Growing up is something we all have to do. We can’t stay children forever (apart from anything else, that would just look weird and at best have us put on a register). But most of us do our best to put off the idea of growing up for as long as possible. Some of us (certain rock stars spring to mind) kind-of manage.
But most of us have to try this “adulting” thing at some stage.
- Acting immaturely – this has a time and a place but if it’s your default mode then something needs to change
- Acting more like your grandparents than the age group you feel you’re in. You might have watched movies like Grumpy Old Men and maybe even relate to the actors. But there’s a creeping fear that before long, you’ll be sitting on the porch, chewing tobacco and cursing at the people who go past.
- Refusing to grow up. There’s a world of difference between playing games like Call of Duty and Red Dead Redemption occasionally and thinking that by playing them you’re keeping your youth. Chances are any youths you meet would laugh at you for still using those old-fashioned consoles.
- Trying to be trendy. Some shops will change their background music if they get too many “oldies” in the shop because they realise that you’ll put off their target audience if they see wrinklies in the shop – even though you probably don’t count as a wrinklie, because you’re the wrong side of 30 the younger generation will think you are! Sorry.
- You think you’ll lose something if you relinquish your youthful ideas. Maybe you will – there’s a good chance you won’t experience the innocence and wonder of a young child but that’s because you’ve been there, done that. Not because you’ve grown up.
Overcoming fear of growing up
Well, the good news is you’ve already started to do this.
The mere fact of searching and clicking a link is an excellent start because it means your mind is at least vaguely entertaining the idea that you could be scared about growing up and that you need to do something about it. Or maybe a friend has (jokingly?) sent you this link.
it doesn’t matter what the reason is – our minds work in very mysterious ways at times but the whole process of dealing with fear involves chipping away at it. Because fear is actually afraid of us and of being “outed” for being usually irrational or not based on any solid foundations. Sure, there are exceptions – being afraid of things like spiders can be a good trait, especially if you’re in a country where they aren’t always tame creatures who would only harm a fly; being afraid of things like bridges could actually be a part of being worried about growing up. Fears are odd and often not overly based on reality.
Being afraid of growing up could just mean that you don’t really want to face all the responsibility that adults have – mortgages, loans, jobs, relationships, even looking after children of your own.
It doesn’t matter which of these is the root cause of your worries. Or if none of them are and it’s something completely different that I haven’t even thought of.
Pick on part of the fear
It’s highly unlikely that your worries about growing up will have just one component.
Near enough all our fears are the sum of lots of smaller parts.
So those bridges I mentioned earlier could be to do with heights, congestion, maybe some movies or YouTube videos you’ve watched, control (you likely didn’t build the bridge yourself), people or traffic around you and all sorts of other factors.
The same goes for your worry about growing up.
I’ve mentioned lots of different options before.
If you’re the analytical sort, jot down as many of the different components as possible and then score them. Then choose the lowest scoring option.
If you prefer a less adult approach, just go with your instincts. But still choose one that doesn’t worry you too much.
Then work on that part of the fear.
Be childish with it – taunt it, take the mickey out of it, laugh at it it, maybe put it in a catapult and fire it off into outer space, taking great delight as it explodes or freezes or whatever.
Doing that with your fear of growing up is perfectly OK.
What will happen is that your mind will start to look at that component of your fear in a different light. And that will start to chip away at the fear itself, much like water eroding the foundations of a building or rot setting in to something.
It’s OK to sometimes not grow up
PG movies are often designed more for the adults who are duty bound to watch them than their offspring who they’re accompanying.
It’s OK to let yourself go occasionally and give your child-like tendencies free reign – that’s actually a fun part of being an adult. You can give yourself permission to not grow up in certain circumstances or at certain times. Maybe when you’re playing paintball at a friend’s birthday, maybe when you’re painting the town red (but then decide it’s past your bed time and make your excuses before getting in the taxi).
Time takes its toll on all of us – that’s something we haven’t managed to address with medical science although we have managed to put off a lot of the side effects until later in our lives.
Maybe make a list of all the things you can do now as a grown-up that you couldn’t do as a child. This could be as simple as being tall enough to take that roller coaster ride or go somewhere without being ID’d. Or it could be taking a different view on something, even if that view is deliberately child like or at least not as grown-up as some of your peers would prefer.
Because given the choice of being child-like or being old before your time, I think most people would prefer the option where they’re less grown up.
But if you want a slightly grown up way to lessen the times when you’re worried about growing up, check out the idea of a hypnosis track to deal with it. The track will help chip away at the side of you that’s scared about how old you’re getting and whether or not you’re even close to acting your age.