When Are You Going To Grow Up?

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Each July I find myself in the Gulf of Mexico with my family bay scalloping.

What is bay scalloping you might ask? Well, obviously it’s how one obtains scallops for their snazzy little seafood dishes. But more transparently, you are out in the water. Swimming with a snorkel and mask. Looking for them. It’s like an adult game of “Where’s Waldo” but Waldo is a tasty little treat. Honestly, it is so meditative and calming that you can easily get a second-degree burn on your backside as you become one with the water, mermaid style, never wanting to return to life on land.

But when you do return to land, you remember that you are having this experience with your family. Not just any family, but your “Central Florida Folk” side. A side filled with hard working, farm-land owning, stay in their lane and live their lives folk… well, in Central Florida. With a slew of kids and grandkids always nearby.

I am sure by this point you are thinking: “well, Brittany, you don’t seem to fit in that general mold.” Yeah, my family doesn’t think so either. In fact, my entire life I have been seen as the different one. Probably due to my non-conventional lifestyle combining my mix of eccentric clothing, and my constant need and desire to travel and experience life in a big way.

My Uncle likes to ask a lot of questions, as many older Uncles like to do.
“Do you have a boyfriend?” Of course! But only I can see him. So don’t expect him for Christmas.
“What the hell is that in your nose?” It’s called a nose ring. It is literally a ring… in my nose.
“How’s the career? You making enough money these days?” Um, next question.
“You want to travel to other countries, huh? Why?” Because the world is diverse and beautiful.

However, this trip one question in particular stuck out in my brain:
“Brittany, when are you going to grow up?”
(And this was BEFORE he saw the Party Animal photos!)

Being 30, single, and childless in the South, is virtually taboo.  

You are constantly being auctioned off by every middle-to-late-aged person you know as if you were a slightly damaged prized pony (perhaps because you are 30 and single, we will just call you the “runner up” in this scenario.) Consistently your hand is being thrust into the hands of another “nice young man” who will mysteriously sweep you off your feet, and thus you can begin your “real ‘grown-up’ life.”

Truth is, I never want to grow up.
Yes, I will continue to harness the skills necessary for being an adult.
Yes, I will continue to build a thriving self-sustainable creative business,
Yes, I will aim to provide a beautiful life for myself and family,
& Yes, I will strive to be a key player in making the world a better place for us all.
But no, I will never ‘grow up’ and ‘ grow out’ of my childhood imagination.

Truth be told, I have lost that childlike zest for life before.
I thought I needed to grow up, get a real job and keep my dreams on the back burner.

But I didn’t just lose my childlike persona. In that time I also lost myself.

Have you ever lost the connection to your true self?
Forgetting that this is your human experience?

It feels like you are walking through a not-so-pleasant dream state.
A life that isn’t yours because it is so dull and stagnant.
A place fostering depression and sadness.
You exist in this plane of confusion.
Falling down a rabbit hole from which you don’t quite know how to escape.
I know, truly, because I have been there time and time again.

But sometimes, all it takes is a memory (an epiphany if you will) spawning from the past to pull us through.
For me, I saw myself as a little girl. Hopeful. Dreaming of my future.
Life was so exciting. Fresh. And new.
The sky was not the limit.
I could reach beyond that.
Each day, and an unknown future held many uncertainties –
But I knew what I would accomplish in my adult life:
A life of laughter, love, art, travel:
A life of adventure.

This vision of myself as a bright faced, innocent version in my youth was all it took.
That hope was returned.
And I woke up.
Refreshed and ready.
Ready to tackle all of those dreams I have set for myself since my early life.
In spite of the fears and challenges of the world:

We are limitless.

It’s still a practice, because we are human.
We have good days and not so good days.
We have the power to determine how we spend our time,
All while knowing our time is not determined.

So today when you look at your “grown-up” self in the mirror, don’t forget your inner child. She’s still there. Hopeful. Dreaming. Ready for today’s adventure.

Stay in touch <3