… on growing up, and *really* growing up


Cinderella and the Prince ( I think the glass slipper is gonna fit)

When Will I Grow Up?

“When will I grow up?”
She asked of the sky
And the sky gazed down
“Oh, my dear child, why?”

“When will I grow up?”
She asked of the earth
And the earth asked her
“Child, what is that worth?”

“When will I grow up?”
She asked of the wind
Who blew and whistled
And sounded chagrined.

“When will I grow up?”
She asked of the sea
And the waves rose up
“Child, listen to me.”

“The essence, the gifts
Wonder, joy, and love
Are granted at birth
From the angels above.”

The sky whispered then,
“Too many believe
They must shed these gifts
To grow up, that’s naive.”

The earth spoke to her
“My child, you see
These gifts are forever
And these gifts are the key.”

“To shed them is not
Growing up.” breathed the wind
“For the wisdom is given
To the child within.”

– Lisa Dingle


Like for dramatic effect.


Some may read this as me not wanting to ‘grow up’.

Okay, some days, I really don’t. I want someone to bring me my blanky and leave me alone.  Also, I want to eat Lucky Charms.

A lot of them.

But, in fact, I have found that the essences of life – unfettered wonder, joy, and love (and the belief in infinite possibilities, and maybe a little magic) – are often seen as articles to shed in the real world, in the interest of ‘growing up’.

How many times have you heard a ‘grown-up’ lament that there is no such thing as a soul mate…

Or a perfect day…

Or a miracle.

As we humans move beyond childhood, we all have to try to figure out what ‘grown-up’ means.

Many, many of us believe that ‘serious’ and ‘responsible’ and ‘mature’ are synonyms for ‘grown-up’ (Important note from legal department: This is an opinion, as I have been unable to get a google result for ‘synonym for grown-up’ to yield the words ‘serious’ or ‘responsible’ or ‘mature’. Okay I lied. ‘Mature’ came up. But definitely not ‘serious’ or ‘responsible’).

But my point is that we begin to forget the gifts given to us as children.

We’re busy.

We’re focused.

We just don’t have time…

To cultivate joy.

But then, if we’re lucky, we really grow up.

We refocus.

We start to get what is important.

And we return, albeit with some context, to what was important way back when we were little.

To the wonder of life.

We know now how brief our time on this spinning sphere is.

And what an amazing gift it has been to be here, even considering the times we may have thought we wouldn’t make it through.

When we really grow up, we begin to appreciate our fellow passengers.

And not only the ones we enjoyed spending time with, but also those around us who drove us crazy while we were going to school, or raising kids, or building a career, or just trying to make it through a day.

The pain in the ass neighbors and co-workers.

The guy at town meeting who wouldn’t shut up




An ex-lover.

A friend who drifted away.

We realize how important these people have been in, and to, our lives.

Sure, it’s easy to chalk that feeling up as simple nostalgia.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I think it’s light dawning… shining into shadowed places and spaces. Making it possible for us to notice, and remember.

And when we really grow up, we know that love, in all its forms, is precious.  And we know then that it is worth cultivating, and savoring.

And working to save if it’s in trouble.

When we were little, before we grew up, everyone was our friend.

Remember that?

We introduced every other little kid we knew as, “This is my friend.”

Hell, we did it even when we didn’t know the other kid’s name.

We were open to the potential of a great friend in every person.

When we were little, we expected love. And accepted it.

And we gave it too.  Unconditionally.

We looked at everything, from rain and snow and dogs and hamsters, to sand and brightly colored plastic alphabet letters on the refrigerator, with wonder.

Joy was a given.

Just listen to a baby laugh.

I offer the theory that, when we are little, we are closer to the gifts of wonder and love and joy.  Because we were born with them.

They are shiny, and new.

And as we grow, we often set them aside, in the interest of becoming ‘grown-ups’.  Like old toys, when new ones appear.

But then, when we really grow up, we remember how great those first gifts were.

How happy they made us.

And we seek them out.

Dust them off.

Spend time with them.




And we decide they are important, and timeless.

They are classic.

These are the gifts given to us when we come into the world.

And, I think, the only ones we get to take with us when we leave.

So what’s the dang poem about?

Well, I suppose it’s trying to make the point that growing up is one thing.

Really growing up, however, is quite another.

So here’s to the grown ups…

The real ones.

 Thanks for readin’.

 As always, you can come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment or just hang out.
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