A couple of – I’d guess – just, newly-teenage girls, walking in front of their parents, with two younger siblings leading the way.
The older pair were self-consciously trying to act as they think they should if they’re to compete with the younger ones on the maturity stakes.
It lasts until they get to the playground. The urge to play takes over. Obvious, happy, simple excitement.
Watching this all unfold over just a few minutes, I could only feel sad at the way childhood ends. Inevitably I suppose, sooner or later, cares weigh us all down. Cares, worries, pressures and everything else that getting older and more aware of your lot brings in its train.
The winners, by any judgement, are those who postpone the arrival of life’s cares the longest.
If we’re lucky we find ways to play when we’re adults, but that’s called escapism for a reason. Kids get wholly immersed. Adults merely, temporarily, escape.
An adult can never be as free as a child playing. We can never completely escape what we come to know.
The why of it
Maybe these thoughts have, as their base cause, the weight of the ever-present awareness I have now. The awareness of me looking at me and providing a running commentary on me..
Making any kind of judgement about childhood is inherently difficult. They are judgements made from the bias perspectives of the adults making them. Whether these biased perspectives are better thought of as corrupt is interesting to consider.
Adults are all too prone to, knowingly or otherwise – make their judgements on the basis of their own childhoods.