color in a book without having someone tell me I’m refusing to grow all the way up? May I not protest this indictment without being derided as thin-skinned and having “grave reverence” for “activities originally designed for kids”?

I reject your interpretations and your conclusions. I’ll define being an adult my way for myself. And I’m older than you, so have some respect.

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