Friday, 28 August 2015

'Don't Grow Up, It's a Trap'


Yesterday began as a bit of a downer.

Consulting our finances delighted to inform us that we were closer to flat broke than ever before, even with the penpal project, as each new purchase only seemed to just about cover of the previous package.

We spent the majority of the day cooped up inside drawing and writing, too broke to go to our regular coffee shop and soak up the inspiring atmosphere whilst working on our pieces.

By late afternoon we had as well as succumbed to cabin fever, and realised we needed to get out.

But you know, walking down the block and seeing the Empire State Building surrounded by it's glittering counterparts making up the Manhattan skyline right before your eyes, has a funny way of brightening even the worst moods.


We jumped on the subway and whizzed a few stops over to Greenpoint, just North of Williamsburg.

From there we strolled down Manhattan Avenue, not entirely sure of where we were headed... only to find ourselves at WNYC Transmitter Park with hands down the most spectacular view of Manhattan I'd seen in my 3 months of living here.

Already riding a high, we walked alongside the river, down Franklin Street through Williamsburg. The city truly was glorious, and a hum of contentment blossomed in my chest. It may suck to be broke, but when you get views like that for free, there's no other place I'd rather be broke in the world.

Suddenly we happened upon a tiny crowd of about 13 people sat in front of a large pop-up screen on the riverfront- evidently one of NYC's famous open air cinemas that we'd become acquainted with over the summer. 

And we could barely contain our joy that of all the films in the world, the vast sprawling archives of human achievement sealed within celluloid over the past century that they could have chosen to show on this glorious American night, they were playing... Spy Kids 4. 

We found ourselves falling about in laughter catching the last 10 minutes of the free showing. Somehow, it was simply perfect.

Our moods were revolutionised by this free outing, and we had just began our walk back to the subway, when one of those little A-boards outside bars that people write witty things on in chalk caught my eye.

'Don't grow up, it's a trap'

It read, and I stopped in my step, a flash of fury interrupting my contentment.

I don't think there's anything in the world I despise more than that phrase, aside from the way it's thrown around as being 'quirky' and 'clever'.

Because it's possibly the saddest, most tragic statement in the world, and not only something that I would NEVER, EVER want any child to hear or see, but it's also completely and utterly untrue.

When I was a kid, I remember one New Years Eve very distinctly. It was before the countdown, the kids had been allowed to stay up late as was the way, and the parents were already insubordinately drunk. I'd been excitedly chatting with my uncle about the books we'd been reading at school and how excited I was to be in secondary school, and he turns to me, a bit wavy, and says;

"You know, you're very streetwise for a 12 year-old." (I'll always remember that because a) I was dead proud and b) my family delighted in taking the piss out of me for it from that day onward - 'Oh Katie, you're so ~streetwise~!'

"School years are the best years of your life." He continued. "You won't know that yet, but I'm telling you now. It never gets better than this. Hold on to it."

And it haunted me from that moment onward. From then on I felt this dooming pressure to hold on to every single second just in case this really was my life's peak, wanting desperately to shake the shoulders of my pals and yell 'Haven't you heard, goddamnit?! It doesn't get any better than this!" 

Only once actually growing up and leaving school, did I realise that while it was true for some - the closed-minded, pension-chasing 9 to 5'ers who are forever cursed by the inability to admit their deep dissatisfaction with how their lives ended up and have a breakdown at 35 when their marriages crumble under the pressure which leave them telling 12 year old kids that that's the best they'll ever be - it didn't have to be the case for all.

Growing up is fucking awesome. But it's down to YOU to make sure of it. 



Yeah as an adult you have a lot more responsibilities than you did as a kid - bills, taxes, jobs and all that shit people try and scare you with - but that's a fact of life, and what they don't actually tell you it's actually really fucking easy to deal with it and get on with your life if you want to.

When you're an adult, you have more responsibilities, but what people seem to forget under the shadow is that is that you also have SO much more freedom.

