Childhood

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence 

When do we lose our innocence? When does wonder and amazement cease to exist?

Remember those warm sunny Sundays spent frolicking in the green grass, without a care in the world?

Growing up, I would not say I was sheltered, but my parents provided an excellent environment for me to discover new things and grow. Yes, they were very strict parents, but they only reprimanded me for the things that I did, that may shape my future character in an unpleasing way.

I was a tomboyish girl in my younger years (still am to a certain extent). My first true play mate was my elder brother. Hence, that may explain the more boyish activities I was exposed to.

In Primary School, I found that the boys in my class were the ones who knew the games I was used to playing. Thus, it was only natural that I made friends with them and with that, spent my recess, gobbling down food as fast as I could, so that a game of “Rounders” could ensue.

Other times, the boys and I would sneak into the “Science Garden” and got ourselves a couple of tadpoles to keep, or spiders to “battle” with others’.

My Ummi would never get angry that I brought home those tadpoles or spiders. But, she would freak out when the tadpoles started turning into little frogs. She would demand that I release the frogs, but in those moments, the little girl in me would freak out and say “No!”, for as a girl, frogs will always be disgusting.

Since my family resides in the northeast of Singapore, while all my other relatives were in the southeast, my brother and I would rely on each other for games and company. Our imagination was admirable and would have been the envy of many children of the 90s (or naughties).

We were superheroes, long haul bus drivers, and GLADIATORS. We used to have “wars” between our rooms, all for territory sake, territory here, being the last chicken wing at dinner or control of the remote for a certain amount of time.

My brother also instilled a great sense of adventure in me. When we each got our first bicycles, the first thing we did was ride them to the furthest point away from home, which was permitted by Ummi.

Some 6 kilometres away from our home, we would set up a picnic of snacks and drinks to toast our adventure.

It was in these adventures with my brother that I discovered many things. I found out that rain water is okay to drink, when you are stranded in a thunderstorm, in a gazebo, in the middle of a park, 3 kilometres away from home, with nary a drop of water, to quench your ever growing thirst.

But the most valuable lesson I learnt from these adventures was, that my brother, although a typical elder brother that bullies his younger sister, would protect me from harm’s way should the need ever arise, no matter how minor the harm may be, in this case, a stray tabby cat.

Childhood is when simple pleasures and endless discoveries were bountiful. When life is made easy and love was free of judgements.

Why did we all have to grow up? Growing up means, leaving your childlike wonders and discoveries behind you.

As adults, we pretend our way through life. Although it is perfectly acceptable for a child to say that he does not know something, the same does not apply for an adult. As we age, we become more ashamed if we were not to understand something.

Plus, our perception of life changes as we grow up. Life experiences, education and circumstances cloud our judgements and hinder us from exploring new paths and ideals. It is in growing up that we realise, the simplest of an act, is made more complicated by the games that we, adults, play.

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

My two cents. What is yours?

P.S My love for the works of great romantics is rooted from being a romantic myself. Expect quotes from works by Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron, amongst others, from time to time. Weren’t they brilliant?

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