The Forgetfulness of Being ‘Grownup’

Just for a moment transport back to a time when you had scabby knees, brawled with your siblings, and hoped for something better in your lunch box for morning tea other than a bruised apple and a leering packet of dried sultanas. And remember wondering what you wanted to become when you grew up: A rock star? Fireman? A pastry chef? A WWF Champion? Well, I wanted to be an explorer. You know, of the India Jones type (cliché much) and make a habit of successfully running away from gigantic, perfectly spherical boulders while victoriously grasping priceless ancient artefacts.

What? Not a realistic career aspiration?

Well, the closest I’ve been to those kind of adventures was always in my childhood when attempting some conjured feat, like running away from scandalized birds (Plovers) that territorially dove at children dashing across their dandelion and chick strewn turf. I imagined all sorts of adventures I would encounter when I grew up, dreaming big dreams and knowing at that age, despite anything, I was invincible. Don’t get me wrong, I still go out seeking adventure, but there was something different in the way I felt about my experiences when I was a kid, as it’s the feelings that stick to my memory most like old Hubba Bubba poked beneath a school desk. The feeling of relief when school holidays started and the jittery nerves on the first day back, that moment of sheer joy at having conquered and survived a task (or gotten away with doing something you shouldn’t), and that most significant feeling of all: excitement. Children feel many things without reservation and one of those is that bubble of elation that reminds them of future possibilities, their existence, the physical space they occupy on this earth. Their Life.

It wasn’t until a little later that I realised I was a writer, a much more sensible vocation than trying to invoke Indy, and something I naturally did in my spare time as I attempted to gauge some understanding of the world and my Life within it. And that childlike excitement was felt once again when I discovered I could make this my journey—seek it out in my own exploration of words. Sadly, at some point I forgot as “adulthood” took hold. I become sensible, actually convinced myself I needed a career before becoming a writer… um, hello me, isn’t being a writer a career in itself?! Instead, the excitement of my unique existence gave way to temporal living, breathing, eating, do I have enough money to pay for my phone bill this week? That’s not to say we should ignore day-to-day responsibilities, we all have bills to pay and rooms to keep tidy, but those things shouldn’t occupy our thoughts, only be a secondary automation to our true existence.

It’s funny, I was writing this blog at my sister’s place, surrounded by nature and hills and peacefulness and all things ideal for the perfect thinking environment, yet struggling to express myself, my mind once again overgrown with too many ideas undernourished for expression. I turned to my sister’s partner, a good friend of mine, and complained about my lack of inspiration. He, without knowing the topic I was mulling over, mentioned recently watching a clip of a spoken-word poem by Shane Koyczan which captured his attention. The link to the video is below and I encourage anyone with a bit of spare time to watch it, incredible. It was exactly what I needed to watch (thanks Life, for always providing in that insane way you do). His words reiterated the message I’ve been obsessing over these past few months of becoming more excited about reverting back to my 10-year-old self’s head-space. It’s true, we don’t have control of our living environments as children, and some people have been through unimaginable hardships from a young age from dysfunctional home life to bullying or worse, and the precious buds of young dreams too often get squashed by the negating attitudes of those who lost their dreams long ago. But despite all that I hope there are moments in everyone’s childhood where imagination reigns and escapism in stories provides sanctuary and hope, and that these moments are recalled and lived in the present—when all grown up.

If you can, remember when you were little, remember your dreams and aspirations from that time, the excitement of your future and all the possibilities that were yet to be written, and make them your story today.

Just a few stories that may help you to remember:

Oh the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Suess (one of the best stories I own)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

And some Indiana Jones books for pure escapism

To This Day by Shane Koyczan on TED

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