Turning Boundaries into Stepping Stones

When I was a kid, every amazing thing I wanted was posted on my wall, pictured under neon lights.

As it turns out, everything I needed to know was posted on my counselor’s wall. Black frames with white borders in courier new type composed inspirational captions underneath a kitten clinging to a branch or a mystical forest waterfall. These were the original Instagram posts.

Twenty years later, I realized “hang in there” are words to live by. Adulthood is the minefield they warned us about, and it is so, so good.

Childhood was freedom from responsibility in exchange for a prision of boundless rules.

Adulthood came with only two rules - don’t be unnecessarily cruel and pay for the things you take. As a kid, I had to ask my parents for everything. Now, if I want to listen to Depeche Mode at 3 am, I can. If I want to stay out late and chase girls after a concert, I can. If I want to buy a mint 1988 Ferrari Testarossa because it looks amazing sitting in between a 1956 Porsche 356 and a 1979 BMW R100T, I can. Impulsive? Sure. But I also intentionally crashed a remote control car into Mindy Warren’s bicycle just to talk to her, if only to apologize. Still worth it.

While lacing up my Bronx High tops, I catch myself staring at this beautiful, rolling work of art once again. I cannot help but smile as I remember that cat hanging from the branch.

— Mat Grey