I know for a fact that I am not the only one who sometimes misses my childhood. I do not have a bad life, I’m in my dream course at my dream Uni, and acing it. I have loving parents, a loving girlfriend, great friends, and I have great online friends and co-workers too.
However, missing childhood doesn’t have to mean that you hate your life now, or that life was easier back then. I mean, of course it was, low responsibility, easy work at school, mostly play and little work, it just seemed like the perfect time. You hated it then, because you felt like things were hard, but as you grow older, you start to realise that things aren’t as easy in the real world. I once saw a chart that summerises things brilliantly. It was split into three categories, child, adult, and elderly. It compared 3 variables, those being Time, Money and Energy.
As you’d expect, it was the classic “pick two” scenario, as a child you have time and energy, but no money, adult you have energy and money, but no time, and lastly as an older person, you have time and money, but no energy. There are obvious exceptions to the rule (Child stars, or pretty much anyone rich), but nonetheless this tends to be pretty standard for most people. It made me think, is that really a bad thing?
Lets take the example of the child first. You have all the time in the word, and all this energy you want to use. You would love to be able to go to Disneyland all the time, or get all the latest video games, or be able to get loads of sweets, however, you never have much money. But think about it, imagine if your 6 year old self had access to a full say, £50,000 a year salary, how would that go down? Well, as you can probably figure out, the kid would spend all the money on sweets and such, end up not well a lot, and probably have a worse time that they would just playing.
So that’s the first example, lets move on to adulthood. What would an adult do with all the time in the world? Well, they might go on extravagant holidays all the time. Or they might spend lots of time in Las Vegas, gambling away. Alternatively, they could have no idea what to do. Holidays, luxurious things, winning millions, there’s a reason these things appeal to us. They’re rare, or in some cases, completely unobtainable. If you were able to take 20 holidays a year, would you still enjoy them 3 years down the line? Probably not, and then what would you do? Have huge parties, but then you might develop some issues, due to being so used to play and no work. There’s a big problem here too, as we want things we cannot have, its human nature to do so. If we could have the biggest mansion ever built, would we be happy? Or would we want 5 extra bathrooms, just because we can? I’ll let you answer that one.
And finally, retirement. You have loads of time, a decent amount of money behind you, but you’ve grown old and weary. You can do whatever you want, all those things you’ve ever wanted to do, you can finally do them, but you decide to leave it until tomorrow. Then the next day you fancy going to the golf club with a couple of friends, play a few rounds, and have a chat. And what do you do? Chat about childhood, how amazing it would be to have the same energy now that you did back then. But that’s the problem, you don’t. This is your chance to do everything you’ve ever wanted, but you decide to get into a comfortable routine, and live your life happy and predictable. And that’s great, it really is, but then you have to think, you had all these plans, yet you settle for this. Why? Because you never really wanted to do all those things in the first place. Sure, they sounded cool, but when you finally have the chance, you realise that these things aren’t important. You wanted them because you couldn’t have them, and now you can, you decide you are happy with your life.
Its interesting to think about childhood, and how you wish for everything. You spend your whole life wishing for bigger and better, and then you realise, that when it comes down to it, everything is great. Those songs you listened to by the lake that night with your then girlfriend, the crazy things you and your best friend could think up using nothing but a tree and some sticks. The way you could do anything you wanted, just spend all your time, pretending to live the things you wish you could have.
I suppose that’s the message I’m trying to get from this. The wishing is always better. I believe you should always strive for bigger and better, to improve yourself and also to help others. But when you are doing that, I urge you not to forget those songs that remind you of the small things. The nights up late under the stars, that time you walked to Spar at 4 in the morning, all because you wanted a can or Coke, the time you fell out that tree, and couldn’t feel the pain because you were laughing so much. Remember those times with fondness, and realise that, no matter how old you get, you are never too old to dream.