This Sunday’s Simpson’s episode (I think I’m one of the few people who still watch The Simpsons) reminded me that I am an adult, and that the idea of being an adult used to be exciting and full of possibilities and freedoms.  But The Simpsons reminded me that while the adult world from a child’s perspective seems interesting, it often seems dull to those of us who live it everyday.  In the episode, Bart and Milhouse dress Milhouse up as Kirk Van Houten so that they can go around Springfield doing adult stuff.  They rent a truck, vote in a local election, buy beer for teenagers, etc.

It made me realize that I’ve done many of these mundane things over the past decade or so without any thought of how exciting they might seem to those who aren’t allowed to do them.  Or without any thought to how excited I used to get even thinking about the prospects of doing adult stuff.  When I was a kid I couldn’t wait until I could vote, rent a car, buy beer, etc.  I’d daydream about the freedom adults enjoyed.  And the first few times I did these things I felt a surge of excitement because I was doing something new that was previously forbidden.  Now they are routine, or even a burden.

A lot of children like to “play adult” or mimic what they see as adult behavior.  Young children often want to play with a parent’s cell phone, dress up like an adult, etc.  Children remind us of how we used to see adulthood when we were their age.  Children can only speculate about adult life based on what they observe adults doing, so routine adult activities often become idealized.

However, when we become adults we eventually lose that sense of wonder because we have a greater understanding of how the world actually works.  For example, when we adults rent a car we think of how much it cost, whether we should have paid extra for the insurance, how much gas we will need to put in it, instead of thinking, “Holy shit!  Some stranger just gave me a car to do whatever I want with without any supervision!”

So the next time you go grocery shopping or pay your bills imagine what a child might think of what you’re doing (or if you have children you can actually observe them observing you, or you can ask them what they think you’re doing).  Hopefully this will make some of those routine tasks a little bit more exciting.

(Did anyone else think that sounded a bit preachy and too much like a self help book?)

Oooooooor sometimes you could try not acting like an adult.  Today I got into a jousting match with my office mate.  We each had a roll of wrapping paper and we used our desk chairs as our mighty steads to charge at each other.  This is what it looked like in my mind:

I’m an adult!