Around the year 2000, the world started to seem like a very dark place, for more than one reason. After starting middle school, I had to deal with kids who were much worse than anything I ever faced previously, and the teachers and other authority figures refused to do anything, even though their actions were flagrantly defiant of school rules; my mom started a daycare in her own house, and I was shocked to see little kids uttering unfit-for-TV profanities, not to mention the serious immaturity of some of the parents; family problems became much worse, in more than one way; and, all in all, I was much less happy both during and after that time, because I just didn't care for what the world had to offer. It wasn't that elementary school was perfect--it wasn't--but, the problems I faced back then were generally rectified in a much easier way.
In the years since Y2K, while others around me seem to have grown up, I'm twenty-seven years old...but I still feel like a kid. It's more than just my entertainment diet, though that does consist of many kid shows, and not just ones from the Disney Channel. Rather, I simply don't feel like a young adult; though I graduated from high school nearly a decade ago, I feel like I should still be in school. In fact, you've probably seen or heard me talk about incidents from ages ago in such detail, it sounds as if they happened last week.
My condition falls into the category of "developmental delays"; for those who don't know, that pretty much means that you're behind in some way--in my case, socially--for your age. Just like with everyone else, development--of any kind--happens in its own time, but, in my situation, the literature says "late could be by several decades." When I was nineteen, my mom told me I acted like I was nine; in the eight years since, I don't seem to have progressed all that much. Sure, I've become much more introspective, and I've done great things like doing away with the celebrity crushes...but, I'm still very much a kid at heart.
Sometimes, I feel like being an adult is overrated. When most people think of maturity, they think of adults, but, in this day and age, "grown-ups" can be anything but mature. I've known too many grown men and women who acted like they were in middle school. In fact, I sometimes think that elementary schoolers are actually more mature than older kids; when I was in sixth grade, I was good friends with two brothers--one in fourth grade, the other in third--who were not only smart kids, but much more mature than my middle school classmates.
More to the point: You probably know someone who is commonly thought to be older or younger than he/she truly is. Some of that is because of physical appearance, but it's also due to how one comports himself/herself. I sometimes wonder if people think I'm younger than I truly am because of my love for kid-friendly media, such as superhero cartoons and "tween" sitcoms. That is what I like, but it's not exactly the most popular thing with my age group.
At a certain time in every kid's life--usually around the time they start middle school--they put supposedly "childish" things behind them and attempt to be adults, even though they're quite far from true adulthood. That actually never happened with me, though; when I started sixth grade, I was a die-hard fan of Scooby-Doo and Pokémon, two franchises which were made with children in mind. Though I did know some kids who liked one or both of those, most of my sixth grade classmates either despised "those meddling kids" and those pocket monsters from the start of the year, or liked one or both at the start of the year only to give it up well before summer break started. My childish tastes continued in high school, when I was known as the Disney Channel guy, for good or for ill, by pretty much anyone who knew me. It's still the case, and not just with the Mouse network; I still enjoy many of the things I did when I was in elementary school, including not only Scooby-Doo, but Power Rangers as well. I find that I can't deal with most secular non-kiddie entertainment; it either upsets me or bores me. The only exception is old-school sitcoms, and even many of the ones I like or have liked had episodes I didn't care for due to their subject matter.
One of the reasons elementary school seems as idyllic as it does is because, back then, people were expected to own up for their mistakes. Back then, if any kids said or did the wrong thing, there usually were consequences of some sort...but, from middle school onward, when my feelings were hurt by others, I was just expected to suck it up and move on...which is something I've never been comfortable with. Seriously, no one deserves to be essentially bullied or harassed, but it's happened to me for ages, and no one seems to care; why can't someone take people to task for being jerks?
If you grew up in the '90's like I did--or even if you didn't--you probably have seen Casper, the big-screen remake of the old-school "friendly ghost" cartoon. It's kind of a depressing movie to me now, because it's all about death, and, over the past decade or so, I've learned that such a thing is no joke. Anyway, one scene I remember is when main villainess Carrigan Crittenden, who inadvertently caused her own demise and came back as a ghost, is vanquished by the film's heroes Kat and Casper through trickery. When they tell her that the only reason she is a ghost is because she has "unfinished business," she denies it...and immediately begins to "cross over" into...well, what seems to be the afterlife. That film has some serious spiritual issues, but, the reason I mention it is because I feel like part of why I still feel like a kid is because of my unfinished business. In my younger years, I messed up a lot of things; I had potential to do much more than I actually did, especially in school. I also missed out on quite a bit of good entertainment because of dumb rules I had about what I would and wouldn't watch, read, listen to, or play. That's why I've spent much of the past few years playing catch-up; if it weren't for modern technology--season sets on DVD, the iTunes Store, our Verizon DVR, etc.--I'd still be missing out on such media.
Here is my concluding point: Jesus was known for caring for and praising children. In Matthew 11:25, He said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden
these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." Most people would think that Biblical concepts are too difficult for kids to understand, but, when it comes to the really important ones, they could really comprehend them just fine. What I wonder is: When the Bible talks praises children...is that including adults who, for one reason or another, think like children? I've been praised for my knowledge of the Bible and my dedication to morality; maybe other people should try digging into the Word instead of trying to defend everything they do, because it's not really that hard to understand.