Saturday, December 20, 2008

Puer Aeternus

There is a strange fear about growing up. When I was five, grown up was a ten year old, and when I was ten, grown up was anyone over eighteen. To the high school student, college is scary, but to the college student, working a salary job might be considered scary. There is always a greater step to take or a more monumental accomplishment waiting to be fulfilled.

Time plays a large role in growing up. While the days pass on by at a regular rate of 24 hours/day, we sometimes wish that time would slow down or speed up at our own whim. Even sillier than wishing time to change for our desires is the idea that we are to be eternally young. Being eternally young sounds fun. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I wish my biggest concern would be to figure out how to color coordinate my legos instead of figuring out how to take out a loan to pay for college. It might even be easier to believe that the opposite gender still had cooties instead of having to break the heart of someone you have foolishly led on.

However, in growing up we obtain maturity and knowledge. The Apostle Paul urges the Christian to go past milk and consume spiritual meat. Modern Christian authors are always encouraging Christians to live past the basics and to do things that stretch their character and comfort zone. An 16 year old athlete trains harder than a 5 year old gymnast and the former pushes his or her body to the limit. Students must constantly push their mind at an increasing rate. And so in growing up, we see that there is a process and a maturity. We cannot be Peter Pan who believes that it is easier to be ‘Puer Aeternus (eternally young).’ We cannot be the 5 year old who fears failure so much that he does not dare to move past simple mathematics. And so we find that when we get to college, we certainly cannot be the student who fears the real world after graduation and fears taking risk and opportunity. Do hard things and learn new things. Watch those who have gone ahead of you and teach the younger generation. Grow up, but don’t take life too seriously. While it may be permissible to fear the challenge ahead of us at any stage of life, we must always be ready to embrace not just new opportunity, but the failing that often comes with growing up.


mel g said...

besides, they make bandaids in all kinds of pretty colors now.
enjoyed this. can we hang?

Christopher said...

Didn't we already pinky promise that we will? Our family drove through Livermore on the way home from Scott's graduation. :)

Janice said...

Thanks for this thoughtful reflection on growing up. It is timely advice for a person growing up at any age. I find the steps keep getting steeper but the blessings increasingly bigger and more appreciated.