Friday, June 22, 2007

Growing up is optional

"Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional!"

There is a lot of talk about "men" and "boys", and "woman" and "girl".
What is the difference? The most obvious answer notwithstanding, I want
to question the fact that we ever grow up.

When I was a young "boy" I used to love reading comics. And I knew that
grown ups don't read comics, so I resolved to myself that once I start
making enough money to rent or buy all the comics I want, I will never
stop reading comics. Of course, that didn't hold up, not entirely. I
still read comics, Archies mostly, but I read more novels than comics.
Novels and other books. Is that growing up or just a channge in taste?

Boys don't like to do their homework, more focus is on playing. Or in
today's context, watching TV. Grown ups? Don't they settle down on the
couch with the remote as soon after getting home from work as possible?
Don't they wait for the weekend eagerly so they can play?

Look at these differences carefully between boys and men and see what
you can spot.

A boy is very disappointed when something goes wrong or he doesn't get
what he wants. A man is also disappointed but not that much. He deals a
little easier with the losses. He knows that losses are a part of life.

A boy asks too many questions about everything he sees or hears about. A
man makes peace with his ignorance. His questions are not that many. He
is always afraid his question might be considered a stupid question. A
boy has no such restraint to hold him back.

A boy is impatient, a man, yes, but he learns not to express it.

A boy says what he wants, a man is more diplomatic, expressing things he
doesn't feel and saying things he doesn't mean.

"Wow-eee!" is an oft-used term in a boy's vocabulary, not so in a man.

A boy's affections are steadfast and very intense. Same with his hatred.
A man's feelings are more tempered, he has seen things change over time.
He has learned that feelings change, people change and nothing is worth
attaching his heart to.

A boy cries, often openly, when he suffers a loss or pain. A man learns
to hide his tears, his experience with pain has taught him to deal with
it. He has become a little numb over time.

A boy plays with toys, a man with different toys. (New car, new
computer, new mobile...?)

A man can never laugh the carefree laughter of a boy.

As I see, the change from boy to man is that he is moderated. The sense
of wonder and curiosity is diluted, the capacity to feel immense joy is
lost, the capacity to endure pain is more, honesty is moderated by
prudence, impulse is curbed by fear....

Even though, having attained the "Grown-up" age, I have never felt that
I have become a grown-up. I have changed. Yes! Grown up? No! The world
is still a place full of wonders, I want to know as much as I can, I am
never afraid of asking questions and making a fool of myself. But yes,
pain has come and gone, and I have learnt to deal with it. I have learnt
many things from life. And that is part of my experience. As I grow
older, I will acquire more experience, more knowledge, but is that a
reason to grow up? I think not!

I can't help growing old with the rest of the world, but considering
that growing up is optional, I never plan to grow up! :-)

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