Friday, March 22, 2013

Thinking like a grown-up

The other day I watched Peter Pan. It's been years since I've watched this movie all the way through. Once I accepted that gravity was more powerful than my faith that I could fly (good thing couches are soft landing pads), this movie lost its appeal. I stopped watching it long before I stopped watching a lot of the princess movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

So, naturally, when I watched Peter Pan last weekend, it was almost like I was watching it for the first time. Readers of this blog know how my Disney-movie watching changes as I get older. (See this post. And this one.) There was one thing about Peter Pan that stuck out to me above everything else: Wendy's distress at being kicked out of the nursery.

Seriously? That was Wendy's "punishment" for corrupting her little brothers' minds with tales of pirates and sword fighting? Why wouldn't Wendy want to have her own space? And why did Wendy, John, and Michael act like this punishment was the end of the world? Seriously, guys, as far as horrible punishments go, this one doesn't even count.

I was about to dismiss this scene to Disney cheesiness when a small window of understanding opened up. I suddenly remembered very clearly how I reacted to this scene when I was a little girl: exactly the same. It brought me real, physical pain to think of Wendy leaving her blocks and toys, her canopy bed, and--most importantly--the safety of the nursery to move into a big, scary room all by herself. I thought of my stuffed animals that took up more space in my bed than I did and wondered if I might ever have to give all that up. I thought of my siblings and wondered if there would ever be a time that we wouldn't get to play with each other anymore. If growing up meant saying good-bye to all of this, then it really was the end of the world.

I had another, similar realization as I was reading Matched, by Ally Condie. I have always loved young adult novels. My top five favorite books of all time (if you count Harry Potter as one book) are all in the YA category. But despite the fact that I've been wanting to read this book for a few years, I just haven't been able to get into it. At one point I think I would have been able to root for Cassia's forbidden love, but now it's clear to me that she's risking the lives of everyone she loves for feelings that are real in the moment, but may not last forever.

And then it hit me. I think like an adult now, not a teenager or a child. Sure, I still act like a child all the time, especially when I'm around my siblings, but I've forgotten how to think like one. I'm not sure when that happened, but it makes me a little sad that I've crossed another milestone into adulthood.


  1. I know what you mean. That's happened to me as we've been reading Harry Potter. Some of the things that used to upset me or get me really mad, I just think are funny because teenagers overreact to everything. You should read Peter Pan sometime, it's pretty interesting. The tone is very different from the movie.

  2. I plan to read Peter Pan some time this year. It's been on my to-read list for a while.

  3. It makes me a little sad too, Pal. It's a good thing it happens gradually.

  4. Tyrel is feeling this exact feeling as he turns 21 today. He says "Great minds think alike!"

  5. I was actually just thinking about this yesterday. I have journals from when I was a little kid swearing I would never think like an adult. I guess I failed that :)

  6. But still, thinking like an adult is a good thing. Sometimes I look back on my teenage years and I'm glad I am past that way of thinking. I used to be SO concerned about EVERY LITTLE THING I assumed people were thinking about me. Thinking like a grown up is kind of like thinking like your actual self. You've shed all those layers that weren't quite you and the real you has emerged. It's a good thing.
    Also - I felt the same way about Matched. Meh. Made me feel too much like I was in high school again. A little too overdramatic and predictable.

  7. Tiff--I really like what you said about how thinking like a grown up is like thinking like your actual self. I'm going to have to remember that.