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.