For the lucky, peace is childish innocence, a fairytale we vaguely remember from long ago. What happened to the happiness of thosedays? What happened to the endless possibilities that awaited us with theenchantment of growing up? Why isn't life fun anymore? And why do grown-upsforget how to play?
What is it that makes the world shrink as we gettaller? In childhood, it took so little to cause excitement. Something as simpleas a new crayon could brighten our entire world. As we get older, the limits ofthe world - often ones we put in place ourselves - close in on us. We forget howto appreciate the little things, and soon we forget to appreciate the big things,too, until life is devoid of all meaning.
Where is the vacuum that sucksthe wonder out of life? When we were little, the trees were so big, just waitingto be climbed. The sky always had pictures in the clouds, and birds were alwaysthere to chase. But as we grow older, the trees get in the way and we have to payto remove them. The sky becomes a tool we use to tell whether or not it will ruinour day - and more often than not, it will. And the birds become just one morething that warrants a trip to the car wash.
Why do we train ourselvesto lose hope and, with it, happiness? In our hurry to grow up, we forget how tobe young altogether. Those who do remain young at heart are ridiculed and labeledimmature, but only because everyone else who has left behind the enchantment ofNeverland is jealous. We forget how to play, we forget how to enjoy ourselves,and we forget how to trust. Cynicism replaces excitement and skepticism replaceswonder.
The purity of childhood is a vapor that vanishes all too quickly.Inexperience with the darker side of life is something to be enjoyed, notavoided. In our rush to grow up, we've forgotten to set boundaries as to how muchwe'll force ourselves to forget. We've replaced a world of color with our ownworld of black and white, thereby draining much of the happiness and joyof life. We could learn a lot from the simplicity we callchildhood.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.