Isn’t it funny how childhood leaves a profound mark in our mind? Like a knife in butter. More so than any other period of life. Whether it was a happy or a sad one, it sticks to the soul, it shapes the foundation of you.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, I find myself reflecting over mine. I’m casually watching TV, and suddenly, unexpectedly, i’ll recall that one game I used to play with my sister in the backyard. Something on screen must have caught my attention which traced back to a safely stored memory in my brain. Other times it’s more abstract than a precise moment in my life. It’s just a vague feeling that passes over me which sends me back to a familiar place in time.
I was walking through the park the other day and it was a beautiful afternoon. As I started to cross a tiny bridge connecting two parts of the park, a slight breeze brushed my skin bringing a very distinct floral sent to my nose. I instantly got a nostalgic sensation, it was the feeling of summertime in my old parent’s house. It abruptly threw me back into my 10 year old’s self shoes.
I used to be a very nature-oriented child. I loved playing in the garden, taking walks in the forest, swimming in the streams flowing nearby the house and creating perfume with flower petals from the garden. I loved being a child. Sometimes I look back and I find it curious to think that this little girl was once me. It’s curious because today, decades later, I do not relate that much to that person anymore. Nostalgia is a tricky feeling, because it is not black or white, happy or sad, it is more complicated and puzzling to deal with.
A few months ago, I graduated from college and entered the new daunting world of supposedly adulthood, responsibility and work. At least that was how I saw it. As I was searching for a job I occasionally caught myself yearning at my childhood and the juvenility of those days. It occured so many times I finally told my mother, to whom i’m very close, “I don’t know what’s going on with me, i feel like i want to be a child again ! “. Her response was that maybe I was just afraid to move onto the next step of my life. I think she was right.
I believe childhood memories (good ones of course) bring a warm fuzzy feeling of protection and freedom. It’s a place we want to go back when we are afraid, when we need to be comforted or reassured. They are the memories of a period in which things seemed easier, in which dreams felt reachable and new experiences happened every day. They are memories that will pop up from time to time, triggered by a song, a scent, a phrase or a place, which gives us back a glimpse of that effortless livelihood.
This is why, although they were not all good, I cherish my childhood memories, and I love getting the occasional reminder that I was once that little girl in this big big world.