Archived Story

Another life–lesson learned from kids

Published 10:42am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I don’t ever want to grow up – no, no, never, never, no way.

I have aged enough. Thirty-four years are plenty to pack on this body and now it’s time to stop. Here I go. I’m stopping.

I wonder what age I went wrong?

Looking back – I should have stopped at 30, a nice round number. It’s the perfect age to call it quits in this “growing up” saga everyone gets caught up in. After all, I had a successful business at that age, entrepreneurial mastermind I was. My kids were each four years younger, which makes them less expensive to feed.

Plus, I could chase them around the house and have tickle time and read books. Now they’re older and wiser, and they both read to me and tickle me.

Better yet, let me back it up a little. Looking back I should have stopped at 24. Just out of college, getting married and my entire life was ahead of me – a time of hope and expectation.

Visions of a career, a house in the ’burbs with a white picket fence, kids, a dog and cat, and some daintily manicured bushes along the front were in the forefront of my thoughts.

The American dream was alive and vibrant. I was going to conquer the world… with no job.

We were living off of thrift store clothes, discount groceries and hand-me-down furniture. We were ready to tackle this puny “real world” we heard so much about from our elders.

Ok, ok, maybe 18 was a good age to stop now that I contemplate a little more.

Graduating high school and having that whole “under my parents roof” chapter over with was quite exhilarating. Driving an old Dodge Daytona that I was paying for myself as I built up my credit on a co-signed loan with my Dad. I was fresh out of winning the varsity baseball conference. High school love was still in full swing, as well as regular occurrences of acne outbreaks.

Best friends that I saw everyday; secrets told in the hallways, teachers I liked and connected with, and others who just assume never had met young and annoying Chris Jakubowicz. Pep Rally’s, dances, weekends out and friends graciously offering up their parents’ house in lieu of their absence.

The only care we had was if we had the latest music blasting in our cars and that our clothes matched and didn’t stink. Of course, adolescence is a time no one would want to revisit.  It was awkward just being alive some days.

I probably missed it at a young age and was too ignorant to realize it.  I’ll follow Tom Hanks’ lead and realize that 8 was a good year to stop.

At that age every day was a dreamland. It’s always a holiday in this world and my kids realize it. No cares or needs except food. No jobs except to play and dream big.

You can be anybody or anything you want to be by the vehicle of your imagination. Parents did all of the worrying for us because they were ignorant enough not to stop growing up themselves.

Meals were cooked for us, money didn’t matter, we did no laundry or cooking and cleaning under our fingernails was not an option.

We are taught to have faith like a child. This mindset is lost somewhere between producing mud pies and making sure your tuxedo tie is straight and you have no stray hairs. My kids show me this on a daily basis.

There are days I literally believe they are simultaneously living on another planet while living under my roof.  Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we all need to act like we are living on other planets. That feels better already, I suddenly feel the urge to eat a moon pie.

That’s why I’m choosing to stop at 34. I am way past due. I’ve lost the childlike realm of possibility; I’m putting my foot down and getting that 8–year–old mentality back!

Much to the chagrin of my wife.

Chris Jakubowicz lives in Columbus with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by e-mail at cjak32@gmail.com.

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