Confessions Of Someone With Peter Pan Syndrome


I’m at that point in my life where everyone I know is dating someone and I’m over here contemplating whether or not it would be illegal to marry wine.

It’s like going fishing with all your friends and one by one, they all catch something, some are impressive, some are just meh, but either way, they catch something. Turns out, if I don’t truly want a fish, it’s going to be even harder for me to catch something, especially since I am by ZERO means a natural fisherman. The fact of the matter is, fishing is hard. It takes time and patience, there’s a technique, and an art to it even, but you didn’t really want to go fishing in the first place so now you are stuck holding your pole halfheartedly hoping to catch something just so that they won’t all take selfies with their fish together, without you.

I have this serious FOMO nagging at me all the time. I’m trying to smile and be happy for everyone but I’m actually chipping away inside knowing that this is the first step where everyone starts leaving you behind. My dad was always paranoid that it was going to happen in middle school with algebra.

Everyone is figuring their life out and I’m just trying to cling to my youth as much as I can. I am straight up Peter Pan status at this point. I swear if I watched this movie now I would pretty much be bawling the entire time. I know I don’t want to be in a relationship right now. The mere thought of it gives me the heebie-jeebies because we’re at that age where people are starting to get “serious” about their lives. Not just with their significant others, but also in their jobs, and their hobbies.

I don’t have my life figured out and I shouldn’t feel the pressure to. It’s not like I’m a mess that’s falling apart at the seams, I just don’t have a specific plan. Moreover, I don’t want a plan. I think it’s silly to think that my life is going to turn out a certain way just because I say it will.

There’s definitely a slippery slope of adulthood. These people are going to start hanging out with more people that have their crap figured out, because they’ll be able to relate to them. You know, they’ll be able to talk to each other about their mortgages and health insurance and last night’s episode of the West Wing. And I’m still going to be watching Phineas and Ferb in my robot onesie talking about Hilary Duff’s new album (true story.) They are going to start talking about their weddings together and how their kids are driving them crazy while I end up buying Scooby Doo fruit snacks in bulk and binge watching sitcoms while being forced to babysit so that they can have “just one night of freedom.” Ironically, with every additional time I watch all ten seasons of Friends, the fewer I may have in real life. Sometimes I feel like if I don’t board this “adulthood” train I’m going to end up getting the short end of the stick a lot.

It happened with drinking. In college I didn’t drink until I was 21. It was a personal choice and I’m glad I did because it proved to me that I had some manner of self-control in my life. But that meant for the first 3 years I was watching everybody go shopping for an outfit, or do each other’s hair and makeup, or take group pictures looking gorgeous and maybe one pity picture with me in my Christmas old navy pajama bottoms in any given season. It’s even worse when I decided to go. I usually ended up being sober sister who gets to hold everyone’s hair back and take pictures of people all night long while having to deal with people who think that you are judging them for being drunk. I felt obligated to go to clubs or parties even though that “wasn’t my scene” at the time. It was either go to the party, or not be able to relate to your friends. This is an exceptionally tough thing for a very extraverted person to make — by the way. I couldn’t count the number of times I felt like everyone was hanging out without me and eventually gave up. I had to get on the bandwagon otherwise it would speed off without me.

To this day, my biggest fear isn’t that everyone’s going to start going to symphonies together and I’m going to end up at a Ke$ha concert alone — but rather that I end up going to symphonies and never buy that Ke$ha concert ticket in the first place.

I don’t want to abandon my youth at the expense of not being able to relate to my friends. It seems like a pretty unfair trade.

It’s definitely cool to be classy sometimes. Like be able to go to brunch and ordering mimosas. Or eat artisan cheeses and crackers from whole foods. My fear is the one day when doing things like that stops being special. When you do “grown up things” so often that it stops being a novelty and just integrated into your life.

I feel like the opposite happens to people who think they are grown-ups. One day they wake up and they do something that reminds them of their youth and they feel special. Like they’ll go see Tangled in theaters and then be like “haha, hashtag still a child.” I would rather be a child that does grown up things every so often, than a grown up that does childish things. The latter just seems way more sad and depressing than the other.

I just don’t like the idea of this unspoken social pressure to grow up. I shouldn’t be forced to do things just because all of my friends are doing them. And I know what people say, find better friends. The thing is I love my friends. More than anything. They are actually great and would never consciously make the decision to leave me behind, I just feel like it’s a natural part of life. There’s always the idea that one day people are going to look down on me for not having a clue what I’m doing with my life. I just know that the only thing you can count on is things not going according to plan, so it just doesn’t make sense for me to bother with one. Getting “serious” and “buckling down” for some reason seems like the most immature decision a person can make. One day a cup of coffee is going to spill all over that plan and it’s going to be the most difficult thing to ever deal with. As Jodi Picoult once said, “There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.”

I know I’m being dramatic. I know my friends are not going to abandon me. I just can’t shake the feeling that this is all the first step — the tipping point- so to speak, and I’m just not ready to admit what this really all could really mean — that I, once again, will be the shining example of an extroverted only child with nobody to play scrabble with. Compromising my youth just doesn’t seem like something I’m prepared for and I struggle with the concept that everyone one around me is eager to make that sacrifice already.

featured image – Scarleth Marie