When you’re little, all you want is to grow up. To become an adult and be just like your mother/ father/ teacher, insert anyone over five feet here. But then you do grow up. Only to realize there are no adults in the world. All the tall people on the street are just scared and disoriented people who don’t have a clue about life and their purpose on earth, but act like they’ve got their shit together. They have. Otherwise, what would the kids think?
The thing is you need to be around for 30 years or more to figure out the trick. That you were conned. That there is no next level, and what’s worse, that your mom and dad are not the smartest, most wonderful people in the world. They have flaws, and it hurts so badly when you notice them at first. The feeling you get when it becomes crystal clear that the people who gave you life don’t know it all is heart-breaking and you never forget it. The teacher you adore because he always throws some funny facts around is only a startled boy who uses humour as a shield. The people in the banks, the doctors, the police officers are just like you – messed up and confused, dressed-up in their suits and uniforms for the sake of appearances. It’s all a charade and you feel trapped because you figured it all out, but can’t reveal it because it would break the order set in stone, wouldn’t it?
You begin to get the feeling that something is not quite as pictured when you’re a teenager, maybe earlier in some cases. You think you’re twisted and there must be something wrong with you. Clearly, if no one else talks about this, it must be a product of your imagination. Fitting in is so important at that age that you shove off your thoughts and think they’d pass. That you’ll be a grown-up soon and everything will feel just as it’s supposed to.
As you grow up, you start losing respect like a snake loses its skin. All the adults surrounding you are your former mates. Those who used to drink with you until morning and those with whom you devised your master cheating plan for the finals. How could you respect them as adults when you know what they used to do as kids? All of a sudden, you have no moral landmarks. No one to look up to. In horror, you discover that you are the standard now. The trouble is, you don’t feel that you’re ready. You feel like you’re suspended in time. But you keep going on, maybe there’s something more. A nudging feeling that something escapes you inexorably continues to bother you, but you’re a grown-up now, so irresponsibility is your second nature. You shove it off again, think it’ll pass. It doesn’t matter you already made that mistake years ago. Do you know anyone who learned from their mistakes, put everything in order, and went on to discover their true self? Chances are you don’t.
So you go on. Get a better job, build a career, have a kid or two. Buy all those things you don’t need, because that’s what you learned from your parents. The big house, the credits, the cars. The shiny grown-up toys you dreamed about when you were racing your toy car in your mother’s kitchen. Fail at your relationships like your parents did, all while feeling like you’re the only person in the fucking world to have those experiences. Your kids look up to you, they ask questions, and you use the same reassuring tone your parents tried with you, because what other choice is there? You can’t allow them to sense the fear, you’re scared you’ll damage them for life.
And you wait to grow up some more. You look in the mirror in the morning and see yourself the same person as always. Maybe you’ve got a couple of wrinkles, your hair may be half grey, but you think hey, there’s still time. You somehow get the feeling that life has yet to start. The feeling that you’re in rehearsals for that big show you imagined as a kid. Inside, you feel like you did when you were five, but you don’t panic, because someday you’ll grow up, it’s just a matter of time, isn’t it? It’s only when you grow old that you realise you actually missed it all in a perpetual wait that gets you near the end without getting any thrill from the race. And you start to panic, just the sort of fear you experienced when your parents left you alone for an hour when you were a kid. Because nothing ever changes. We all go through life with hypocritical masks glued on our faces. We waste all our time trying to thick all the correct boxes and failing miserably at it. We fill our days with so many meaningless tasks to forget that we know nothing. To cover insecurities, fear, and the terrible disillusionment that nothing is or feels like we expected when we were little kids lying on the grass with the face in the sun, eager to discover what life was all about.