I’m an adult, but I’m still afraid of the dark and can’t sleep without a light on. Whenever the light goes out in the subway, even for just a minute, I can’t quite breathe until it comes back on. I also still hold my breath when I drive through a tunnel or over a bridge, because I can never remember which one gets you a wish so I do both, just in case. I still make wishes regularly throughout the day, spreading them like seeds and hoping one of them blooms into anything. I wish on eyelashes, all kinds of candles and almost every time that repeats its number. Most people find it socially acceptable to wish on 11:11, but I even wish on both 11:11s (making one a technical 23:11 in military time), 1:11, 2:22 and so on. I used to wish on 12:12, but that made my friends angry — as they swore I was “cheating the system” — so I stopped. I would wish on four-leaf clovers, but I’ve never found one. That doesn’t stop me from looking. I’m an adult, but I’ll never stop looking for opportunities to wonder and be awed by the things I don’t know, the world underneath the one I take for granted as real.
I’m an adult, but I still secretly believe in magic — that if I stare at the light hard enough it will turn green or that I can cast spells by wiggling my nose. When my train stopped today, I waited patiently for 10 or so minutes before I took matters into my own hands. I wiggled my nose two and a half times before the train started moving. I knew that, technically, I didn’t make the train go with the beating of my nostrils, but it still felt good. It felt good to believe. I’m an adult, but I still believe in the power of lunch and recess, that a break for afternoon playtime can be the pinnacle of your day — except that my recess now involves an unwise number of martinis before I have to go back and examine Excel spreadsheets for two hours. I still have a hard time coloring inside of the lines in coloring books, except that now I can say it’s “artistic.” I like to play hide and seek and to blow bubbles, always naively hoping I will catch one of them and that it will rest on my hand like a transient firefly about to burst into fragments of light.
I’m an adult, but I still fantasize about what I’m going to be when I grow up, what my house is going to look like and what my kids are going to look like. I think about what my husband’s face will look like, if that face will be Anderson Cooper’s and whether he will pull in the driveway in a controvertible or a hovercar powered by the dreams of children. We’ll have a pool boy named Bruno that both of us have extra-martial affairs with, and our Barbie dream mansion will be Peptobismol pink with lots of chandeliers — but not extravagant chandeliers. We’ll be totally down to earth and eco-friendly. Anderson and I will compost. I’m an adult, but I want children because I still feel sometimes like I relate to them best — to their simple desires to be kissed and held and their still-belief that love really can heal all your wounds. Sometimes, my bruises still need to be kissed, and I need someone to show me the way butterflies and Eskimos kiss, because it reminds me that all humans and creatures need to give and receive love, because it reminds me that we come from the same place, and I still like it when people blow me kisses. Kisses prove that love is lighter than air.
Kisses prove that love can fly, and there’s always someone there to catch that love if it lands.
I’m an adult, but I haven’t totally stopped believing in silly concepts like “soulmate” and “one true love,” even if almost every fiber of my common sense tells me I’m being ridiculous. And I probably have a lot of soulmates and true loves, won’t meet a lot of them and many of them will be my close friends, but I need to believe that someone out there was created for me and I for them, that our hearts share a connection beyond words or what is explainable, that there is something in them that fits together with something in me. I want to believe that love is the puzzle, and we are the pieces. I’m an adult, but I don’t want to ever “grow up,” not all the way, and would rather grow old while my heart is still bursting like a ripe peach, one with a pit that can never be eaten. But I don’t think you have to grow up, and we don’t have to make a choice between our child and adult selves or stop appreciating things that were once important to us; getting older and maturing doesn’t mean giving up on the ideals of your childhood. I’ve always heard that childhood ends with losing your innocence, but it doesn’t have to be so sad, like a piece of fruit falling from a tree. Adulthood can be filled with joy. Adulthood can be like falling up. I’m an adult, but I’ll always be the same kid on the inside, proudly so.