The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get use to the latter.
EPISODE TWENTY NINE: Remember When…?
Yes, I do. All of the time.
And if you have been following my blog post, you’ll know that statement is true. I think a lot about when I was a kid and how I miss certain things about being a kid.
I mean, don’t you?
Of course you do. You and I may not have had the exact childhood but I bet there are times you miss being a kid. Let me tell you about some of mine and let’s see if they match up.
One thing I miss about being a kid is the Fall and how it made me feel. Yes, it’s true, school started in the Fall and I was never too fond of school but the air would become cooler, the leaves would turn and start to fall to Earth where you could make piles and jump into them. Halloween would be just around the corner. Dressing up for Halloween was always a high point in my childhood. And the Fall Festivals we would have in elementary school. I’d never miss them.
And there was just…something…about how it felt. It always felt like anything was possible. Even today, when Fall comes, my creative juices just start to flow and overfill my brain.
Another thing I miss is those early parts of the Summer when school ends and you have a few months of freedom. I use to get up early as the sun started to peek over the houses in my neighborhood, get a pack of Pop-Tarts and some OJ and go sit on the front porch and watch the day awaken. I would chew and plan my day. I might think about riding my bike around the block or reading comic books or a book all day or making a blanket fort and play with my stuffed animals or playing with my GI Joes or climb the trees in my yard or all of the above. The day was wide open.
And I miss how things seemed to be more special. Just going with my dad into town on a Saturday morning. He might go to the hardware store to buy lumber to build something. The smell of cut lumber is one of my favorite smells, even today. Or just driving down Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN on those mornings and smelling the freshly baked bread from the Bunny Bread plant. My stomach would rumble and I’d drool just passing by.
It’s moments like that I miss. And about a hundred more.
Then as you get older, you tend to forget those things, those little things that meant so much at the time. For me, I started thinking about cars, my friends……and girls. The idea of sitting down in the floor playing with toys took a back seat….in another car…..in another city….when it came to thinking about wanting to be in love and having someone be in love with me. I’m not even talking about sex, just the hand holding and that first innocent kiss. All those little moments fall by the way side.
Time goes by. Days. Weeks. Months and years. You get married, you have a child. You get divorced and get married again. Your child gets older, you get older. Responsibilities come into your life, debts occur and these are things that take over. It drives some to drink or to do drugs. I think it’s to feel free again.
I’m sad to say this but…you can never feel like that again. Not all of the way. Ever. We might come close when we have children of our own and sit in the floor to play with them with their toys. It’s happened to me a few times when my daughter was little.
But that feeling of total freedom that you felt as a child will never occur again. Not even if you win the lottery and never have to worry about debts or responsibilities. That sense of wonder and feeling like you whole life is ahead of you is gone. Wave good-bye.
I have officially reached middle age. Actually, it happened a few years ago. As I type this, I am forty-four. I’ve been married twice and I have one daughter, who is fifteen, and one step-son, who is 22. Those things help your middle age crisis to come about. And it did happen to me.
I didn’t want a sports car. I didn’t want a motorcycle. I didn’t want to cheat on my wife with somebody half my age (or any other age, thank you).
You know what I wanted?
I wanted to be ten again for a Summer. I wanted to feel the excitement of riding my bike or skateboard to Kwik Sak to buy a ICEE or some candy and see what comic books came in. I wanted to sit down in the floor of my den and play with my GI Joes for long, all week battles. I wanted to get hot and sweaty again from playing in the yard and drink from the hose.
I wanted to feel the hug of my mom again.
And I wanted to feel the feeling of being ten again.
Nostalgia can be a very powerful thing. Companies make billions of dollars on it. They bring things back that we use to have as a kid. They remake movies, they remake TV shows, they make movies that was once TV shows, they bring back products like Crystal Pepsi and Ecto Cooler. Things that was once popular, they put a new spin on it and put it out there. I’m guilty of buying into some of these things hoping it would bring back a little of that childhood.
You know what? It doesn’t. Not really. I can sit down, play with those GI Joes (and I can because I still have them), drink a Ecto Cooler, eat a Whatchamacallit and have Saturday morning cartoons playing on the TV (DVD) and I won’t feel like a kid again.
The bills and debt and adult responsibilities have taken their toll on me. The thankless hours at a job that I hate have taken their toll. Thinking about how half of my life is gone has taken a toll.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. The child that I was has helped me become the adult that I am today. My toy store now is the local hardware store or electronics store. I get as much pleasure eating a few sugar-free cookies as eating an entire container of Chips Ahoy chocolate cookies (well, sort of) and thinking about things that I did as a kid is as wonderful as being that kid.
I think there is a younger self living inside my mind that helps me think about those times. He’s still alive in there, somewhere. He’s still riding that orange BMX bike, reading comic books and living in both the Summer and the Fall at the same time. He’s still gets excited about Fall leaves and that feeling in the air. And he still loves the smell of fresh bread on Broad Street on early Saturday mornings.
No, we can’t go back. But, if we try, we can think back and figure out why we loved it so much. We all have some different memories but I think it’s the same feeling.
The feeling of wonder and adventure. The feeling of being loved. The feeling of life all around us.
I guess if we keep those things in mind, maybe, just maybe, we can feel like a kid again, if only for a few seconds at a time.
Sept. 14th 2016
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.