No, I won’t talk about the child within you, don’t worry! I’m just going to talk about the great question posed by this article I read recently and all the things it made me think about: ‘What is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?’ If you-as-a-child could see you-as-an-adult, which things that you gave up on or pushed to the background, would make you most upset?
I don’t think life’s aim is to constantly live according to the needs and capacities of an eight year old. If it was so, there would be no need for our brains and bodies to develop and our capabilities to increase and diversify. But we were all eight years old once and derived great joy from doing a particular thing. For me roller skating, reading books, and listening to interesting stories were on par with gold, for instance. I had begun to question the validity of cartoons where the good guys always won. I guess I wanted something unexpected to happen for once. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted some commotion. I wanted creativity.
Perhaps it’s normal for a child to demand these things from others. But to me it seems that being adult means satisfying your own expectations. Whose responsibility could it possibly be to make us happy or surprise and enthrall us (or whatever new demand we now have) except ourselves? Family, love, friends, all the relationships we build are of course only valid when it’s good for both parties involved. But isn’t it unfair to expect compensation for our own unhappiness (which we caused by not doing what we could have) from others?
Unlike the article I mentioned, this post is not going to connect to the theme of finding one’s life purpose. Take two minutes and remember yourself at the age of eight. What kind of person were you, what did you enjoy doing, and what were your worries? What kind of adult did you dream of becoming and what kind of life did you imagine? What’s important is not that we live a reality far removed from those dreams. It’s accepting that whatever good or bad we experienced, it was always us who was responsible. It’s time to stop our search for a teacher who we can complain to about other kids pulling our hair. Life’s classrooms are filled with millions of desks. Get up and sit somewhere else.