So. I was thinking about this month’s theme on “age,” and how wonderful it is to look back on the past with wonder and amazement. As I age, I know that I certainly look back at my childhood with fondness and yes, a little yearning. How wonderful it would be to be young and invincible again, running around happily with rosy cheeks, grass stains on my knees and no thought of tomorrow. And yet…
…then I got thinking about all the social awkwardness, the emotional immaturity and underdeveloped logic; the tantrums and the sulking; the inflated feelings of grandiosity inevitably produced by a secret feeling of foreboding that nothing is really in your control. And then I think: Hey, I went through a lot to develop into who I am now… why would I want to go…back??
I think sometimes we look at our younger selves with rose-colored glasses, seeing only the innocence and none or the immaturity. And so I wrote up a little reflection on that moment we tap into our past selves…and it doesn’t go the way we want it to. For all the praise and nostalgia of the past, there is a fine line between being childlike and acting childish. Am I the only one who sometimes has trouble staying firmly on one side?
The following might seem a bit exaggerated, or you might feel I am being too hard on myself, but I was trying to capture the feeling of the moment…the feeling of intense embarrassment when you realize you have regressed a little too much, the folly of wanting to go back to an attitude or behavior that does not fit you anymore.
That moment when you realized that all the things you prided yourself in knowing
all the “grown-up” things you’ve learned
have flown out the window, disappeared and, for a brief moment
you have been wearing the skin of a past self you thought long discarded.
It looked so perfect on you for that moment. So mesmerizing.
You couldn’t help yourself.
How far did you go this time?
Were you the impulsive and eager child?
The awkward prepubescent?
The smug teen?
The näive and idealistic student?
Like Icarus before the fall, you were ignorant of the warnings, stupefied by your own mythical prowess.
Boldly, you patted yourself on the back, and proclaimed in a confident tone:
“I got this.”
Until you came crashing down
in an awkward pile of feathers.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for the past. It is a wonderful, beautiful thing to remember, reflect, and reminisce…without forgetting all the lessons I have learned along the way.