Every day we're getting a little older.
Being aware of our mortality and acknowledging that we don't necessarily know how much time we have, we're encouraged to seize the day. To make progress on projects and goals. To learn and to grow.
As we progress down this path, we move from childhood to adulthood; a place where we have responsibilities - dreams to realise, ideas to be explored, things to achieve, people to please, lovers to be found and accounts to be settled.
Effectively a never-ending laundry list of boxes to tick on our way to being all grown up. We take this very seriously too - whether by ambition or necessity or just because it's human nature.
Growing up may just be the original hamster wheel.
In his book, I Wrote This Book Because I Love You: Essays, Tim Kreider proposes that the very act of growing up is an indictment of how we've neglected our spirit:
"The last thing I’d want to be accused of is “growing up”; this is how boring conventional people congratulate you when your spirit breaks."
Pushing the slight snark and cynicism aside for a moment, I think Michelle Obama (in her book, Becoming) retraces these same steps to an earlier question (of ourselves), thus avoiding the idea of "being grown up" altogether:
"Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end."
I think where both of these ideas actually land us is a place where the destinations of our journeys don't matter as much, as experiencing the journey itself in a more playful manner.
Perhaps even keeping the perspective of a younger version of ourselves; one where we were curious, learning through discovery, without baggage and without pretending that we know where we're actually going.
This made me think about the Child's Pose (or Balasana) that is used in yoga (similar to a Shell Stretch in pilates). This resting pose centers, calms, and soothes the brain, making it a therapeutic posture for relieving stress and is often introduced in-between more challenging poses.
Instead of moving from one challenging pose to the next, we have interludes of rest in our Child's Pose.
Perhaps the same is true for growing up and reaching that mythical, finite and final destination. (Which is probably when we release our last breath.)
Perhaps as we embark on our journeys, running through that laundry list of boxes to tick, we can sometimes allow us to just to retrace our steps to an earlier state and rest there.
The world might think you are just being childish out of spite. Or because you are weak.
You should know that doing this is not a regression, but an act of rest and rejuvenation that keeps us tethered to a truth of ourselves and life before we or The World started adding a bunch of other things into the conversation.