Sigmund Freud thought childhood was a time fraught with oedipal complexities; lots of penis envy and castration anxiety. This coming from a man who believed cocaine wasn't addictive. Hmm...
No offence to Freud but childhood isn't that complex. Sure it's a difficult period of psychological and biological development, as well as a variety of challenges. But does anyone else remember it being fun?
It's the only time in your life when naivety and ignorance is accepted. When innocence isn't something to be ashamed of and responsibility is an enigmatic word only spoken by big people. It's also a time when the word 'enigmatic' evokes a puzzled frown.
Looking back there was something so comfortable about being a child. Everything in the world, even the most mundane, was looked on in wonder. Curiosity ran through the blood. Climbing a hill felt like climbing a mountain. Swimming ten metres felt like ten miles and the discovery of a worm wiggling in the mud was the most amazing find ever.
What happened to that fresh, excited feeling? Why does growing up suddenly make us feel stale? In Western cultures, coming of age is advertised as the best time of life. Which it is, mostly. As adults we gain independence and an invitation to a whole new world. Sex, gambling, smoking, driving, voting, marriage. They seem pretty novel at first but soon that novelty wears off and we're left longing for the innocence and freedom of childhood.
I don't want to go back. Apart from missing all the novelties, I still haven't figured out that whole time-travel conundrum. However, I think we must change our adult perceptions. Occasionally we should act our shoe size. Go outside and splash in puddles, dance in the rain and play on the swings. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Investigate. Discover. Look at the world in wonder again. Maybe the staleness will fade away.
That said, I'm off to look for worms in the garden. Oh dear. Freud would have a field day with that...