Childhood: A metaphor for life?
When I look back on it, and think of it as a whole, I consider myself fairly lucky to feel as though I had what most people would consider a ‘good’ childhood. Then again, as I write that, I find myself asking ‘But when did my childhood end?’. The obvious - or legal - answer might be 18. But I don’t know if it is as simple as that.
Not every country recognises 18 as the age childhood ends, and adulthood begins. It seems arbitrary, to be honest, to simply pick an age and declare that this is where we are, in the eyes of the law at least, no longer a child. Science suggests that our brain continues development until around 25 years old. I’m not suggesting that all 24 year olds must be considered children - I’m 24 and I certainly don’t feel like one! - but it’s interesting. Sort of.
Sometimes, a lot of pressure is put on young people, and on us geezers in particular, to ‘grow up’. To ‘act like a man’. In our youth - or at least in mine - we receive this message from the world around us, and spend our lives trying to be older. First, I remember being desperate to get to 16. ‘Well, at least I’m legal now’, I thought. Then at 16, I was just desperate to get to 18. ‘Yes! No more Fake ID fear’, I thought. Soon after, I was sick of being a teenager and couldn’t wait till I was 21. ‘Then I’ll be a proper adult’ I thought. Now, however, I often find myself sitting there, daydreaming about a particular day from school, or seeing myself getting drunk with my mates - on WKD, no less - on my 14th birthday.
The point is that, sometimes, we spend so much time worrying about what life will be like just round the corner - just after we get to that point - that we can forget to appreciate the exact moment we are in. I’m not suggesting that this is the message we need to be telling the children of today, but I do think it’s a good metaphor for our lives in general.
To that degree, I try my best to live in the moment as much as possible; not that it’s easy, and most definitely not that I’m an expert at it. But it’s worth at least trying to remain in touch with your inner child - the voice inside of all of us that wants to explore, have fun and just enjoy what we are doing right here, right now.
A young me. On the Amstel from early. Geez.