Children long to be adults. They want to drive a car, to stay up as late, to have their school years behind them, to eat dessert for dinner. They want to be in charge of their lives instead of having all the adults around them telling them what to do. They think adulthood means freedom to be and do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they can’t wait to get there.

The desire to drive strikes early.
The desire to drive strikes early.

I was exactly like that. When I was sixteen, I thought I was done growing up and knew everything there was to know. Thirty years later, I look back and laugh at the naive girl who had so much to learn, and still does. Like the kid who longs to be old enough, I something wish I were still a kid, free to run off and play while the adults pack for the camping trip or deal with making dinner.

Here is my list of Reasons to Never Grow Up. (If someone had warned me about them in time, I could have signed up for the Peter Pan plan and stayed a child forever.)

  1. Trips to the DMV. The driver’s license may seem like a ticket to freedom, but it has its drawbacks — like standing in line for hours so they can take a photo that makes you like a junkie or a felon. Every time I have to show my driver’s license to an official, I expect to be arrested. I like to think it resembles me so little that a cop might think it’s not mine.
  2. Mammograms. All that waiting to grow boobs, and now I pay someone to torture me by smashing them flat. Annually.
  3. Income tax forms. You definitely make more money as an adult than you ever dreamed of having as a kid. Then you give yourself a migraine filling out forms to convince the government that you’ve paid them your share already.
  4. Root canals. Like many unfortunates, I got plenty of dental torture as a kid — tooth extractions, fillings, and four long years of stone-age braces. I had no idea that there are worse dental procedures to look forward to. My only (I hope!) root canal was the worst dental experience of my life. And given my history, that’s saying something.
  5. Colonoscopies. Need I say more?
  6. PMS. Thanks to false advertising by the school system, I thought getting my period was going to be a mystical, life-changing experience. I would be transformed magically from a lumpy girl to a graceful Disney princess. No one told me my cupboard would contain so many painkillers that I could open a pharmacy.
  7. Customer Service. Getting to stay up late and watch TV is also on the average kid’s Why I Want To Grow Up Now list. But things don’t always work, and when they don’t, you have to get help. What should be a simple phone call can turn into an arduous ordeal, leading you to question why you signed up for cable service in the first place.
  8. Belonging to a Home Owners’ Association. As an adult, you can buy a home. Then you can paint it any color you want, put in that massive tree house you’ve always dreamed of, and blow off mowing the lawn and go to the movies. As long as it’s OK with your HOA.

It’s easy to think I would have passed on adulthood if someone had bothered to tell me this stuff, but I know the kid me. I’m sure someone tried. I just wasn’t listening.

What about you? What did you most look forward to about becoming a grown up? What do you like least about being one?

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