Recently I was babysitting a little girl, who just started third grade, and she asked me if it was OK that she still enjoyed playing with barbies. Naturally, as someone who is still clinging tightly to my childhood imagination, I told her she would never be too old to play barbies.
This got me thinking about how fleeting time is. We are children for such a short amount of time and before we know it our childhood has ended and we are desperately wishing for that phase of our life to come back.
Here are some things I wish I knew (and understood) as a child.
1) Stop wishing to be older.
I can remember begging for time to go faster when I was young. I was never old enough to do anything and I would pray and pray and pray to grow up. I wanted to be old enough to go see a movie without my parents, I wanted to be big enough to ride in the front seat, I wanted a boyfriend, I wanted to go to a birthday party that didn’t end at 5pm. I wanted all of these things that seemed sooo important that I forgot to realize how special it was to be young enough to enjoy an afternoon of make believe, to be small enough to climb the trees in the backyard, to make friends with anyone on the playground. Those days don’t last forever. Stop rushing through them.
2) Hold on to your innocence for as long as possible.
I wanted to know all of the things when I was young. I was the kind of child who preferred sitting in the room with all of the grown ups instead of running around in the basement playing tag with all of the kids. I wanted to know all about everything. I wanted to know the “gossip”, I wanted to figure out why they used bad words at certain times, I wanted to figure out everything. Now that I’m 25 I wish I had held onto my innocence just a little longer. I wish I lived in the world of a 5-year-old, where everything is new and beautiful and exciting, for as long as possible.
3) Never stop using your imagination.
This one is so important to me. I see so many adults who lose their sense of imagination. They forget what it feels like to imagine a world of endless possibilities. We shut our dreams down because we have become jaded by the realities of the world. While I was in school for my acting degree our professors would often tell us to go watch children play at the park, watch what it feels like to have reckless abandon and throw yourself into the mysteries of your imagination. I still find myself doing this. Don’t be afraid to daydream.
4) Live in the magic of holidays.
I crave for the day I finally have children for many reasons but one reason my husband and I find ourselves talking about is how special and magical the holidays will feel again. As a child every holiday that rolls around doesn’t just take place on one day but lasts for months. Traditions are formed. Each day feels new and exciting. I can vividly remember my families holiday traditions and the feeling I had is one that I try to recreate with every passing holiday I experience in my adult life. Children make holidays feel new again. I wish I had never outgrown that magic.
5) Stop being embarrassed by your parents.
As a child we have no idea how hard it is for our parents to watch us grow up. Our days spent with our parents fly by for them and before they know it we are out of the house and embarking on our own journeys. I wish my childhood self didn’t make them feel bad for showering me with nothing but love when they were proud of something I had accomplished. I wish I had let them give me as many bedtime kisses as they wanted. I wish I let them read me stories until their throats grew sore. I wish I was still small enough to fall asleep in their lap as they tickled my back. Your days spent as your parents little ones come and go far too quickly. Live in those moments with them as long as you can. And let them take as many pictures as they want. They will cling to them when you have moved out of the house and you’ll love having them when you get older.