We all know college as the time when children finally complete the transition from childhood to the adult realm. Sure, some of us may have reached it earlier than others, but by the time we are forced to do our own laundry or be smart enough to get someone to do it for us, we’re all supposed to be through the doorway. What we leave behind is the past; the childish ambitions and actions of a life parallel with parental dependency. Never look back upon that world, we are told. Forward movement through a successful life is the goal now, not nostalgia.
Despite the trend of the grown-up facade, I refuse to shut my door. Admittedly, I still take the time to see the world through the eyes of a self ten or more years my junior. Every minute of it is enjoyed. Yesterday, I danced in the rain. Last weekend I cartwheeled across Whitnall Field. Singing in the shower is a nightly event, and if it were possible, I would even jump on my bed. What some would consider a waste of my time and energy, to me is found oddly soothing.
Perhaps my frequent reversions back to childhood can be accredited to a simple case of homesickness. Hailing from a tobacco farm in central Kentucky, a place worlds away from upstate New York, adjustments to a new way of life have taken interesting courses. Add in the single child separated from her parents factor, and the case is complete. The simple solution is that I will ultimately grow out of it as I move on with life, but I disagree. These moments are what give me a break from the monotony and stress of each day. As long as I have a say in my own life I will continue to act as such. A studio art / theater double major, dreaming and viewing the world from various angles will make or break my future.
As a disclaimer, I no longer am of the belief that a prince will someday sweep me off my feet in a bout of true love. Additionally, I have given up dreams of ballet stardom. But I still carry various hopes in my pocket — that the world will benefit from my work, that an understanding of my family’s sporadic and eccentric history will come, and above all, that I can stay in touch with who I used to be by remembering when life really was simpler.
There are signs that others feel likewise; a girl delights over rainbow sprinkles in Frank, a boy takes time to skateboard to class. There are numerous Facebook groups devoted to Disney princesses, television shows from old school Nickelodeon and PBS are making a come back online and last Halloween there was a pack of Ninja Turtles roaming around campus. Some of us are a bit more obvious about our observance than others, but we each have our moments.
I pick and choose mine, often finding the ones I treasure the most occurring when I am alone. Yesterday, as I headed down the Persson steps in the downpour, I took the time to pick up a worm wriggling around my toes. As I laid it in the grass, I smiled, remembering the times my mother chased me down our drive in the rain.
I hope that this summer, in the middle of your interning and money-making hustle and bustle, you find some small way to channel that age of yester year. This is not meant to advance to the level of “it is fashionable to not act your age,” but to simply consist of some reminder as to where you started. There is a time and a place for everything; your parents taught you to mind your manners accordingly. But take a moment and re-open your door. The next time it rains, and you are walking alone, take off your hat or hood and really feel the rain. You never know what memories it might bring.