At The Age of Five

At the age of five I was fearless. As a child, identity seemed fluid, and it felt limitless. We could be bold, or we could be random. The ways of expressing ourselves felt boundless. And while there isn’t a definitive moment in a coming of age journey, there’s often a point in which we feel less inclined to do that bold thing, or be that outrageously random. Quick like flicking a switch or as gradual as outgrowing your favourite pants--once hitting your ankle, now preparing you for a great flood; ankle exposed.

The flood comes in with great authority and high demand. You must now manage your behaviour--take full control and responsibility for your actions. Be independent. Think before doing. Determine what serves you; release what does not. Put yourself out there. Don’t come off too strong. Form an identity that will get you places in the world. Figure out what you want to be in the world. Set goals. Be realistic. Get organized. Other people have lives, and are busy doing what you’re doing so yes, sometimes you will be lonely. A kind of loneliness that feels cold, and damp, and can seep slowly into the core of your bones. So, look after yourself. Look out for yourself.

In the midst of all these things it’s hard to remember what life was like before adulthood came streaming in; sweeping away birthday parties, hopscotch, stupid questions and whole afternoons dedicated to dress up and games of make-believe that stretched and pulled our imaginations. It’s hard to believe that there was a time for afternoon naps or time reserved for play. Children are often promised to spend some time everyday with things that entertain them, to be fun, and to make them happy.

When we were children we were blessed with abundant resilience and a Herculean-like state of boundless energy. Aches and pains were of no significance. Taking time to recover from mental exhaustion was of no relevance. When we were children we had implied freedom of speech; we said what we wanted. No doubt we said some stupid things and consequently learned lessons about our surroundings, each other or ourselves. These lessons felt profound, and they felt inspiring. All day, everyday, our screens collect and perpetuate grim details of the world--how cold it can seem. Instead of discovering the science behind the green in the leaves, we stumble upon the leaders of the world smearing violent language across twitter feeds. Spreading fear for our future. Fear for the generations after ours. We fear rejection, our existence, our meaning and our purpose.. We tighten the boxes we have been placed within. No room to wander, and explore. No room to get weird, outrageous, or random. Society slamming doors in our faces, claiming that we are not to enter. “These opportunities weren’t made for you. Look elsewhere. You’ll find where you belong”.

When we were children a wounded knee was detrimental. Little did we know, heartbreaks from whatever the source may be the most difficult to heal. Bedtime was once the worst time. Who would have thought that bed would become a warm and safe getaway from the world outside. The stomach sinks to a far greater depth when the industry says “thank you for applying though” then when you hear “no” after asking for a third sweet.

When the world feels so unkind and unfeeling, consider revisiting simpler moments of the past. Ones that make you smile, or explode with laughter. Jump around, dance to that song that’s way past its prime but brings you right back to the time when it was the anthem of your life. Always ask question, even if it may seem dumb--chances are you aren’t the only one wondering. Continue to learn and to grow. Dress up for yourself. Dress down for yourself. Normal isn’t inherently good. Feel human. Explore human feelings. You can eat that third sweet. And if you have the gift of time, think critically about the boxes we’ve confined ourselves in that once didn’t exist at all.