You wonder what happened. Where did those creases on your forehead come from? When?? Oh to be young again. Life was carefree. Each day offered some excitement. Maybe a visitor … an outing … a meeting after school. There was intensity about these experiences. They were welcomed with optimism fuelled by inexhaustible energy. Nothing could deter you from ‘trying’. Maybe you harbored some inhibitions but opportunities presented themselves that could not be ignored. Magical moments were always close at hand. You were giddy with thoughts of ‘sleepovers’. You could not wait for the morning to go hiking, bike riding or meet friends for games. There was always something ahead to give you focus, inspiration, enthusiasm. A sense of purpose, satisfaction, accomplishment. These were incidental ‘goals’ for you at the time. You wanted to ‘get out’ and do ‘things’. And you did. Remember?
Life when you were young was filled with enchantment. There was a constant stream of discoveries: the stars, a pond, insects, even dirt … no end to what could intrigue you. Your lively imagination would conjure images of what could be. Search for stones, twigs, sand, what have you. Construct a house, a fort, even a castle. Immerse yourself in lively dramas, sometimes life or death ones. Why not? There were no constraints … early on. But then came competition and RULES. How many soldiers did you kill? How many marbles did you strike? How far back should you stand, sit or crouch? What implements should you use? Hit the rubber ball with a broomstick? It was handy. You reveled in constantly evolving worlds. And you shared it more and more with others. With twinges of pride you would feign familiarity with circumstances and ‘stuff’ that quickly became part of your repertoire. Even language opened doors to expressions that evoked mystery and then power and intimidation. “Open sesame.” “Get the f* * * out of my way.” You became resourceful. You learned to fend for yourself. You had to.
Teenage hood was your initiation into the ‘real’ world, the adult world. Enchantments gradually diminished. What you should do became more important. Between the admonitions of parents or guardians and your self-conscious need to be accepted by your peers you quickly learned to adjust your behavior. You had to say and do what was necessary to appease adults. But the intimidating world of teens demanded most of your attention. For you had entered a new world, one dominated by thoughts of survival … your own. You had to become adept physically, psychologically and most important, socially. Your awkwardness gradually faded. You learned to converse with the ‘cool’ ones. Maybe you became one yourself. Amazing the pecking order that evolves during teenage years. Superior, inferior, popular, a fawning mass of Jell-O. You might vacillate between garrulous with ‘friends’ and silence around the ‘elite’. Challenges came daily. And in its wake a degree of control over your life emerged, a maturity. You developed skills for accommodating, for accomplishing. You could confidently discuss a variety of topics: music, celebrities, T.V. programs, movies, desirable clothes and accessories, the ‘short comings’ of others, jobs, goals, and most important: the constant challenges of the opposite sex. Little did you know at the time that this particular concern would be a lifetime preoccupation.
And low and behold a YOU emerged from this ‘morass’ of discordant stimuli. One that has changed little over the years. Although you learn and grow, the character of youth informs every challenge, every ‘confrontation’ with the world. And if you have ‘survived’ with a modicum of innocence and spontaneity, ‘enchantment’ can still be yours each day. Hope so.