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As a teenager I heard the saying 'growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.'
I pretended to understand (whilst secretly thinking I'll never get to that age!)
Summer holidays would stretch on for what seemed like eternity and reaching 18 or 21 just seemed silly. But now it's all speeding up like a hurtling train and I want to say, 'Hey Stop! Let me pause for a minute!'
Enter the world of #adultbaby!
Often known as Generation Big or Generation Rent, these are people who can't quite make the move to become a fully-fledged adult. They love playing. They don't have a pension plan. And the word responsibility is slightly foreign to them.
At first being an adult baby shocked me, surely I was alone in my dreamy cloud of infantile thoughts? But after studying the statistics I realised there are a quite a few out there and its now more common place.
Here are my top ten reasons you might be on the Peter Pan side...
Responsibilities. Adult babies do not like to feel accountable. They think nothing of getting an Uber to Wholefoods, then spending a whole afternoon on social media. They're often not good at paying bills, arranging meetings and making long term plans. The advantage to this is pretty good. Everything goes on direct debit, meetings are held in quirky cafes, whilst a life plan goes as far as the weekend (spontaneous beach trip anyone?) Adult babies in this sense are pretty organised at being disorganised!
They've got spare cash because of their living arrangements. A 2014 ONS study showed that 25% of under 30's still live at home with their parents. This could be seen as unpleasant due to unemployment records and difficulties getting on the property ladder (current age 41 in London) but a lot of adult babies actually enjoy living in the family home. A close friend of mine has her own bathroom and bedroom, and as she told me she could find a grotty room in zone 3 for £800 or save the money and swallow the dignity. Fair deal!
They don't get stressed. Mainly because they can't be bothered to but stress and worry is a huge no-no for adult babies. If they don't like something they'll do the classic toddler thing and ignore it, or literally just throw their toys out of the pram and then move swiftly on.
Buddhist Ajahn Brahm say's a problem is only a problem if it doesn't have a solution. And if you can't control a solution then you have to relax, let go and move forward. Adult babies (like real babies and dogs) instantly forgive and always think of the next positive playtime.
They have magpie eyes. Sparkly things. Iphones. Cute animals and generally anything that stimulates the mind are liked by adult babies. Therefore they're good for society because they're consuming. And because they're consuming, they're having fun and enjoying the simple pleasures of life, win-win situation!
They don't worry about relationships. When you meet the soulmate of your dreams and are blown into the stratosphere of love, it can become natural to think your two minds are one. Therefore when they do something that doesn't quite par on your level, it can leave you quite annoyed- as they should know you by now (shouldn't they?) It all boils down to the same thing, you cannot own a person, you can only love them and in return accept their love. Time doesn't make them 'yours,' and trying to convince them can often not bring the desired effect. Adult babies know this and aren't worried too much if things don't work out. There is always light at the end of the tunnel and plenty of fish in the sea.
Fashion. As an adult baby you always like to look good. This may involve wearing a tulle ballgown and vintage heels to get a pint of milk, but you do it for you and because you love to have fun with colour and clothes!
I've met some fantastic interesting people when we're all dressed up with nowhere to go- Green sparkly turban anyone?
Adult babies are actually ambitious. Although they don't do things conventionally, like making sure they hit 'essential' milestones along they way, it doesn't mean they don't have dreams, goals and ambitions. So much so, that they would sacrifice the usual route to reach them. A lot of adult babies are self-employed as they can't handle the fulltime madness of a 'proper' job whilst 'throwing caution to the wind' is one of their favourite phrases.
They don't get embarrassed. They dance like no one's watching. I'm not talking about doing the Moulin Rouge on the Bakerloo line, but they don't care too much what other people think. There is a true psychology that if we do what we love and with passion, then it really doesn't matter if others look on in disapproval. If we all did things to please society we would not be living in truth of ourselves. Of course it is natural to feel frightened of jumping into something new or unknown, but adult babies think of the consequences later ('all good writing material' I coin it if it goes wrong!)
Excitement. Adult babies do not like to be bored. They like to draw, colour in and get the pen all over their face. In more modern times they like to feel exhilarated, and rather than the unknown being a huge threat, they like to look at it with glee. Sometimes they'll do random stuff just to see what it feels like. They are always quizzing life but never quizzical.
We know we've got time. In 1970 the official statistics of men getting married was 24 and women 22. Most people had bought a house by the time they were 28 and women were thought to be getting on a bit if they had a child later than 24. Now women are putting off having children well into their 40s (check out Caprice who looks great with her little clan). We are also living in times of sink and swim. People who are in their fifties are designing million pound apps or a busy mother is bringing out a successful youtube channel. We're not living conventionally anymore therefore our priorities aren't.
Live on adult babies! Who said youth was wasted on the young!