Don't wanna grow up? Want to run as far and as fast as you can from a world of minivans, Icy Hot and socks with sandals? Would you rather dig out your old Wrestling Buddy than whittle? Does a game of freeze tag sound more fun than canning preserves (well, I know that canning stuff is in now, but whatever)?
Well, then, you are in luck because thanks to an ever-growing number of activities catering to the Peter Pan generation, you officially never have to grow up!
From adult kickball leagues to adult-sized onesies (complete with '80s cartoon of choice), adults are offered a slew of products and activities to keep them from remembering they go "oof" when they get out of a chair now. It seems that whatever kids can do, we can do better.
All the wonders of youth are still here for those of us who already achieved the rise and fall of a credit history. Intelligent adults with master's degrees can forget their troubles at work during a game of ultimate frisbee. Nintendo games on the smartphone, Nickelodeon shows on Netflix, blinged-out big wheels and adult roller skating nights ... it all points to a future that is rooted in being young at heart.
I, for one, do not mind this at all. Anything that helps me forget that I may someday be wearing mom jeans is welcome.
Of course, adults should be responsible, pay their bills, work, and not fall victim to the trappings of immaturity. It's one thing to haul out your old Barbies with your girlfriends and act out your various relationship problems using a one-armed Ken, but it's another to blow your student loan money on a vintage limited-edition Dream House when the apartment you are living in is more of a nightmare. You can delve into the beloved memories of youth, but remember that back in the real world, you still have to take care of business.
I recently took part in another activity meant more for fourth-graders than fourth-year grad students: a spelling bee. After hearing about the success of adult spelling bees in Cleveland, a friend decided to organize one at a local cafe, complete with goofy prizes and silly outfits. Adults more used to spelling in text-speak (OMG is now in the Oxford English dictionary?) put their hair in pigtails or slap on their best bow tie and squeeze into those sadistic chair-desks and try to remember how to spell "photosynthesis."
As a former McGuffey Elementary School fourth-grade champion, I was quick to volunteer. I was up against former champions from Warren and Sharon, Pa., elementary schools, plus random people who doubted their spelling skills.
The moderator looked more like Hugh Hefner than my school principal, with a dapper suit and snifter of Diet Coke. A bottle of tequila was set out as bait to sabotage rival contestants' razor-sharp focus.
Round one eliminated people I respect as fellow English majors and journalists, but who succumbed to nerves. My word was "quartz," and I got to ask for it a sentence to be sure it was not the unit of measure.
Round two pared the contestants down to three. And round three well, since I don't drink coffee, not being able to spell "decaffeinate" did not exactly break my heart.
I came in third place, and went home with a back copy of GQ and some leftover Mardi Gras beads.
It was fun, semi-educational, relatively innocuous and for an hour or so, I remembered the simple joys of being 9 again. Keep an eye out for more local adult spelling bees in the future. It may just stave off growing up a little longer.