One day when… by Carike Claassen

How do you know that you’re a grown up? When I was little, a lot of what I thought being grown up would be like was contained within that universal sigh: “One day when I’m a grown up…” The end of that sentence seemed to differ every week: “One day when I’m a grown up, I’m going to be a famous writer. I’m going to own a house with a huge back yard and adopt as many stray dogs as that yard can take. I’m going to travel the world digging up dinosaur fossils. I’m going to dress however I want!”

Cut to 2013 and I haven’t accomplished any of that. I’m not a famous writer, I don’t have 50 dogs, and I’m always just a little too shy and scared to dress as the backpack-world-traveler-boho-chic-rebel-girl I once thought I would become. Am I a grown up yet?

Lately, a sneaking suspicion has been taking hold of me: that becoming a grown-up entails saying goodbye to all the fanciful childhood dreams you once had. Kissing the intrepid global explorer goodbye and finally laying her to rest right next to the writer and animal rights activist who also succumbed along the way. Finally getting sober about mortgages and responsibilities and accepting the fact that sometimes, honouring those responsibilities means doing something you hadn’t necessarily envisioned earlier.

Until last week. Because last week, I made shake pizza from a children’s recipe book. I took up a sealed container with flour, oil and salt inside and started shaking, until the soft sibilant sounds of flour shaking up against the plastic container gradually became the dull thud of dough. Opened it up to find that – indeed! – the raw ingredients had magically been transformed into pizza dough. I got my hands all oily as I gleefully spread the dough out onto a baking tray and topped it with cheese. And I realized that, yes, a part of me still hasn’t quite grown up. Thankfully.

A part of me still can see the grown up I once dreamed of becoming. I just have to allow her to come out and play a bit more often. And if that means shaking up a pizza every week, then so be it.

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