A friend asked me if I would like to return to my younger days. I was a bit tongue-tied. I shouldn’t have been. The general consensus is that we all crave to return to innocence. But I am not too sure if it is as simple an answer as that.
Everything was magnified manifold
There are times, of course, when I feel like returning to the days of simplicity, of carefree days of gallivanting. But those were also days of unnecessary heartaches and emotional upheavals at the drop of a hat. Growing up has not made me more insensitive to my emotions but it has certainly made me realise that a lot of these feelings don’t really matter. Any mistake that I made as a child, I dreaded the consequence. I used to feel that the whole world would come to an end. I know now that those consequences were never as grave as I would imagine them in my head. I always had big feelings and it was exhausting.
The horror of the blank page
Knowledge is infinite. I believe that we continue to learn something new till the day we die. I learn, unlearn, and re-learn something every day. But returning to zero, and having to learn everything from scratch is something I do not look forward to. I struggle every day to keep up with my to-read list of books. To return to the very beginning of my list would be nothing short of a nightmare. I have been fortunate to have had wonderfully patient teachers and consequently, I do not remember how I memorised the multiplication tables or understood the alphabets. But it is done now and I do not want to return to that. There is so much more to learn out there. I would much prefer to keep moving forward, thank you very much.
Adulting isn’t all that bad either
I hate adulting. There are days when I want to run away from it all and do my thing without any interruptions. But I am certain that I would not be able to stay away from my family for too long. It would be dishonest of me if I say that taking care of my family and household does not bring me joy. Undoubetedly, there are days when the laundry is not done and the family is in their swimming trunks while I frantically run the washing machine. There are days when I listlessly watch the dust bunnies swirling around in the corner, too lazy to lift a finger. But there is a sense of ownership in it, too. It is our mess. We will clean it up. I am not answerable to anyone. I brush off the guilt and return to the book I was reading.
Youth is wasted on the young
In my younger days, I was fitter, I had more energy. But I also took it all for granted. I don’t anymore. I have to work much, much, harder to get back in shape but I actually don’t mind that. I suppose I am now used to not getting things easily. I have learned to work harder for the things I want and there is a deep satisfaction in that. With age, the windows of my mind have been opened. I see things more clearly, more critically now. I am becoming more efficient with managing my energy, and my emotions. My younger days were spent frivolously frittering away time. Returning to my younger days would mean returning to getting lost in the fog.
Falling in love
I feel nostalgic about the first days of falling in love. The excitement and the anticipation and the fluttering of the heart are unparalleled. When I was younger, I couldn’t fathom the many layers of love. My younger self projected love onto an external individual but like aged wine, love matures into strength. The difference between young and mature love is like the difference between a sprint and a marathon. A sprint gets the heart racing faster than you’ve ever experienced, gives you a euphoric high. But running and training for a marathon is about drawing strength from deep within yourself. Love is the strength you get from being accepted and cherished as you are. Completely, unconditionally, and wholeheartedly. Love metamorphoses into Life.
So, would I give up all this and return to my youth? I think not.