I’ve been thinking about the idea of not growing up. Not Peter Pan style, but on the inside, and not being embarrassed about being happy, especially in public. I think we can miss out on a lot that way, and end up not being ourselves a lot of the time. This is a poem about that.
Remember promising that
Not under any circumstances
Never in a million years
Just catch us
Will we ever grow up?
We used to
At the solemn faces
The grown up races
The rat race
The no fun
Can’t do that
Don’t be silly
We’ll never be like that we said
I promise we said
Remember one day learning that you have to break that promise?
When the world in all its glory
Tests exams and failing
As and Bs and Cs
Like that deadline looming will determine
We learn that isn’t true
But then most of what we learn in high school
When we’re taught that
Algerbra will be useful
I think it’s just because
That’s what the teachers what to believe
They’re stuck in school eternally, so
They rock in corners after class
Algerbra is useful
Over and over and over again.
We just leave them there.
When we venture out or are we pushed out
Jobs and money
I haven’t done my tax for two years and to be honest I’m not sure where to start
Remember when you were given money for the first time?
Like a precious assignment
This money in exchange for milk
Make sure you get full cream
And did you?
Probably. You did well. You were successful.
You made the deal.
You completed the assignment.
You learnt another adult skill.
You walked a little taller on the way home,
And didn’t stop to pat the dog.
You learnt how to iron and wash up
Then how to brush your teeth every night
Because dentist bills are so expensive you do it voluntarily.
Now you are grown up
Capable and an adult
You have a job
You earn money
You have a car and you can drive it anywhere you want
You drive it to get milk.
You know the right degree of warmth to put into your smile for the cash register girl so you are friendly but not weird
Never look her in the eyes and she will do the same for you.
You don’t look at people in the elevator,
Or in the isles, or next to the fridge
(You get low fat milk)
You don’t even fog up the fridge window with your breath to draw faces
You hold the milk by the handle
Then carry it in a plastic bag
While walking down the footpath
And your walk is confident and straight ahead
Even if you’re accidentally stepping on all the cracks.
Do not laugh
At silly things
Like water splashing on our toes
And, oh look at that butterfly,
And come play on the swings
Dancing in the supermarket
Grandma gives you silver coins
And you spend every last cent
On something to make you happy.
Aren’t you glad to be a grownup?
Aren’t you glad you know these things?
When did adult get to be a good thing?
You’re becoming a mature adult they say
And I’m all for maturity
Which means knowing how to comfort someone who is crying
Or how to solve a crisis
Or make good decisions about not jumping off bridges
And being able to make tea even when the power’s off
But adult? Adult goes beyond maturity in unspoken slang
Umbrella when it rains
Indicating to change lanes
I’m going to be late
Line up and wait
Don’t be silly
That’s too frilly
Proper and uncharming
Promise I won’t be one
Look what we’ve become
AND GUESS WHAT!?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO!!!!!!!!!!
Yes that’s right!
Selling here cheap;
A one way ticket to being 20 years old or older, no matter how old, and still being able to have FUN!
TOTAL COST? A FEW STRANGE LOOKS!
TOTAL BENEFITS? Having so much fun.
And that’s the secret
The one that’s never taught in school
All this stuff you learn how to do,
Just to survive?
None of it matters.
The important stuff,
The really important stuff?
That’s all the things everyone is too grownup for,
Doesn’t have enough time for,
Or are too old for.
A LIST OF A FEW IMPORTANT THINGS.
Making daisy chains and wearing them all day
And dancing when your favourite song is on in the store
Laughing with your friends
And loving people so much that it hurts
Standing out in rainstorms
Taking deep breathes of your favourite scented air
And standing up for what is right
And never being embarrassed to stare
At all the beautiful things in sight.
And yes I know it’s bad out there
We’re waiting for the promises to come
We get tired, fed up, and irritable. Which is ok.
But the rest of the time
The rest of the time,
We see everything through the laughter that bubbles out of us
When the happiness inside of us,
Is more than we can physically contain
So I promise
I promise I will laugh
I promise I will never grow up
I promise to remember how to be happy.
For all the quiet smile moments
The cannot contain the laughter moments
The silent shaking laughter moments
The chuckles of remembering those moments
And the take my breath way with beauty moments
Or the listening moments,
When being solemn is ok.
Oh, and don’t forget to play on every playground you see.
Thanks if you read to the end of this rather long poem! What are some things that you like doing, even if they are generally seen as childish? (eg. Playing on swings, skipping the cracks on a footpath, playing with your food, singing in public) 😊