Fairy Lantern & Adulthood

Believe what you will about herbal remedies, I’m taking a handful. Last night I decided to look up what each remedy is claimed to achieve, since I’ve been taking them rather blindly under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Going through the list, it all made sense. Various aspects of my physical challenges addressed. But there was one I forgot to look up.

Fairy Lantern. Such a sweet, whimsical name. When finally I remembered, I typed it into my phone and started reading, first while standing in front of the kitchen sink, then while sitting on the counter so engrossed in what the Fairy Lantern description had to say that I couldn’t be bothered to move to another room.

I love the symbolism of the flower that never fully blooms but is much heartier than it appears.

Turns out Fairy Lantern is not about the physical but instead about the mental. It’s about avoiding growing up. I read the words thinking this is not me. I went to college, got my Master’s degree, pay my own bills, am married, hold an adult job, own my house. I’m a grown-up, damn it… Why do I need Fairy Lantern?

Then I began to think. 29 is the year I have decided I get to be a kid a little longer. I tell myself 30 is when I’ll really grow up. A little piece of me always wants to sell our house and go be bohemian vagabonds. Part of the reason I became a teacher was because I wanted to live in the world of children, to see the world through their eyes, where everything is new. I write to escape. I still dress like I fell out of an Urban Outfitters catalogue, (at least on the weekends). My blog banner is a chick I used to carry in my pocket as a child that I believed gave me super powers…

In a way, I have Peter Pan syndrome. I refuse to really grow up.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Many of those attributes are good and important to my happiness. Likewise, I have met many adults much older than I am who adamantly tell me it’s alright to never grow up, that they never did either and are happier for it. However, I have to ask myself, why is this message relevant to my life now?

I overheard a student yesterday tell her classmates she never wants to grow up. She reminded me of me. I used to say that all the time as a child. But where does that idea come from? Can’t we still be young and whimsical while embracing our desire for adult roots? That may be where I am changing the most. Suddenly I want to root myself more deeply. Sacramento is finally beginning to feel like my home instead of the place I’m constantly trying to leave.

I’m not quite childlike enough to believe that this magical little herb alone is going to change me into an adult. It is however causing me to reflect on my life and why growing up has always been such a bittersweet process. I know I’m not alone. I’m part of a generation that is taking a long time to grow up.

I always thought I’d be pleased when I began to look like an adult because I have felt so frustrated to be mistaken for a teenager well into my twenties. Now that I’m beginning to look just a little bit older I find myself oddly annoyed. Maybe I do cling to my childhood more than I realize.

I cannot help but think of Peter Pan when Tinkerbell is brought back to life by the simple request to clap your hands if you believe in fairies. My little sister would stand in front of the television and clap her hands wildly, insisting we all join her. I didn’t get the symbolism then, but I get it now. Even if I have more growing up to do, I never want to stop believing in fairies.

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3 thoughts on “Fairy Lantern & Adulthood

  1. jeffo says:

    Perhaps 30 is the new 21, which was the new 18. I’m a forty-*cough* year-old man and I still ride on the backs of shopping carts when there’s clear sailing in the parking lot. You can root yourself and grow up, yet still retain elements of the child.

  2. kingmidget says:

    What Jeffo said.

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