I love video games. I’ve been playing them for as long as I can remember, and they are easily in my top three past times. This is why I find it fun to sometimes draw some parallels between real and digital life, and childhood is one of them. The younger you are, the easier life is on you.
I’m only twenty, and I know it doesn’t get any easier ahead; I still don’t have to worry about raising a family, I still have no real job to complain about, no bills or taxes to pay. I’m still in the tutorial level until now. Nevertheless, I always long for that time of my life where it was even easier and much simpler.
I long for the times when my biggest worries were where I’d lost my favourite penguin plush, or how I hated eating cooked beans. A time where my dream job was to be a pilot. No, a fireman. Firemen are cooler and they save lives. I didn’t worry about what I had to wear or how I looked; I was a child, and I was automatically adorable, even if I wore a plastic bag and put my pants on my head. Everyone my age was automatically my friend. Who cared if they didn’t have the same interests as me? Or didn’t watch the same series and played the same game as me? As long as they were around my age, we could still have fun. Found a broom? Use it as a sword. A box cover? That’ll be a shield. We’d then all imagine we were Power Rangers and start pretending to hit each other. Of course, no one wants to be the bad guy, so we were all the heroes and no one ever died. Tired of being Power Rangers? Let’s be pirates, go to the bedroom and hop onto the pirate ship beds. After bellowing war cries, we’d throw pillows at each other as if they were cannon balls, before throwing ourselves onto the carpet and fighting imaginary sharks. Things like “Wait no you should’ve died, I hit you in the stomach!!” “Nuh uh, I had armour, and plus, you missed me” “No I didn’t, I hit you, you just didn’t feel it” were the biggest arguments we ever got into, and it was ok, because we’d forget all about it after a good cup of milk and some biscuits.
Of course, not all my memories are fun, and I still remember times when I lost my parents in the park, or when I fell onto my head and got stitches for it, but they really don’t compare much to the rest of the happy memories I still have. That’s the point of nostalgia, remembering the good ol’ times. But then again, dwelling on these memories for too long and living in the past can be dangerous, self-destructive, even.
I can honestly say I had a happy childhood, and even though I sometimes really wish I could go back, I know that it’s in the past. Now, I levelled up, and things are more challenging. The more quests I finish, like getting my license, graduating high-school, then college, getting a job, getting married, will help me get experience to level up even further. I failed and I went through rough times, and I will still go through many challenges and failures in the future. But after all, how fun is it to play a game that you can always breeze through without ever failing or losing anything?
“You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever”–Germaine Greer. Just like there are people that never grow up and always cling to their past, others completely discard their childhood, leaving nothing behind. They forget how to have fun, and get stuck living a life where everything is serious because they are grown-ups now. We can still relive episodes of our childhood over and over as long as we keep the same spirit and remember to have fun. No matter how old I become, and how weirded out people get, acting clueless and doing the dumbest and stupidest things will always bring a smile to my face.