"If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older." - Tom Stoppard
It was a summer day as every other day. The sun started to set, turning the sky into a beautiful mix of colours, from dark blue to violet, from dark red to orange. The street was peaceful as you would assume it to be in a small village. Barely any car is driving, you also barely hear any noise. It is peaceful, shop owners conversing with the neighbours, children going home with their mothers from a grocery trip. Our village was a tiny idyllic place (which would turn, still to my surprise today, to a city) close to the French border and surrounded by uphill vineyards. During summer, you would see the hills covered with fresh, delicious green leaves and smell the ripe grapes. Allotment gardens also belonged to my view whenever I sat as a child in my parents` car. Whenever I saw people`s gardens, I always knew that I was home or about to leave my small town. Without appreciating it enough during my childhood, I loved this peaceful, summery ambiance. I feel like summer has changed nowadays with global warming or maybe I am surrounded by too many adults complaining about the weather, whether it is hot or cold.
I somehow still remember this one peaceful moment when I played outside on the street during one of those summer evenings. I must have been six or seven, and during a time, where there were no smart phones, iPads, or other fancy gadgets to play with, what we children would do back then, we would really just go outside and find something to play. My favorite activity was to sit on the street and follow the ants. Yes, you read it correctly - my best friends were the ants. On that particular day, while I was playing outside and looking for my ant friends, I would hear my mum cooking Vietnamese dinner for us in the kitchen. Our flat would be in the basement and our kitchen would not have an outlet for fume, so my mum often cooked with an open window.
Our first family flat was a decent one, smallest in comparison to what we would have later on, but with everything that we needed. My own and my sister`s high bed would be in the kitchen, so there was no place for a dinner table. My parents` bed would be in the living room, where we would also have our meals. I was a happy child (thanks to my parents) and only understood later how modest our living conditions were. We would still have happiest moments of celebrations, birthdays, Vietnamese food parties, Christmas. My parents worked hard and provided us with everything we needed.
Back to the day when I played with my ants. What struck me in my memory is how I followed every ant being fascinated by them following each other, creating an intelligent chain of ants going to a hidden destination. I would also pull out the earth of the cobblestones on the street, which seemed to give me a lot of fun, esp. since little clovers lived there, too. I also remember when there used to be an ice cream truck man. During summer, we would impatiently wait for only one sound - the ring bell - to run to our parents asking for a coin and then run as fast as we could to the ice cream man to buy strawberry or vanilla ice. What a peaceful life we had as children living in the village (and now I seem to be a big city girl having lived in Frankfurt and London).
Why am I telling this story? Because I had this childhood memory flashback. And what struck me was when I realized that I was able to remember this moment because I was so present in that moment! Playing with ants, getting dirty with earth, running for an ice cream - it didn`t matter what I did (although I probably enjoyed all the activites), I was fully immersed in what I did. No analysis-paralysis, no worries, no thoughts. Yes, time back then was different and made possible by the lack of devices, but still, growing up we seem to suddenly pay more attention to what others think of us, we seem to stress about various things in life, and we struggle to be still or do "mundane" things. Yes, as adults, we have more responsibility, but we also have a stronger choice, in this case, for example, to go back to our inner child`s strengths - to just be. In this moment. Playfully, with curiosity.
What do you remember from your childhood? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would be very keen to hear your views! :) PS: Subscribe to my Newsletter to stay in touch for any upcoming posts and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Vajragupta - Buddhism: tools for living your life
Reflection: What has my childhood taught me - both positively and negatively?
Intention: I appreciate my childhood experiences, that have made me who I am today, and I accept myself for who I am.