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Guest post: Playing Grown Up

by John on July 28th, 2011

Next in our guest post series is Margaret from The Good, The Bad, The Family. It’s a little known fact that she & I are long, lost twins (of different parents and birthdays). She loves gummy grapefruit, I love gummy grapefruit. I love boobs, she has boobs. She is a parent, I am a parent. I try to be funny and witty, she is funny and witty! Seriously, sometimes I think we’re the same person. 🙂

I was on a business trip to San Francisco last week. It was the usual. Stay in a fancy hotel, take town car to the financial district each morning, expense report for all food and travel, etc. I’ve done it plenty of times. Each morning a co-worker and I would go to Peet’s coffee for a raspberry white chocolate mocha. We’d stand in line with throws of other business people waiting to jump start our day. And each day, we would walk back from Market Street to the hotel, which was oddly placed in the Tenderloin. I’d take a pair of flats in my brief case so I could switch out of my heels for the walk. All the cool city people do this.

Each day we’d people watch. There seemed to be a certain façade you needed to wear to work downtown. On the way to work you had to be bundled up in a chic coat with your iphone ear buds in, a coffee in your hand, and very serious look on your face. Maybe this was these people’s game face as they headed to their various sky scrapers. On the way home it was much of the same. But people were walking while on their Black Berry’s and Iphones most likely finishing up work while trying to catch the BART train. No one smiled. No one talked to anyone else.

It was like a movie where everyone was playing a part. Was this really what these people were like? Is this what I was supposed to be like? Did these straight faces get home and grab their kids in a big bear hug and play dress up and tea party? Did they hit up the clubs and party hard? Did they volunteer at a homeless shelter or hospital? So many straight faces. They certainly couldn’t be like this all the time? Were these people annoyed by me and my co-worker laughing and having a great time as we walked the city?

It wasn’t just this trip that made me ask all these questions. I often feel like I’m not really a grown up yet and that I’m just playing the part. And I wonder if other people feel this way too? Sometimes when I’m with my kids I stop and say to myself “Whoa. These are YOUR kids!” To clarify, I am a 35 year old woman with three children ages 15, 4, & 10 months. This parenting/grown up thing? Not so new to me. But at times it all seems surreal. It seems like just yesterday I was in high school and now I’m in my mid thirties!

You see, I have never believed that the fun should stop when we become grownups. But for some reason when we do become grown up we stop doing the fun things that really make us happy. Maybe it’s the drudgery of day to day adult life. Remember being a kid and wishing you could be a grown up so you could do anything you want and have sooooooo much fun every day?! But now that you’re a grown up, it’s your childhood that held all the fun! Remember track and field day at school? How about the excitement of singing in the school musical? What about going to school football games! Or spirit week at school! Then there was prom. This was the funniest phenomena of all! You prepared for weeks, planned everything to the T, bought a gown or rented a tux, did your hair, rented a limo, and had a fancy dinner- all like a real grown up! But when, as a real grown up, have you done these things?

My husband and I are kids at heart. I believe this is good and that it is key to staying happy and healthy. I see people walking around taking themselves so seriously and I have no desire to ever be that staunch. But I also work for a living and have to be professional too so I get it. I just wonder if all those straight faces are doing the same thing as me- playing grown up. Are they also people watching and taking their cues? Do they feel like they look? Are they still the same silly high school kid I their own heads. I surely hope so. Maybe we are all still just playing grown up. But maybe it’s not really a bad thing. For me personally, I will stay a kid at heart. I may have to slip into my grown up shoes from time to time but my inner child will continue to run the show!

From → Guest Post

2 Comments
  1. I’m with you on this one. I was playing Bad Cop on a call earlier thinking, “Man, if only these folks had any idea who I am the instant I step outside the office!” Even my boss joked later, “We probably don’t actually want to use Deb as our intimidation tool. If anybody needing intimidated actually met her, they’d see she’s really not very mean at all.”

    Still, like when I used to do extra “work” in law school, I love playing the part, for a little while every day. 🙂

  2. This is a great reminder. I’m “playing” kid this weekend. But I need to make it a daily habit. Thanks!

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