Sometimes I think the kids had it right all along. In those years before we worried about "cool", before cynicism and angst entered the picture, before we became more and more concerned with appearances, with others' expectations, biases and judgments. I wish I could get back every minute I spent living for someone else, trying to satisfy someone else's expectations instead of my own, trying to make someone else happy at the expense of my own happiness. So much time wasted, but the benefit is that constant reminder not to waste any more.
Adulthood comes with so many freedoms and responsibilities that I treasure and wouldn't trade for anything. The path there is the tricky part. For me, that path lead me headlong into doubt and insecurity, never feeling accepted, feeling alone and rejected, like I wasn't quite "right", like I didn't fit. Attempts to connect with others turned awkward, the shroud of their judgment (real or imagined) hanging over me always. But hey - kids can be cruel, tricky shit, life goes on. You can't win with everybody. You can only do your best; so do that, accept what comes next and move on.
The past year has been as much a journey to keep progressing as an adult as it has an effort to take back that aspect of freedom from my childhood - the freedom to live and love without doubt or worry. It's taken me a lot longer than I'd care to admit, but it's where I'm at now and it feels good.
I write this having just come home from work, where I spent the day dressed as Batman. Best of both worlds, my friends.