One of the most loved figures from our childhoods is Peter Pan – the boy who never grew up. Peter Pan’s life is an adventure that he shares with other children, who are called the Lost Boys. Why is the story so charming also for adults?
The story of Peter Pan is probably most familiar to us from the Disney movie. The magic of childhood appeals to us with all its innocence and irresponsibility. Like in our real lives, we have mothers who take care of us when we are children, in the story, the main female figure and an older child named Wendy takes the role of a mother and the one who is the voice of reason.
Peter Pan must forget his own adventures and what he learns about the world in order to stay childlike. He avoids growing up because he doesn’t want that. He will rather continue to fight the pirates and tease girls. Well, he doesn’t really have to do that yet as he is supposedly around 10-13 years old – a child. A 25-year-old Peter Pan would seem strange but is not unknown outside the storybook. A 25-year-old Peter Pan is ill-equipped for life.
In real life, it is hard to draw the line for what is “adult”. Most of never become “old” with our mindsets – we are set to somewhat similar personality and have the characteristics we have developed during our childhood and youth. One can behave “childish” with one subject and “adult” with another subject. Despite the two-sidedness of adulthood, it seems that the new generations more and more fail to grow up.
What can we expect? The kids grow up looking up to Bart Simpson. It is admirable to be a slightly dumb class-clown, who wants to make the life of his teachers and principle miserable. The other end of the spectrum, the well-mannered, precocious and intelligent boy such as Martin in the Simpsons show is not desirable but is bullied and given “wedgies”. TV is their babysitter and when turning 25, they are tattooed from head to toe and preach about thug life.
I don’t personally have anything against tattoos if they are well-made. But “thug life”, being unsuccessful, is desirable for too many and being successful just too hard to strive for them. Or is it? Maybe it is not the success itself but simply the inability to grow up and deal with life as an adult. I suspect the root for this is the reality escape, dumbing down and the images media amongst other things has given about what is “cool”. When I see someone who is 30+ posing in thug clothes or wearing a “Crack Whore” t-shirt (without being a drug user), it is far from being cool. The clothing industry and brands, however, is taking advantage of this reality escape: You can be cool, you can be forever 14-years-old by wearing this – patch your self-esteem with our branded clothes.
Being ill-equipped for adulthood – the malady of our and the becoming generations. Who can we blame, our parents, the society? Why are so many in need of a reality escape when there is much the life can offer? Perhaps, we expect that life comes to us with those things – but no, we have to go after them. Success does not come by coincidence, most of times, but hard work and taking responsibility.