Peter Pan I Am

While I like my job well enough one of the greatest disadvantages is that I am constantly stuck in a world of employees between the ages of 16 and 22.  When I first became a manager this was great, and for a few years I made a lot of friends and had a lot of fun working with people my own age.  Unfortunately, as the years went on, my crew left for school or other jobs.  Every summer we have an influx of new, young employees, often starting their first job with us.  I am no longer seen as one of their peers, but as an adult, an authority figure, a boss.  Don’t get me wrong, our current crew of young employees is great and I enjoy working with them a great deal.  They are hard workers and make my job much easier, and for that I am grateful but the sad realization is that these kids, yes, kids, will never be my friends as we clearly are not peers.  I listen to them talk and I hear the same conversations I was having with my friends ten or fifteen years ago.  For 48 hours a week I am surrounded by a group of perpetual high school seniors and young college students.  This often makes me feel like Peter Pan and his group of Lost Boys who refuse to grow up.

It’s no secret that I have had a hard time accepting not being a kid anymore.  While I have always been a serious, often time stoic person, I truly did enjoy being a teenager and it has been a difficult transition into adulthood, even now, at 32 years old.  While physically I can not do all the things I used to enjoy, I still have the desire to play sports and do a lot of the other youthful things I used to enjoy so much.  It’s not that I can’t play basketball or go to a concert, but it’s clearly a different feel now than it was ten years ago.  I look around at the kids who are going to concerts and playing sports at the park and I realize that I am much too old to join them.  Granted, 32 is not that old, but I have friends who are getting married, having children, even getting divorced already, and I am yearning to play a pick up game in the park.  It’s hard sometimes to be in this state.  I know I’m an adult, I feel like an adult, and I want all those adult things as well but I almost feel like if I were to get those adult things, I would have to say good-bye entirely to my youth.  I have complained too many times about getting older day by day and not having someone to share my time with.  I don’t want to go much longer without having the chance to have a few good times with someone, like going on a date to the movies or going bowling before I really look like an old man.

I realized the other day that I have lost contact with almost all of my former employees whom I once considered my friends.  Of course, they have moved on, grown up, and forgotten about me.  It’s not their fault that we lost touch.  I should have been more active in staying in their lives, but instead I let them all slip away and I am left now with only a small circle of friends who still live close by.  I have to be careful with them as they too may move away someday and then I will really be in trouble.  I made an effort to contact two of my old friends from work and we went out for drinks last week.  It felt good to see them and I enjoyed talking to them, but I was worried too much time had passed between us that there would be too much to catch up on and I would be lost.  Thankfully, we had a good time and it felt good to talk with them.  It’s a little scary to hear them talk about having kids someday, but I guess that’s how life goes.

I actually played a part, Mr. Darling, in my 4th grade production of Peter Pan.  Yes, my one and only acting experience.  I imagine the VHS footage of that will be worth something someday.  I guess the point is, I have always had that “I don’t wanna grow up” attitude and I am struggling to find a balance in my life today where I can still feel youthful and be an adult at the same time.  I’ve been spending the last month or so working on that but I am not sure if I have been successful or not.  I have done a few things, but for the most part, I find when I wake up I am still the same person day after day.

I guess in part I felt that if I were able to convince Sara to go out with me I would have a chance to live that youthful experience just a bit while still being an adult.  She is still in her 20’s so I thought she and I would get along great.  I get the sense that she too is trying to hold onto her youth while still being an adult.

The question now is, what am I really trying to do?  Are the changes I am trying to make an effort to remain youthful or push myself ahead into adulthood?  I don’t really have a good answer for that as it could really be a combination of both.  Ultimately, it’s not about growing up or staying youthful, it’s about being happy with who I am and what I have.  This is the challenge I have set for myself.  Now I have to figure out if I can pull it off.  Will I find happiness in who I am, or will I stay Peter Pan forever?

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~ by James on October 30, 2013.

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