When I’m a bit older

When I listen to my daughters chatting and playing together, the conversation always turns to what they will be able to do, “When I’m a bit older.” It reminds me of my own childhood and the innate yearning for all the exciting things that come with age.

I smile wistfully at the idea of them wishing away their childhood. The few, short years of their lives that afford them the luxury of being free from adult worries and responsibilities. When the most important decisions they have to make revolve around whether to have water melon or ice lolly for pudding on a hot, sunny day.

But when I take the time to understand what exactly they’re saying, I realise that their desire to reach a distant, undefined point in the future is no different to the way I feel as an adult.When I'm a bit older - a wistful look at the innate human yearning for a time in the future when everything will be just so. They long to be able to take control over their own destiny in the smallest of ways. Deciding what to do every day without having to compromise. Going to see family on their own without mum and dad cramping their style. Learning to drive so they can go wherever they want under their own steam.

As each year passes, they will be a bit older. They will take more control over their lives, and with that control comes responsibility. First the maturity to become accountable for their own actions, behave appropriately, dress for the occasion and be in the right place at the right time. They will be able to call the shots when it comes to bedtime, after school activities and hobbies. They can give something back to their community – if they choose to do so.

And one day, they will start to earn money. Not pocket money or little payments from us for doing chores, but a real wage. They will make up their minds what to spend it on and whether to save any. But saving won’t matter, because they’ll want to have fun. Party, travel and see the world.

Eventually they’ll want to settle down, have a career. They’ll borrow money but it won’t seem like borrowing at the time, things will just be bought on credit cards, student loans or mortgages. Paying it back will seem like something that will just happen one day.

Until a few years later, when they realise they’ve lost so much of that control they’d always dreamed of having. The freedom to do whatever they want, the travel to far flung places, the fancy meals and the fun days out. They’ll have their own responsibilities. Children, pets, a mortgage, debts, a home that they love and a yearning for an undefined time in the future.

They will smile wistfully as they listen to their children discussing what they’ll do, “When I’m a bit older.” And they’ll realise that their own hopes, dreams and aspirations have changed but they’ve never gone away. And that life has gone full circle, and it’s time to embrace their imperfect lives and love the way things have turned out.

And the world will keep on turning as the next generation dream, hope and aspire to something that is never quite within their grasp.When I'm a bit older - a wistful look at the innate human yearning for a time in the future when everything will be just so.

7 thoughts on “When I’m a bit older

  1. Agent Spitback

    Beautiful post! I have been thinking about this issue as my older children are getting closer to that magic number. While I feel their excitement at what the future may hold for them, I know there’s so much responsibility that await them as well. But I just love listening to them as they tell me their dreams and it’s almost as if I am dreaming along with them too. We can never be too adult to dream a little.
    Agent Spitback recently posted…Pass The Sauce Week 6My Profile

  2. Mim

    This is such a beautiful post lovely! Ah the world does keep turning and our daughters are becoming little ladies fast sob sob – at the same time, I can’t wait to see the woman she becomes x x

  3. Sarah MumofThree World

    What a lovely post. My kids too are full of ideas of what they will do when they’re older – the freedom to make their own decisions and spend their own money and the chance to have their own exciting careers. I hope some of their dreams come true, but the reality for most adults isn’t quite what they’d hoped as kids!
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Being kind to myselfMy Profile

  4. mummy and monkeys

    Love this post. I want to keep them kids for as long as possible, my 8 year old is forever going on about when he is older he can do this and do that. Somedays it seems to strange when you think about the fact you are now a responsible adult, i sometime still feel like a child! x

  5. Izzie Anderton

    A beautiful post. Being an adult comes with so many responsibilities doesn’t it?! I think it’s important to make the most of freedom while you still can. I’m encouraging my daughters to seek adventure when they finish university in June. They’ll be a long time grown up with all of the mixed blessings that come with it.
    Izzie Anderton recently posted…A Menopausal RantMy Profile

  6. natalie

    Ah this made me feel a little sad – time goes so fast and it scares me…my five year old often talks about when she older and I tell her the same thing my Mum told me…enjoy being a child they are the best carefree days of your life and I suppose it is only now as an adult I can appreciate what she was saying. Lovely post x

  7. Jenny - Monkey and Mouse

    It’s so true, I had always wanted to grow up and had a plan of what to do, but then responsibilities come and it’s not so easy. The most free days were those after uni, where I could flit between seasonal jobs and travel inbetween. Only I didn’t realise how free I was then! x
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