Reclaim Your Childhood Innocence

Very often I think about how good life was when I was a younger kid. I regret having such a strong desire to grow up fast. I felt this influence all around me to wear makeup and tube tops to school and go to sleep at a later bedtime. Now that I am 20 years old, I would rather just skip the makeup routine, wear sweats and go to sleep earlier. I look back on my childhood and I thank my parents for preserving my childhood as much as they could.  

My parents would go to extreme lengths to make sure my childhood was a magical experience. For example, they would put in so much time and effort to make sure I believed in Santa Claus for as long as possible. They would photoshop cards from Santa, leave Santa’s footprints by the fireplace and buy wrapping paper online so I couldn’t track it back to the wrapping paper we had at home. Unfortunately, there were those kids who tried to ruin it for others and reveal the heartbreaking truth about Santa Claus. I didn’t believe it for too long, but I appreciate my parent’s effort. It’s their efforts that turned into memories that made me believe in the spirit of Christmas every year.

I’m grateful for growing up as a kid in the early 2000’s because there were no iPhones, tablets or accessible social media. The closest piece of technology I had was a DS or the Wii. In my memory, I was very aware of the sunny and hot summers, when the air was crisp and smelling like fresh-cut grass. I loved to draw on our driveway with chalk, play with my Barbies, paint and play dress up at my grandmother’s house. Summer camp was fun too because I would get to make new friends and spend the day playing games outside. Most of the time I had to rely on my own imagination to keep me occupied, which stimulated my creativity and innovation.

As I got older, I started noticing that other kids were changing. Webkinz and Life Saver popsicles were no longer a concern. The newest concern was about what scented Baby Lips lip balm you had or who your current crush was. Was there something wrong with me because I just wanted to play tag outside or jump rope at recess? The girls slowly stopped watching the Disney Channel, spent more time on Instagram and would straighten their hair for school. I began to feel the pressures of growing up. I started dressing like the other girls in my class and straightening my hair, which makes no sense because my hair was naturally straight. I was losing my childhood innocence and I felt my imagination slip away.

It was hard being a pre-teen. At the time there was so much confusion around my own identity and struggling to grow up to be a young lady in the world. Later in high school, I wanted to grow up even more. I wanted to experience everything you see in the movies. Now when I think of my younger self, I think that there was no rush in growing up. If I knew then what I know now, I would slow down before I miss out on something.

Today, we can get so caught up in our everyday reality and worry about the future. I’m guilty of feeling the pressures of the future too. Especially at a time when Covid-19 has limited our opportunities and left most of us feeling isolated. I’m just quoting some Billy Joel lyrics and encouraging you to “take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while." Cherish every moment and try to embrace the people around you. Live life like a child once in a while. Maybe even take up one of your old childhood hobbies.

Playing and having fun isn’t something you grow out of and it is not just for children. It’s your adult responsibilities that keep you occupied and stop you from having fun. Reclaim your childhood innocence and seek out the fun in your everyday life. Always remember you’re never too old to grow up so stop trying to rush the process, because “Vienna waits for you." Sorry if that was corny but it’s true.