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Growing Up

I find myself in a not-so-unique position. I refuse to grow up. Oh, I go to work. I pay the bills. I live the humdrum grind of everyday life. But inside of me… inside of me is a child that refuses to die. This is the kid that grew up loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This is the kid that was so polite that he’d hold the door open at the post office so long that his mom would have to yell at him to get to the car. This is the kid that found joy in the little things: Shorts, cowboy boots, and a massive metal tow truck toy were all I needed.

That kid, that’s the one that hides for awhile when things are going tough, but pops back out to remind me not to grow up. I was thinking about the gifts I received this Christmas, and I realized – the kid’s still kicking. I can take joy out of the smallest of things. It always makes me smile when Loki, our cat, will always come lay on my chest any time I lie down on the bed. It’s something small and yet it can make my day. Hell, the cat starts purring before he even gets to the bed… it’s like the rodent likes me. *I know cats aren’t rodents… I hate cats though. I am and always have been a dog person. (Though Loki is a good rodent. As is Arthur, the cat we semi-adopted from a friend. But I still hate cats.)* 😛

I enjoy the gift of giving, whether it’s my time, my things, or my self. There is no more rewarding feeling than being able to feel satisfied and fulfilled with the little things in life. Of course, I may be a brat about the giving. Take this Christmas for instance… I was strolling around Hastings Entertainment Store for a gift for my girlfriend with my little nephew. My nephew LOVES Spongebob. Adores the annoying little yellow guy. Well, we’re walking around and he sees this 3 pack of Spongebob themed games: 2 card games with the sponge on it, Spongebob Bingo, and Patrick/Spongebob checkers. It was love at first sight. He wanted it SOOOO badly, and this was the last one in town. Being the joker I am, I pick it up, and this kid is like a cat with a laser pointer – he’s following it anywhere it goes. I asked him, I said “Kobe, you like Spongebob, don’t you?” To which he replied, “Oh yes Uncle Mikey, oh yes I do.” The kid is all innocence and niceness at this near juncture to Christmas (though he’s usually a good kid anyway, just more so around the holidays). I then drew him out and said “Well, I think I’ll get this for my niece in California, she loves Spongebob too.” You’d think I’d deflated the kid, literally. When he gets sad, he gets sad with his WHOLE body. He slumped and tried to put on a good face (poor kid!), so I “let” him carry it all around the store. He’d think I wasn’t looking and he’d look at it so admiringly. Long story short, he totes it all around the store and then I have him carry out the bag with the gifts in it, where he keeps on stealing covetous glances to the wonderful Spongebob prize.

Come Christmas day, we went over to my mom’s house to share the presents and when he comes to our 3 presents (we had wrapped each game box as it’s own gift), he dug right in. Upon revealing the first package, he lit up and in ignorant bliss exclaimed “SPONGEBOB BINGO! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.” Everyone hid smiles and kind of chuckled (since everyone but Kobe knew of the gag). Come to box #2 and he yells “WOW! SPONGEBOB CARD GAMES! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.” By this time everyone else was having a hard time not bursting out laughing. He opens box 3 and sure enough “WOW! SPONGEBOB CHECKERS!!! Uncle Mikey, this is just like the one you got for your niece in California.”

I said to him “Kobe, Uncle Mikey MAAAAYYYY have been fibbing to you when he said they were for his niece in California.” At this point everyone bursts out laughing, having contained it too long. The kid goes from the biggest smile to a disbelieving glare as he realized I “got his goat”… then he laughed and asked if I’d play Spongebob Checkers with him. We did. He had his revenge… the kid is cutthroat at checkers. While my mom spent a lot more on his gifts than I did, I was able to give him a gift he really enjoyed in a way that gave everybody a chuckle.

All that to say… That’s the kid in me. He enjoys being able to laugh and play jokes that don’t require somebody to get hurt. It’s the kid in me showing he’s still kicking. The kid in me keeps pushing me to write my story. HE wants it to be told. HE doesn’t want it to die. The kid in me, HE doesn’t accept lame excuses.

“I’m too tired to work on this.”

“Well, go to bed earlier.”

“But I can’t go to bed earlier, I’ve got X to do.”

“Then do X later.”

“But I have Y to do then.”

“Well, do Y then X. Or X then Y. Write some on your book now.”

“If I work on it, will you shut up and go away?”

“Yes.”

*Work on it for a bit, then play some Skylanders.”

“Why don’t you go work on your book.”

“AAAARRRRRGGHHH! Leave me alone!!!”***

You know… the same kind of thing when a kid learns the most fantastic and annoying word in the English language: “Why?”

***Please note, this is just a dramatization. I do not actually suffer from multiple personality disorder. I argue with myself quite often, but I call this “thinking”.***

Any way, as I sit here, I realize that to truly grow up, you have to hold on to the child within yourself as you create the new you. We are constantly changing and evolving as people. Whether it’s something as mundane as a favorite (or least favorite) food changing or as drastic philosophical and moral alignment shifts, we need to find a way to hold on to what we were and incorporate it into what we are. I truly believe this will make for a more complete and well rounded adult.

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