In pop-psychology, the term “Peter Pan Syndrome” is more associated with pedophiles and noncommittal boyfriends than normal people. It’s only recently that books started to be labeled “young adult” and it became okay for new adults to openly admit they liked Harry Potter without creepy implications. There was a rise in young people that identified with the teenage generation and the generation of their parents, but really didn’t fit in with one or the other completely. It emerged as a distinct and different stage of human development.
Our group was not the lost generation of World War I. We weren’t aimless, tired, or disoriented. Young adults (or as I like to call them Kidults) were an ambitious, curious group of people that sought more out of the world than society was giving. We realized we didn’t have to stop aiming to be a rockstar or a rocket scientist. As long as we were responsible, we could continue dreaming and progressing in goals we made as teens.
Thanks to this attitude a whole contingent of youtube stars, band camp artists, and professional video gamers rose out of the dust. We dreamed of Neverland and when we opened our eyes we saw that we were already flying. We didn’t have to be ashamed of eating Snickers for breakfast or loving makeup tutorials. Our guilty pleasures became our professions.
If you are a new adult and have Peter Pan Syndrome, you’ll find that you understand some things about our group.
1. We can blend in with teens. It’s only a problem when we’re drinking. We ALWAYS get carded.
2. We can blend in with adults. We contribute plenty of ideas to roundtable discussions on the direction our department at work is going. Dude, we pay our bills on time. So adult.
3. We’ve broken out the family boardgames a couple of times we’ve invited friends over for wine club.
4. One random day we’ve all called in sick and went on a road trip.
5. We like kids movies.
6. Surfing or playing video games all day sounds like a good way to spend the day.
7. Sometimes we fangirl. We’ve tattooed our car, our social media, or our body parts with the Deathly Hollows.
8. We’ve danced at other passing cars when our favorite songs comes on the radio, finger pointing and everything.
9. Our clothes are bright and technicolor. Sometimes our hair matches. None of that black, beige, brown, navy stuff for us.
10. When we shop for food there are always more snacks than actual groceries.
11. We invest in condos and stocks, but we also invest in awesome apps and comic books.
12. Most of our time disappears into our hobbies that may one day become our entrepreneurial jobs. Cough cough, blog. Ha-postingmakeuptutorials-choo. Cough, cough.
If you identify with most of these, you are officially a kidult and can wear the Peter Pan Syndrome name with pride.
It could be because of a history of people who lived and died for our freedom that we’re finally able to look at our future with eyes full of stars. It could be because our parents and our grandparents wanted us to have more room to do what we love and to live a passionate life. Whatever the reason is, I’m grateful that Kidults can – in essence – never grow up even as we age.
Most of all, I’m glad I can still read The Hunger Games without feeling guilty.