One of the traits of children that have gone through
difficult childhoods is that they grow up far too fast,
that they have to become responsible before they should
have to, that they leave their childhoods behind far too
early. I went through that, and it's a common trait
of Adult Children of Alcoholics, as one example. But
one of the myths of our society is that once you're
"grown up," there's no more room in life for the
things and thoughts and feelings of childhood.
Nothing could be further from the truth,
though--personally, I love allowing myself to live out
much of my childhood in my adult years.
It took me quite a few years to allow myself to do this,
but now that I can do it, I feel great. It's
important to know what having a happy childhood is not,
of course--it's not shirking responsibility or throwing
tantrums or ditching work on a lark or eating whatever we
want whenever we want to do so. As adults we have
people who depend on us, people who need us to live up to
our responsibilities, and being happy does not include
disappointing other people who have every right in the
world to depend on us to certain extents.
What it does mean is making sure that you deviate from
your path so that you can walk through the fallen leaves
that the wind has blown into a pile. It means making
a beeline for the swings when you pass a playground.
Or it means buying that bottle soapy water so that you can
blow bubbles in the breeze and watch them float
away. It means trusting people and accepting them
unconditionally. It means making sure that you look
at everything in the bakery and think of how good it all
would taste before you decide exactly what you're going to
It means whatever you know in your heart it should mean.
Childhood is too wonderful to be limited to
children. Just because there are many misguided
adults out there who frown on others being childlike
doesn't mean that I can't reclaim an important piece of my
spirit. I know that I'll never have the chance to go
through a second childhood in my later years, because I'm
still living my first one, and enjoying the heck out of