Joan Didion remembers her distaste for being a child and her yearning for a glamorous, grown up life.
I never had much interest in being a child. As a way of being it seemed flat, failed to engage. When I was in fact a child, six and seven and eight years old, I was utterly baffled by the enthusiasm with which my cousin Brenda, a year and a half younger, accepted her mother’s definition of her as someone who needed to go to bed at six-thirty and finish every bite of three vegetables, one of them yellow, with every meal. Brenda was also encouraged to make a perfect white sauce, and to keep a chart showing a gold star for every time she brushed her teeth. I, meanwhile, was trying to improve the dinner hour by offering what I called “lettuce cocktails” (a single leaf of iceberg lettuce and crushed ice in a stemmed glass), and inventing elaborate scenarios featuring myself as an adult, specifically an adult 24 years old, an age on which I settled because my mother had assured me that 24 was the best, her favorite year.