I was driving into Wichita yesterday, and a new-ish billboard caught my attention. It was an advertisement for one of the casinos up in Kansas City, and the headline read in blazing big letters: “Feel 21 Again!”
Maybe I’m not old enough to appreciate what feeling like I’m 21 again means. If I were twice my age, maybe it would sound more appealing. But, just being honest, I wouldn’t go back to being 21 again for any amount of money. It’s not that being 21 was bad. No, it was a great time in my life, but my goodness, I’m so much more comfortable in my own skin now. I wouldn’t trade that (or the wisdom I’ve gained over the years) for the world.
But I understand what the sign is trying to say. Being an adult is hard work. Having all these responsibilities is exhausting. You make mistakes, and you have to pay for them yourself. You have to pay taxes. You have to buy insurance. And wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to forget all that adulting stuff and go back to a time when you were free? When you didn’t have to worry about your bills and your mortgage and whether or not your kids were eating enough vitamins?
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
Everyone grows up sometime. Nobody gets to stay a child forever. Granted, that doesn’t mean we can’t hold on to aspects of our childhood. Hope and joy, faith and unconditional love, those are things we should never let go of, but there comes a time when you have to stop being a child and be an adult.
Being a grown up really stinks sometimes. I’d much rather not have to make the hard decisions and deal with the consequences, but that’s part of being an adult. And we all get there.
I certainly have days when I wish I could go back to a simpler time where I wasn’t inundated with so many important decisions, where it doesn’t feel like every choice I make could potentially turn my whole world upside down. But when I was a child, I couldn’t do what God had called me to do.
Yes, I could be the person I needed to be. And I believe that children can serve God as much as an adult can. But there is a limit to what a child can do within the limits of the law. Kids can’t drive cars to pick up people and take them places. Kids can’t own businesses to help others. You get what I’m saying.
We all have a calling on our lives. God has something for each of us to do, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. And while it might be nice to think about having no responsibilities, is that what you really want? Do you really think that would make your life better?
There’s no use pining for childhood when you’re an adult. You can’t go back, and even if you could, once you were there I don’t think you’d enjoy it. It’s better to hold on to the parts of childhood that endure—the unquestioning faith, the simple perspective on life, the concept of truly needing someone to help you.
Adulthood comes along for all of us. Instead of dreading it or wishing we could go back to our childhood, let’s embrace it. Responsibility is scary, sure, but when we’ve got God on our side, nothing is impossible. No one can stop us.
So don’t fear adulting. Everyone has to do it, but none of us have to do it alone.