Peter Pan-ing It
I’m spending a lazy Sunday at home. After spending a good portion of last week getting intimate with my toilet, a day where I feel well and don’t have anything pressing to do is lovely. I’m knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend and watching TV on Netflix (Thanks Mom!) The gloves are just getting started but as I was working on the first row I was reminded of a conversation that M and I have frequently (I don’t know why knitting reminded me of this conversation; don’t try to figure it out, it’s futile. I’ve spent years trying and have gotten exactly no where.)
We are both of the mind that adulthood is overrated and as such we are “peter pan-ing it”, i.e. holding on to those traits that are usually seen only in children. Our goal is not perpetual childhood, far from it- we are both well acquainted with how stressful childhood can be. “Peter Pan-ing it” is more an acknowledgement that there are some things about childhood- a general lack of inhibitions, delight in the simplest things, and being unconcerned with societal expectations, to name a few- are hallmarks of childhood that disappear- are stifled- once you become an adult.
This isn’t about avoiding adulthood. As far as I know, that’s pretty much impossible. At my age I fall into the adult category, as does M. The issue is about what others perceive and about what we choose to focus on as humans.
Since I moved, multiple people have attempted to guess my age. The youngest I’ve gotten is 18 and the oldest is 24. Even the oldest is several years off the mark. M experiences the same thing and we’ve come up with a few examples as to why this might happen. All of the examples bolster each other and it’s probably the combination of them that produces the miscalculation of our ages.
Example #1- We both have short hair. Based on my experience the other night of being in a PACKED bar (a story for another day) and seeing no other women with short hair, it seems that short hair is so anomalous that most people see it and are more apt to think of children than the person simply having a preference for short hair.
Example #2- We’re both short. She is slightly taller than I at 5′ 3″ but both of us are short.
Example #3- We both laugh out loud. We’re talking heads thrown back, mouth open, entire body in it laughter. Oddly enough, this is a trait that is commented on quite frequently for both of us. “Free” is the word I hear most often when I laugh and someone makes a comment.
Example #4- Neither of us gives a damn what others think. We dress how we want, we wear very little makeup, we do what we want, regardless of trends and expectations.
Example #5- Our pupils are larger than most. This one is a bit weird but various studies have shown that perception of innocence is influenced by the size of the pupils. If you were unaware, innocence is rarely associated with adults. I’ve had optometrists get excited because they could look at my corneas without having to dilate my eyes (It was cool for me too; I got to see all of the little veins in my eyes. It was oddly beautiful.)
It seems that all of these things combined result in a perception of youth. It’s true that the examples above are more often associated with a person who hasn’t “seen things” or had many “experiences.” It’s said that we should hold onto these traits- we should do and wear whatever we want, regardless of what society has deemed “correct.” Why is it acknowledged that this is what we should do but we don’t do it because it’s even more important to fit in? That’s not a rhetorical question; I would really like to know because I do not understand. I mean, let’s think about this: both M and I are fast approaching 30. No one thinks we are past our mid twenties. Have we stumbled onto the fountain of youth that everyone thinks comes in a bottle and costs $300? Neither of us uses anything labeled “anti-aging” or had botox injected (Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks that injecting poison, no matter how “weakened” it is, into your body is a bad thing.) into our faces so it’s not an artificial thing.
If all it takes is ignoring the “rules” to achieve a youthful countenance, why is the “anti-aging” category in the beauty industry so huge? Why are studies done and articles written about how truly doing what you want, without regard for the expectations of others, is healthier and makes you happier but no one follows that advice? For fuck’s sake, there’s an entire philosophy that is founded on the ideal of living authentically! And if I am willing to acknowledge that there might be some philosophical ideals that actually have some merit, you know theres something to this theory.
In the end, few people who could benefit from this knowledge are actually reading my blog. They’re all too busy buying the next miracle cream, reading about the latest fashion trends, and paying handsomely to have poison injected into their faces in an effort to stave off the inevitable. Because in the end, aging is inevitable, wrinkles are inevitable, sagging, hair loss, unwelcome hair growth, CHANGE- it’s all inevitable. Trying to prevent it is as productive as trying to teach me how to drive. It’s a no- win proposition, folks. I’m going to keep on peter pan-ing it and when I’m 80 perhaps I’ll be mistaken for 40. Ironically enough, I’m as worried about aging as I am about the rising gas prices.