The realization has finally dawned on me that I pay rent. I live in a place, far from home, go to work, make money, and pay for everything I do. Isn't this what adults do? Isn't this the kind of thing we see people do, but never really expect to be doing ourselves?
When I say 'we' and 'ourselves' I mean children.
The transition from...what shall we call it? I cannot call it 'young' to 'old' because that transition is many years in the future. 'Young' to 'old' is the physical aging of the body, which is inevitable and slowly approaching. I cannot call it 'childhood' to 'adulthood' either, because I will always be a child. The world gives very poor written definitions for the word 'adult'. An adult is someone who has forgotten what it is like to see the world with the eyes of simplicity, purity, and adventure. A child experiences these things in a way so foreign and intense that it is unlike anything we know. And it is astounding that we were all children at one point. I speak of children as though they are within themselves a different species. In many ways, they are. Yet, it is as if we are born more capable and adept beings but undergo a process of devolution to end up as more internally complex, confused mammals. Watching children play and learn and live and breath is more edifying than any lecture and more enriching than any scholarly text. Whether or not it is a conscious recognition, people are drawn to and intimidated by children because of their unwitting mental and spiritual freedom.
Somewhere along the way we start to, as they say, "grow up" and forget what it is like to operate with such pure and harmless intention. How it is that we forget so completely the ways and rituals of childhood is beyond me. Yet somewhere lodged deep in the cockles of the soul are the tiny remnants of childhood, waiting to be uncovered and looked upon with warm fondness. Sadly, these occasions are too few and often overlooked.
Society has for thousands of years built itself upon the backs of adults, and the tradition continues to this present day. Even those of us who would rather die than live the life of a proper adult are forced into the yoke of mediocrity, ever struggling to maintain some form of identity and simplicity in the self-induced chaos of the modern world.
The thought of a world where one must have a credit card, debit card, and gift cards, borrowing money against themselves in order to live a proper life makes me ill and outraged. I refuse to believe that the world and its people cannot be better than this. It must still be possible to lead a simple and happy life without being a hermit in one of the few undiscovered corners of the earth.
Which leads me again to this transition...this transition from...'immature' to 'mature'? No, maturity is a state of mind. Maturity is a checklist of socially acceptable behaviors that place one in a supposed higher echelon than those who do not abide by "the checklist". Nonsense. I am still immature, as well.
This transition from 'then' to 'now' we shall call it. I was still thinking in 'then' for the past fifty days which I have spent in Seattle. Although I still feel that there is much to be realized, this has been but the first real grasping of a whole new life.
To realize that I pay rent is monumental. I have paid rent for two months. But only now am I realizing the weight that those three words, "I. Pay. Rent." really carry.
I am more entertained than anything else. It is not negative, nor is it particularly positive...simply a new angle on a subject covered many times over.
When I was a child and heard the word "rent", I thought nothing of it. When I was a whippersnapper and heard the word "rent", I thought money; no big deal. When I was a young teenager and heard the word "rent", I thought work for money for a place to live; interesting. When I was a bit of an older teenager just months ago and heard the word "rent", I panicked and thought nervously about the days to come when I too would have to shell out hundreds of my hard earned dollars to live and sleep under a roof that was somehow "mine". The subject has been covered many times over many years, but with each new experience, a new light dawns on it. This new realization is but another bulb added to the already illuminating light show.
I am a young, immature child who pays rent for a space to built a fort. What does one do with a place that so intensely reeks of adulthood? Why, build a fort in it of course. After all, that is what children do to escape the terrors of their mind...build a safe place.
It still works.