James Burns

James Burns

BUT I DON’T WANT TO! Those childish traits we never lose

You’ll grow out of it.

That’s what adults tell you about pretty much everything you do when you’re a child. Refusing to eat mushrooms, being afraid of the dark, crying every time you’re forced to accept that your birthday is over for another year… they promise we’ll get over it when we’re older.

And in lots of cases we do. We realise that mushrooms are actually alright if covered in cheese on a pizza, that darkness is actually a one-way ticket to Sleepy Town – every adult’s favourite place – and that, actually, though opening presents is fun, we really don’t need any more reminders that we’re getting old. We only need to look at our thermal vest collection to know that.

But there are some elements of childishness that we do hold onto, whether we admit it or not.

1. Never wanting to share sweets
It’s one of the toughest lessons a child has to learn: that they must share. Whether it’s toys or crayons or a packet of Haribo Starmix (yes, even the heart shaped ones), playtime etiquette states that you have to let others have a go. And it’s very hard to accept. Why should SHE get to use MY purple crayon when there are shops that will sell her one of her own? And why would I want HIM to have one of these delicious gummies when I could happily chew through the whole pack myself? And though we grow to learn that it’s good manners to share treats and that yelling “DON’T TAKE ANY OF THE RED ONES!” won’t score us any chums, it doesn’t mean we feel any differently about it just because we’re adults, we’ve just got a strong enough sense of self-awareness to keep it to ourselves.

2. Temper tantrums
Anybody who claims to be too old to throw their toys out of the pram is lying. In fact, adults are the best at it – all it takes is a delayed train, a phone out of battery or a person unable to understand the basic workings of a queue and we can rant enough to take on even the most sleep deprived child. Sure, we don’t lie on the floor, kick our legs and cry but we would if we could get away with it. Instead we opt for the most passive aggressive style of tantrum e.g. “If the man with the newspaper could just prioritise the needs of other people over studying his horoscope we could all have a much more comfortable commute home!” (with perhaps just the smallest, childish stamp of our feet thrown in for good measure.)

3. Caring how well we do in board games
It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts. Yep true, but isn’t it just loads better if you also win? As a child it was OK – for a short period, when you were still young enough to cry our way out of a problem – to ball in the face of a board game defeat. Now, though it pains us just as much to discover that we’re not the King/Queen of Articulate! or that our success in Monopoly directly reflects the traumatic state of our real-life financial situation i.e. DISASTROUS, crying is really not acceptable. Our only choice is either to shake the hand of our opponent and compliment them on their excellent board gaming prowess or storm out claiming to have ‘something in my eye’. Very mature.

4. Enjoying cheesy music
I have and will never grow out of my boyband phase. In fact, I think I enjoy them more and more the older I get. Is it because they make me feel young? Maybe. Is it because they remind me of the days when I could fit into size 6 jeans? Perhaps. Or is it because, after a long day at work, there’s nothing more relaxing than belting out 'Flying Without Wings' whilst cooking up a curry (including positioning myself on a stall and standing up for the key change)? Yep, it’s definitely that. Whilst our taste in food and drink may mature with age, why must we pretend that our music preferences do too?

One of the main perks of being a grown up is no longer having to worry about appearing to be cool. We can openly admit how much we love Disney! And that 'The Lion King' is one of our favourite films! And that if we could have walked down the aisle to 'The Circle of Life' and been lifted up and presented to the room like Simba to the herd then we would! What – just me? Really?

I’m sure there are many more – in fact, I know there are. But won’t mention any more lest my driving licence, mortgage and right to see 18 certificate films is taken away from me and replaced with an annual pass to the local nursery. Though perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. From the looks of things, I’d fit right in.

Charlotte Buxton is a freelance writer living in London. She runs a lifestyle blog Nothing Good Rhymes With Charlotte where she publishes a weekly column about relationships, growing up, things that get on her nerves, and anything else that might get a laugh. You can follow Charlotte on Twitter @CharlotteBuxto

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