by Laura Bickle
Okay, I confess. I'm STILL not grown up. Nor do I have any plans to do so anytime in the future.
Sure, I go along with the minimum stuff required with being a responsible adult: I have a job, pay health insurance premiums, mail bills in advance, mow the lawn, and get the oil changed on the car every three thousand miles. I go to the dentist twice a year and get a tetanus shot every ten. My life is predictable and responsible and drama-free. I like it that way.
Among other things, it allows me to indulge in some non-adult interests. Like my crazy-ass Wonder Woman collection. Comic books. And the occasional video game.
Yep, I have toys. They're a reward for keeping my adult life in order. I've always had 'em, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon.
When I was little, they shaped a lot of my ideas about what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew that I was gonna do what my parents did, by and large: get up and go to work every day in a job that was gonna pay the bills. Odds were, I wasn't going to be in love with it. Growing up, I never knew anyone who loved what they did for a living. But ya gotta do something.
My child brain, though, tended to run wild with what I could be when I grew up...and here you can see the roots of fantasy beginning to grow.
I wanted to be an astronaut. Blame Astronaut Barbie. She was dressed in purple lame, included a bubble helmet, and probably had a complete life support system installed in her shoulder pads. Remember, folks, this was 1986. And don't even get me started on Space Camp.
I also wanted to be a mermaid. Remember Sea Wees? They were little mermaid dolls that came with foam lily pads. I played with 'em in the sink and in the bathtub. They had fabulous hair that could be brushed and washed, and many of them came with pets.
Princess of Power was also a perennial career choice. She-Ra had her own cartoon, magic sword, pink crystal castle, and winged horse. She got to fight evil and have adventures every week. Who wouldn't want that gig?
Real life, as always, is less exciting than fantasy. I grew up, became a budget analyst. And an IT person for a county jail. And, more recently, working in a library. And writing. There were also some interstitial jobs folding towels at Kohl's, security guarding, business analysis, taking orders in restaurants, working for the federal government, and teaching classes in sociology.
None of those jobs were as exciting as astronaut, mermaid, or Princess of Power. But they gave me the freedom to daydream on paper about what those things would have been like.