Recently, I’ve found myself looking back and realizing that I am just old enough to remember things I have long forgotten. Most of it is just about relatively unimportant things like my favorite games from when I was younger.
Some of it is more about how great life was when I was in elementary school: there were days when I would get home from school, finish off my homework while watching re-runs of Ghostwriter, and head straight to a world of books. That is literally all I would do all day. I read on average two books per day, and the librarian knew me by name. I used to read everywhere, no kidding. In the car, in class when I was bored, in the hallway on the way to or from the library or lunch, during meals, everywhere. Those memories are so special to me now, because without all that reading, I don’t know where I’d be today.
I cherish the memories of my little world, where the biggest problems in my life had to do with have three worksheets for homework instead of two, leaving a book I had half-read at school, or something similar. I miss those days more than I can stand, sometimes.
In a recent conversation with my friends, we got into a discussion about what an ideal age is. My friend “C” argued that eighteen was her goal, and after that she would probably only look back and wish she were eighteen again. “K” and I pointed out that life was so much better at eight. It was a time when worries were trivial, your parents took care of everything, and you didn’t really care. That contentment is more than most people feel for the rest of their lives. I cannot imagine ever living with so little care ever again.
I will admit that things didn’t seem so great back then, but isn’t that the meaning of the oft-repeated phrase? “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” The irony of it all is that I will probably look back in ten years’ time, wishing for these simpler times, when my worst concerns are about turning in homework late.
I’ll allow that nostalgia isn’t the greatest feeling in the world, but it’s helping me appreciate all the things I had, and how many of them I still have, albeit in a different form. It means a lot.