You can quite literally do whatever the fuck you want in the entire universe, if you're willing to invest time and effort into making it happen. When you're an adult, able to earn your own money and make all the important decisions for yourself, the possibilities are genuinely endless. You are the sole dictator of your destiny now, and guess what? Y'know when you were younger and your parents told you you'd never be a writer, it's stupid to pursue a career in art over a career in business, that you are categorically forbidden from dating that boy because he had a wild mind and was seen as a 'bad influence' when in fact he was just a dreamer? 

You can prove them ALL wrong. You can run away to another city and sell your poems on the street, you can start an online business selling your artwork and end up earning more than any postgrad trying to get into a graduate scheme after the crippling debt and strains of Uni, you can go ahead and marry that dreamer and run off around the world together working in hostels and surf bars to get by, if that is what you really want.

Becoming an adult brings responsibility but brings relief. Becoming an adult brings freedom, but brings fear. 

And the only difference between becoming a person who is in love with their life, a person who their child-self would have been proud to have become, and a person who looks back to their child-self with regret and longing for a simpler time, is the decisions that you make and the convictions with which you make them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not encouraging you to risk everything and completely throw in the towel on rationality and sanity. But what I am saying is that if you truly want to, YOU have the power to make wise, intelligent decisions, rediscover and utilise that child-like wonder, passion and imagination and live a beautifully curated and creative adulthood if you wish. 

And let me tell you, when you do, growing up truly is the fucking BOMB. And you can roundhouse kick over any shitty little, wittily chalked A-board that tries to tell you otherwise.

23 comments :

  1. My favourite line in this...

    "And you can roundhouse kick over any shitty little, wittily chalked A-board that tries to tell you otherwise."

    YES! I can't wait to be able to live my life on my own terms. I mean, I love being my age but the fact that I'll be able to choose things for myself is ridiculously exciting for me!

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  2. Curating an awesome life is all I want, thanks for sharing this, your writing is beautiful <3

    Mushroom Rain Blog

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  3. THIS WAS MAGICAL TO READ. I would say I felt the same but until now I've never really thought about it. We shouldn't be telling kids that growing up is this horrible thing. It can be at times but its also the best part of life. I swear Katie Oldham, you may be dirt broke but if the inspiration you give people and the love we feel for you was money, you'd be ruling the world.




    http://changingperspectivesblog.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. This is such an inspiring read, and definitely something I'm gonna have to revisit in times when I'm just staring into space thinking 'why'. Growing up is what you make of it, life is what you make of it. People shouldn't be allowed to squash dreams - it's those people that are scared to live.

    Fii | little miss fii

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  5. I love the post so much, and it's so beautifully written! It annoys me when people say school days are the best days of your life...it's so not true for all! I hated school! Having the independence and freedom adulthood had brought is far more enjoyable, and like you said, with that freedom comes fear. It's just life! Xx Sophie / www.prettyandpolished.co.uk

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  6. School sucked, I'm much happier now :-)

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  7. 'Haven't you heard, goddamnit?! It doesn't get any better than this!"
    I LAUGHED FOR LIKE 2 HOURS AFTER READING THIS.
    only you, katie, only you. xx

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  8. I LOVE THIS! I am constantly told by adults that these are my "best years" and it "doesn't get better than this" and other things of the like. And whilst in someways this is true as like you mentioned I don't have to pay bills or taxes, which is great but so is growing up. Growing up is definitely what you make it and I agree with you that it doesn't have to be completely rubbish. I personally cant wait for adulthood and to be able to make my own decisions.

    basicallyzaynab.blogspot.co.uk

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  9. I really love this, I did find school to be my best years despite many a problem but that's out of choice, I completely agree life is what you make it so we need to go for it xxx

    BlondeOfCarbs

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    ReplyDelete
  11. I agree that growing up is awesome, but I wouldn't disregard 9-5 jobs and the 'simplicity' of jobs, taxes, bills, etc - because actually, dealing with those things can be very difficult. If you don't have a decent support network around you it can all collapse so easily. So, while for us fortunate ones with supportive families and good backgrounds, growing up is easy and fun, let's not forget those whose lives fall apart because they lose their job and can't afford to pay rent one month and end up homeless - it happens, i've seen it. Growing up for them can be very tough.

    N xo

    www.whatnaomiwrote.blogspot.co.uk

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