Tuesday, 7 May 2013

When I Grow Up, I Want to Be... A Kid!

It's said that children today are growing up faster than ever. Mostly, I would agree. But I also think that children have always wanted to be 'grown up', regardless of what technology was available at the time. Sure, the children of a few decades ago were content with much less than the children of today complain about 'only having', but I think in general, most children have always wanted to be a 'grown up' and have tried to act older than their years.

Then, when we're adults, we wish we were kids again. We can really understand why Peter Pan never wanted to grow up! We all wanted to be able to do what we wanted, when we wanted to do it, go to bed when we wanted and eat junk food all the time. We didn't realise we had to worry about money, work, and other boring adult responsibilities. This sums it all up:

Yet, when adults start acting like big kids, they quite often get people looking down their nose at them and hurrying to get away, even though deep down, I reckon said people wish they could be a big kid themselves! Acting like a child, eating kids food or doing anything that not adult-like is often met with scorn and derision. But why?

Most children have a certain amount of innocence and rarely care what people think about them. They have few, if any, responsibilities and the biggest thing they usually have to worry about is getting up for school in the morning. This sort of lifestyle is best kind to have, so why is it so shameful for adults to act like children?

Last year, I stayed at my sister's house for a few weeks and whilst there, I decided to be a big kid and buy a tub of Nesquik powder. It's basically powder you add to milk to make a milkshake, and it's supposed to be a great way to get kids to drink milk. I also happen to love the taste and so, decided to buy some. However, as I'm technically an adult (by age, not in any other way), I had to do the boring check of the price and see which size tub would be the best to get. As I was deciding, a woman, who I'd guess to have been in her mid-thirties, started looking at the same stuff. I had two tubs in my hand at the time, trying to work out which was the better value, and the woman picked up a similar tub and started talking to me.

"My eight-year-old loves this stuff. It's the only way I can get him to drink milk! How old is yours?"

Inwardly, I started wishing the floor would swallow me up. I started muttering something about how she's six and I need to go and pick her up and I need to go now, and I think I was still mumbling when I'd half-sprinted to the till to get out of that store as quickly as possible. (By the way, the reason I said "she's six" is because the first thing that came to mind after the question, was the daughter I believed I had when delusional, and that's the age she would have been.)

Looking back now, I wish I'd said to that woman that the powder was for me. Why should I be ashamed of liking a drink that's marketed at kids? After all, given the right circumstances, all adults will start acting like a child. Take a traffic jam for example. Say you're on the motorway and only one lane is open. Most people moved into the correct lane with plenty of time, but then get stuck crawling through the one open lane.

Now, cue the idiots. These are the ones who stay in the closed lane until the last possible moment. They scream up the inside or outside of everyone, completely ignoring the queue, and when their lane does close, on goes the indicator. It's happened to everyone, unless you're one of those idiots, and I can guarantee that everyone who has watched that happen from a distance, will start urging the cars in front to bunch up. And quite often, the cars who could let the idiot in, do bunch up.

Surely, this is a bit childish? Don't get me wrong, there's no greater satisfaction than seeing one such idiot getting well and truly stuck and unable to even bully their way in, but deep down, you know it's childish to do this. And what about the so-called 'plebgate'? Regardless of what really happened (controversy aside), a politician allegedly called a police officer a 'pleb' (an offensive term suggesting that someone is of a low social class), and the public went wild. On Twitter, whilst I found it amusing to see how many people had changed their name to Joe Pleb Bloggs or Jane Pleb Bloggs, the whole thing felt a bit like school.

In most schools there was always 'that kid' who would tell you naughty words. Often it would be a swear word in a foreign language, and for a while, it would be the most commonly used word around the school. Whilst the teachers would all know what 'that word' really meant, most would roll their eyes and wait for this new word trend to die down. Which it always, eventually, did. But when 'plebgate' broke, it was like we'd all been taught a new 'naughty word' and we all had to use it. All who protested the politician's use of the word, started using it to describe themselves. I've used it as a joke offensive word too, purely because of 'plebgate'.

So why is it acceptable to be childish at times, and sometimes even encouraged, but other times it isn't? Why, when we know how much we desperately wish we could go back to being a kid, do we look down on those who are being childish? Personally, I think the world would be a much better place if playgrounds were built at adult size (not just theme parks like Alton Towers), and those at work 'went out to play' at lunch time. There's stress and obesity reduced in one fell swoop. But no. This probably won't happen, unless you work at Google. Employers and employees have to give the impression of being respectable, professional adults, even if most of the workforce goes off sick with stress twice a year. Being childish, no matter how refreshing, is not permitted.

I think everyone should set themselves a task of doing a minimum of one childish thing a day. It's easy enough for me to act like a child (my family knows this all too well!) but only in the safety of my house. If anyone glares at you for being childish, do a second childish thing by sticking your tongue out at them. If we all stopped caring about what people thought of us, life would be so much easier. I still care too much about what other people think, but I'm not as bad as I used to be.

Maybe tomorrow I'll go out and buy more Nesquik powder. If anyone criticises me, I'll just tell them they're a smelly poopy-head.


  1. I feel like a bit of a kid sometimes. I still live with my parents and I'm 33! I suppose more people are doing it these days with the financial pressures that there are. Your Nesquik story reminded me how much I like drinking chocolate. Occasionally I'll eat a teaspoon of it straight from the pot.

    Like you, I don't like idiots on the roads.

  2. I wonder who invented the rule that at 33 you are not allowed to share a house with your parents for economic reasons as long as you consider yourself an adult and act like one. My 36 year old son has a terrible complex about this. If he wants to finish his degree it is the only sensible way to go but he is very worried about what the neighbours think. The neighbours probably think that it is a sensible choice and not that he is sponging. Anyway, it is none of the neighbours' business

  3. I used to drink Nesquik a lot when I was a child - my grandad always had it in his cupboard, and I used to drink it when round there (where I went about every week), but never anywhere else, funnily enough. I can't remember the last time I had any of it - certainly not as an adult. However, I do still eat chocolate buttons - they started producing Giant Buttons, I suspect, when they figured out that people who liked the normal buttons as children grew up and wanted bigger buttons - they obviously sell. I find they give me energy which I need when I've been up early and I'm working.

    I don't think the lady you met in the shop would have cared if you said it was for you - you could have just said you'd always liked it since you were a child. Milkshake mix is only like hot chocolate and I drink a lot of that myself.

  4. Was going to write how much I hate narrow mindedness and we should all do what we like. I believe that but I'm full of shit too. Acting my own life out within the narrow perimeters set out by others rather than doing what I want simply becalmed I want to. Do what you feel. If someone has a problem it is just that. There's. But like I say, it's not as if I am listening to my own advice