Whether you’ve dated one or have been accused being one yourself of yourself, our society is filled with boys and girls who have not grown up; which I like to call “Peter Pan Syndrome”.
Peter Pan Syndrome occurs when a male or female does not grow emotionally, and although they physically appear older, they are still young maturely. Most cases, these individuals appear to have themselves together, but in the end they haven’t dealt with anything internally. Thus, they are stunted emotionally.
Why does this happen? Sometimes something emotionally traumatic in their youth stunts their growth. Without dealing with it, they suffer an “arrested development”, or become frozen emotionally in time.
An unfortunate other reason can be linked to how our generation continues to be affected by new social media and by the recession. Many of us ran from small hometowns and elsewhere to whatever job we were offered, because of the scary idea that we might be unemployed with a college degree. Instead of taking time to truly grow and mature professionally, we jumped into opportunities and worked at all hours to maintain these jobs. Now, we have begun to wake up 5-7 years later with highly successful jobs (possibly not what we wanted) and the realization that we are in our early to mid thirties with societies’ doomed “biological clock” banging at out door. Instead of looking like Robin Williams in “Jack”, we appear to be emotionally older and ready for life’s responsibilites, yet here we are having breakdowns/a possible quarter life crisis.
Our parents’ generation married, had kids, and maintained job statistically by the time they were 25. The American Dream 20-30 years ago was filled with ideals of that white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a 401k. Our generation is now filled those having a “quarter life crisis” at 25, fears of buying cars and houses to avoid being tied down to debt, and media involving roommates in their mid 30s still trying to figure out life.
If you’ve gotten involved with someone having Peter Pan Syndrome, run. You can’t change him/her, nor will they see the light because you held their hand along the way. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up with someone who portrays fun, excitement, and life as a ride. There wouldn’t be countless romantic comedies (Jess and Nick on New Girl) of this situation if it wasn’t extremely enjoyable. However, if you are one of the Darlings rather than Peter Pan, it won’t be long before you’re ready to stop playing in Neverland. If your relationship became hot and heavy too fast, chances are it’ll cool just as quick. He/She do not want to look at the future, they want to live in a past time that they missed out on while caught in their emotional slumber.
I know I’ll get a few emails complaining about exceptions. Yes, I am a believer that there is always an exception to the rule. However, in reality, this is the rule. If they can’t take care of themselves, the last thing they want is another suitcase of baggage in the shape of a la you. If you’re able to shut off your emotions like our goverment shutdown (hello Republicans get your shit together!) and have fun, I say do it.
It’s a great experience and you’ll enjoy seeing life through someone who “lives on the edge”. It’s still a dangerous game to play with your heart…especially if you give it to someone doesn’t remember where they put their own.
If you’re looking for a romantic story tale ending…remember this…
even Wendy Darling had to leave Peter at the end of the story. There’s only so many nights of staying up, partying, and emotional unattachment a girl could take. Sure Peter came back…but he came back for her great granddaughter. Ew.
In other words…Ladies and Gentlemen of this generation…focus on you and get your shit together. We only have one life to get it right. Don’t be tricked by Peter Pan, or you’ll soon become the predator of an innocent 20 something rather than the prey.