Childhood, overrated

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I don't miss kidhood at all. It was a mix of good, bad and middling. No complaints: I knew people whose childhood's really were terrible.

I do miss a bit the tremendous zest I felt on leaving home and my first couple of years away. But I also made so many mistakes.

I'm happy to have captured a small measure of prudence, something it took me years to acquire. And (anyone whose seem my weblog the last few months can't help but know) I'm tickled to look back over my past, measure it and seek to discern the moments and people who led me to being who I am now.

A comment just left at Matt's.

Whenever a friend of mine expresses a pang over childhood being long gone I can't help but be baffled. My own younger years didn't exhilarate me. I wasn't depressed or shortchanged (more than most of us). They were OK, fine. I had good time reading comic books, science and mathematics books. And making one of the great friendships of my life.

When the hormonal flux shifted and I became a teenager my life was more strongly felt. Much depression, my father scared me. Considerably misanthropy, my schoolmates and teachers annoyed me. And elation: I discovered literature and high culture. As my perceived world grew outside family and Savannah it seemed much more exciting.

Leaving home was a wonderful time. Sex: failed, good, boring, great - whatever happened in the night was an adventure. And I met a large range of characters: more than I'd ever know, or now would care to know.

I don't think most people grow up. They become deadened, calcified. Time passes either wearily or indifferently. Since turning forty, despite some nasty happenings, I've never been happier. If you've been gifted with the right aptitude aging can really let you enjoy the vantage from decades of accumulated experience. I regret the bodily failures and fear my eventual, possibly painful death. But I'm not silly enough to live in the future (which as Criswell pointed out in Plan 9 is where we'll all be).

Which isn't to say that chronological maturity can make you wiser. But you can enjoy a sort of more evolved appreciation of the hilarious messiness of it all.

[Listening to: Jump For Joy - Duke Ellington]

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