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Archive for November 16th, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011
What is the moment that you leave childhood and enter adulthood? (Guest Post by Catherine Gildiner, author of After the Falls)

Honestly? I think it’s probably different for everyone.  Mine was the first year that I didn’t get a Barbie doll for Christmas. Sounds lame, right? I didn’t want a Barbie doll. I was grown-up, in my own eyes at least. If my parents had given me a Barbie doll I’d have been insulted.  But I watched, with envious eyes, my little sister opening her treasure trove of Barbies and had a momentary pang of wishing I could return to childhood and have that much fun playing with toys.

And here’s the place where I shamefacedly confess that one year in my early 20s, I got myself a Barbie doll and some Barbie clothes and played with her in the solitude of my bedroom. I knew it was dorky and silly, but I needed that feeling of being able to play with a toy that I’d loved so much as a child.

Other moments where I realized that I was no longer a child included the first autumn after I graduated high school. My brother and sister were all excited about starting school, and I had a full-time job, and missed that feeling of excitement about a new school year. I didn’t want to be back in high school–I actually had very few good memories of school–but I was (and still am) passionate about learning. It was just that realisation that things had changed.

When I watched on TV the US bombing Libya more years ago than I care to count up, and wondered if it meant the end of the world was approaching, I wished again to be a kid who didn’t know what was going on in the world and didn’t care. And then I feel guilty for saying that now, because how many children in this world do know what’s going on, and do care, because they can’t go to the market without a very real chance of a suicide bomber choosing just that moment to take out as many people as s/he possibly can. And how many children are starving to death, or perishing from lack of water, or dying of AIDS? Realising that also makes me know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I am a grown-up and I have to not only make sure not to put my head in the sand, but try to find ways to actively make things better.

 

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