“I want to be just like you when I grow up…”

I remember saying those words to Jazz goddess Cleo Laine when I was about twelve years old and got to see her backstage after a show at Seattle’s Jazz Alley. At that point in my life, grown ups still thought it was cute when I said those kinds of things.

You’d think that by the age of almost 30 (!!!) I would have grown out of it, but last night it happened again. I got to see cosmic-folk rockstress Julia Massey perform at The Sunset in Ballard. And while I was marveling at her songwriting, and watching her work it in epic fashion on two separate keyboards while belting out near-flawless vocals, I thought, “Julia, I want to be just like you when I grow up.”

This wasn’t an anomaly; I routinely have the urge to say this to people I admire – be they tech luminaries, masters of media (social or otherwise), or great musicians. There are only two ways I can interpret this impulse: either I’m hopelessly clinging to antics that were better suited to my early adolescence, or I’m still approaching things with the same beginner’s mind that I had in those early years.

Obviously, I prefer the latter interpretation because it means that I’m still actively approaching the world with wonder and taking the opportunity to learn from the skills and victories of others, and what my reactions to those victories tell me about myself. I hope I’m never too proud to admit that someone younger or less experienced might have something to teach me. I’m certainly not so jaded as to think that I should be “grown up” by 30 anyway.

Maybe I’ll be grown up when I’m 100. That should give me enough time to be just like all of them, right?

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